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Railways of the South East (Paperback)


P&S History > British History Transport > Trains & Railways World History > UK & Ireland > England

By Andy Thomas
Imprint: Key Publishing
Series: Britain's Railways
Pages: 96
Illustrations: Approx. 180
ISBN: 9781913870812
Published: 1st August 2022



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The second of two volumes covering the railways of the South East, this book focuses on Kent. It details a wide range of different trains including heavy aggregate, inter-regional passenger, test trains, the Orient Express, newspaper and mail trains, railtour excursions, engineers’ trains, weed killers and intermodal, steel, coal and nuclear flask traffic. An extensive range of locomotive classes in different liveries, many now consigned to history, are shown at work on main lines and branch lines in the ‘Garden of England’.

Over 180 colour photographs, the vast majority of which have never been published before, serve to illustrate the variety found in a corner of the country often regarded as a mainly multiple unit commuter carrying environment. The pictures are complemented by informative captions detailing each particular train and its working along with some of the infrastructure found along the routes covered.

These two volumes serve up a fascinating overview of operations in the South East from the 1980s to the present day. The Sussex volume is perhaps the most interesting, with plenty of passenger workings featured (including the lamented Virgin Cross Country services from Brighton to the north), along with an interesting variety of freight traffic. The Dungeness branch and atomic flask workings are covered in detail and there’s a pleasing mix of traction on display. Engineers trains aren’t overlooked either. Both titles are great for anyone with an interest in this corner of England.

Model Rail Magazine

The second part of Andy Thomas’s work follows the same format as the earlier one dealing with Sussex and its environs. Once again the book focuses on the last years of the previous millennium and the period since, and likewise it features no views of multiple units.

Andy has sought out the full panoply of locomotive haulage in the area, whether it be revenue-earning freight, engineers’ trains or passenger working such as charters or the few remaining trains scheduled for loco haulage in the late nineties. Inevitably for this area there are numerous views of Class 33s, but at the other extreme the rare sight of a Deltic on a Ramsgate to Edinburgh train is nothing short of astonishing. In between these extremes, there are numerous colourful views of trains hauled by the likes of Classes 47, 73, 56, 37 and 60 and even 20s on a weedkilling train. Perhaps the Garden County is not well known for its scenic railway locations, but there are striking shots of the Kings Ferry Bridge linking Sheppey with the mainland, a 67 at Folkestone Warren, and fruit trees as the backdrop to a Class 59-hauled aggregate train.

This is another colourful and well-produced book from Key Publishing.

West Somerset Railway Association

"This is a fascinating book illustrating a period which many of us will remember. Since the pictures were taken much has changed on the railways of the South East, but very little for the better."

Tenterden Terrier, JOURNAL OF THE KENT & EAST SUSSEX RAILWAY - Winter 2022

As with the companion book Railways of the South East, Sussex and its Surrounds this book looks at modern day railways in Kent and covers the main line to Folkestone and Dover, the Hoo, Isle of Grain and Sheerness lines, a focus on Tonbridge, an interlude at Paddock Wood, the North and Mid Kent lines and the Medway Valley. Each section has a brief introduction followed by full colour photographs with well detailed and informative captions. Ths book and its companion should be on the bookshelf of all south east railway enthusiasts.

Peter A. Harding - Branch Line & Light railway Publications.

About Andy Thomas

Andy Thomas initially lived the majority of his life in Kent and then hopped over the border into East Sussex. He was educated locally and went on to college to specialise in business studies before entering the finance department of a local council. He has spent his entire career to date in local government, working for two neighbouring borough councils, the last 30 years of it in an investigative role of revenue protection and latterly running the specialised section. His interest in railways began at a young age and has remained firmly as his prime hobby and interest through life. Photography, mainly of railways, has developed over time and he has had a few photographs in various railway magazines over the years.

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