ENG­LAND’S RAIL­WAY HER­ITAGE FROM THE AIR

Steam Railway (UK) - - CHRISTMAS GIFT GUI THE FOUR SEASONS/ACTIVITY BOOK -

BY PETER WALLER

• HIS­TORIC ENG­LAND

Ex­cel­lent va­ri­ety and well re­searched.

Lit­tle of note.

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The ma­jor­ity of peo­ple only see Bri­tain’s rail­way in­fra­struc­ture from a plat­form or car­riage win­dow

– in other words, at ground level. This lim­it­ing van­tage point means that we sel­dom ap­pre­ci­ate the true majesty of our rail­way ter­mini, viaducts, mar­shalling yards and the like.

This is where Eng­land’s Rail­way Her­itage from the Air steps in. It takes the reader into the skies and back in time, with a de­light­ful series of vin­tage and ar­chive pho­to­graphs record­ing sub­jects span­ning the length and breadth of Eng­land, from the ma­jor sta­tions like Water­loo and Padding­ton to smaller way­side halts and goods yards.

There are myr­iad viaducts, lo­co­mo­tive works, en­gine sheds and other rail­way-re­lated lo­ca­tions to ad­mire, with the vast ma­jor­ity of im­ages hail­ing from the age of steam, all in­vari­ably recorded and pre­sented in im­mac­u­late de­tail.

Ac­com­pa­ny­ing these im­ages are highly de­tailed de­scrip­tions of the lo­ca­tions and their his­tory, so far from be­ing just an­other cof­fee ta­ble pho­to­graphic al­bum this is also a tremen­dous ref­er­ence vol­ume.

Iron­i­cally, of­ten it isn’t the rail­way that takes cen­tre stage – it is the sur­round­ing en­vi­ron­ment. Lo­ca­tions most of us know well to­day, like King’s Cross for ex­am­ple, are al­most un­recog­nis­able, and this is a fas­ci­nat­ing look at how Bri­tain used to be, when rail­ways ruled supreme.

I hope there are fur­ther vol­umes, look­ing at rail­ways in Wales, Scot­land and Ire­land. It might be ex­pen­sive, but at over 300 pages, this is a hefty tome and one which you will surely re­visit again and again. (TB)

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