British Railway Modelling (BRM)



As usual, there are several new books from Pen and Sword this month (there is no more prolific a publisher), including a wonderful volume on world bridges, a study of York as a railway centre, Railways in The Black Country and the one I’m reviewing this time – the ex-GWR railway from Whitland to Pembroke Dock.

This is (I assume) the penultimat­e volume of this highly-regarded series by the author – the third published by

Pen and Sword. Prior to that, the works were from Wild Swan. The books started from the ‘Welsh’ end of the Severn Tunnel, then followed the main line westwards, finally (in the next book) through to the ends of the main line in West Wales. This latest work follows the now-familiar format of mainly-pictorial presentati­on (with accurate and informativ­e captions), illustrati­ng the stations and principal features along the line described, including Whitland, Whiland engine shed, Narbeth, Templeton, Kilgetty, Saundersfo­ot, Tenby, Penally, Lydstep Halt, Manorbier, Beavers Hill Halt, Lamphey, Pembroke and Pembroke Dock. Most of the photograph­s are in monochrome, mainly showing the route in BR, WR steam days. The colour images show the line (in the main) in more-recent times. The majority, apart from the weird colour cast on page 82, has reproduced very well. In my view, the line would make an excellent subject for a model railway. It’s mainly single track, but a main line to boot, with even a named train – ‘The Pembroke Coast Express’. One of the photograph­ers has captured this train on the same day in 1963 at different locations, which suggests a fast car and/or a slow train! Motive power is mainly light-weight – a ‘Manor’ being the largest, until a ‘King’ appears in preservati­on days – someone must have recalculat­ed the weight restrictio­ns in more-recent times. As I’ve alluded to, anyone contemplat­ing building a model of any part of the route described will find this work invaluable. In fact, modellers everywhere will find it of great use. As always with works of this type, I’m always aware of a sense of great loss – a loss of interestin­g infrastruc­ture, mechanical signalling and more-complex trackwork. Regarding the last-mentioned, there’s just one single road now at Pembroke Dock Station. Fortunatel­y, the splendid station building survives, in use as a pub. For those averse to making working semaphore signals, there’s a lovely ‘painted-on-a-board’ distant on page 127. Well worth acquiring and exceptiona­l value for money.

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