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The Light Railways of Britain and Ireland (Hardback)

Transport Trains and Railways Ireland

By Anthony Burton, John Scott-Morgan
Imprint: Pen & Sword Transport
Pages: 160
Illustrations: 200
ISBN: 9781473827066
Published: 11th November 2015

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First published in 1985 by Moorland Press, The Light Railways of Britain & Ireland has remained unavailable for more than twenty-five years, until now. Re-released by Pen & Sword, this is a thorough and engaging book that covers, in depth, the fascinating story of Britain's last railway development, the Rural light railways, constructed as a result of the Light Railways Act 1896.

Rigorously detailed, it charts the overall history of the last great railway boom in Britain – the light railway boom – from 1896, to the beginning of the Great War in 1914. During this period a large number of narrow and standard gauge lines were constructed in both Britain and Ireland, in order to serve and open up areas in both countries that, at the time, lacked adequate transport links. This book tells the story of how these lines were constructed and why, in most cases, they eventually failed, due to post-First World War road competition.

Authored by two highly acclaimed writers of transport history, this is a true testament to, and a timely reminder of, Britain's last railway development.

Previously published and out of print for 25 years, this latest version gives a fine insight into how and why light railways became so popular in the early years of the twentieth century.

Branch Lines & Light Railway Publications

Fascinating book.

Best of British - February 2016

First published back in 1985, great credit is due to Pen & Sword for bringing this fine book back into print.

This books tells the tale of Britain’s last railway development, the Rural light railways which were constructed as a result of the Light Railways Act of 1890.

The research and detail of the writing are meticulous and it works, not just on the level of railway history, but as a social history, and one that will appeal greatly to enthusiasts of either genre.

I must also give mention to the beautiful printing and presentation of this book, and the beautiful photographs contained therein.

A fine and enduring piece of work.

Destructive Music - Steve Earles
 Anthony Burton

About Anthony Burton

Anthony Burton is a professional author, who has been writing about the history of technology, including the textile industries for the past forty years.


He wrote and presented the B B C-T V series The Rise of King Cotton and also wrote the accompanying  book.


Recently he has been the advisor to Discovery Channels programmes Industrial Revolutions and Industrial Revolutions Europe, which included visiting silk mills and museums in Britain and Lyon in France.


He is a founder member and former chair of the Stroud Water Textile Trust, that preserves and demonstrates machinery of the West of England woollen industry.


About John Scott-Morgan

John Scott-Morgan has been writing about light railways for forty five years, he has written some of the definitive books on light railway subjects, including about the Colonel Stephens group of lines.


This volume covers the East Kent Railway, a line that was meant to open up the Kent Coal Field, which did not come up to the expectations of the promoters and investors.


John Scott-Morgan has written thirty eight books on railways over the last half a century, covering subjects as diverse as first generation diesel traction and main line subjects, such as the London Transport Red Panniers and Branch Lines in Kent, however its light railways that the author often returns to, as this is one of his main areas of research.


He lives in Woking in Surrey, where he continues with his writing and railway historical studies.

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