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Seventy Years of the South Western (Hardback)

A Railway Journey Through Time

British History Transport Photographic Books Colour Books 20th Century Trains and Railways England

By Colin Boocock
Imprint: Pen & Sword Transport
Pages: 232
Illustrations: 250 colour & black and white illustrations & maps
ISBN: 9781526780881
Published: 27th April 2022

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The South Western main line is one of the most important railways in the south of England.

Colin Boocock spent a significant part of his life living on and researching the history of this centre of railway operations in the South and South West of England.

This book looks at the network over the last seventy years, from Nationalisation through to the present day. The system provides a vital link between the South and South West of Britain and London, operating a mixture of commuter services and important main line passenger trains.

Throughout the seventy years covered in this book, the South Western network also had significant flows of heavy freight between the capital and Southampton Docks and the West Country. Today there are still frequent, well-loaded container trains from Southampton to the Midlands and the North via Basingstoke and Reading.

This volume also covers the transitions from steam traction to diesel and electric in stages from the 1950s through to the late 1980s

In his new book Seventy Years of the South
Western, recently published by Pen & Sword Books, author Colin Boocock – a retired railway officer with a forty year career - describes the history of the South Western main line.
This new history looks at the network over the last seventy years, from nationalisation through to the present day.
The system provides a vital link between the South and South West of Britain and London, operating a mixture of commuter services and main line passenger trains.
Throughout the years covered in this book, the South Western network also had significant
flows of heavy freight between the capital and
Southampton Docks and the West Country.
The 232-page book includes 250 colour and black and white photographs and maps. It is available now from www.pen-and-sword.co.uk.

Hampshire Independent, July 2022

You never have to doubt the quality of any book
with the name Colin Boocock on the cover, and
this one won’t disappoint either. It’s his personal story of his beloved ‘South
Western’, gained from a lifetime of close association as an enthusiast, being an apprentice at Eastleigh Works in the days of steam, and a
master photographer. Today’s third rail electric units ply the same tracks from Waterloo
to Bournemouth that was once the preserve of steam locomotives designed by Beattie, Adams, Drummond, Urie, Maunsell and Bulleid. The author has witnessed them all. Colin’s interest began as a young member of Bournemouth Railway Club, and after 15 years at Eastleigh from 1954. Many chapters begin well with a good quality map, and we are guided along the main traffic corridors, suburban hubs, and visit the Somerset & Dorset and
defunct branch lines before discussing modern trains and franchises. The black and white images of steam sweep you away, such as three Ivatt 2-6-2Ts busying themselves inefficiently at Tipton St
Johns in April 1963 when trains were divided to go to Budleigh Salterton and Exmouth. We also visit Ventnor on the Isle of Wight in June 1956, where the fireman is busying himself clearing ash from the opened smokebox of ‘O2’ 0-4-4T No. 18 Ningwood, and see ‘Merchant Navy’ 4-6-2s on the ‘Bournemouth Belle’. Over the years, the author has always predicted the future with
some accuracy, but of the next twenty he says:” I doubt if I shall be around to see what really happens, but if I do reach 104, then maybe!” Let’s hope he does.

Steam World, July 2022

A must have book for all Southern Railway enthusiasts and particularly those interested in the “South Western”. Colin Boocock has all the experience to look at the fortunes of his “favourite railway” over the past seventy years having trained with the Southern Region at Eastleigh in the late 1950’s and then going on to work in a senior position with alll the other BR Regions.

Packed with much information and photographs, this fine book comes highly recommended.

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

About Colin Boocock

COLIN BOOCOCK is a retired railway officer whose career, mainly in mechanical and electrical engineering, spanned forty-one years full-time work on British Railways and Railtrack and a further twelve or so years in part-time consultancy.


His career started at Eastleigh Works on the Southern Region, where he was trained in the late 1950s, later going on to work at railway establishments in all of BR’s original Regions including spells in Scotland and Wales, mainly managing the maintenance of locomotives and rolling stock at a senior level.


As a life-long railway enthusiast, he travelled widely on Britain’s railways but always had a keen interest in the developments on what he still regards as his ‘home railway’, the South Western.


This volume describes in some detail the railway he grew up on: the South Western, its main lines, key railway centres and the fascinating myriad of secondary routes and branch lines.

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