50 mins/128 pages.
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THE GRAND FINALE OF BRITISH STEAM – ENGLISH BRANCH LINES AND BYWAYS:Branch lines and secondary routes have always had a special appeal. This programme recalls many such English byways in films made in the 1950s and 60s. The railways portrayed ran through landscapes which ranged from the green and pleasant shires of rural England to the very heart of the Metropolis. Among the routes featured are: in the Western Region, auto trains on the Gloucester to Chalford service and branch lines to Princetown and Ashburton; in the Midlands the lines from Stamford to Essendine and Seaton are recalled. Steam byways around London include the Stanmore branch, the service from Ealing Broadway to Reenford and the West London line. Most of the lines covered in this programme had been closed by the end of the 1960s. Those who knew these lines will have pleasant memories revived by the films and for those who did not get the chance to travel on them in their heyday, this will be a revelation of a lost era. All connoisseurs of minor railways will find this programme a welcome addition to their collection.
THE LITTLE BOOK OF THE GRAND FINALE OF BRITISH STEAM:The year of 1968 was a pivotal year in a period of great change and, with the march of so-called ‘progress’ that included man being a matter of months away from walking on the moon, the time was up for steam. The first week of August was to see the closure of the final three depots – effectively drawing to a conclusion the century and a half of loyal service provided by a form of transport to which the wealth of our nation owed so much. The steam era ended so poignantly on 4 August, a day on which innumerable steam railwaymen, most of whom had dedicated their entire lives to the railways, were declared redundant. This fascinating Little Book chronicling the last months of steam on the British Railways main line is a tribute to those final men and machines. Years of painstaking research by Alan Castle, who viewed the proceedings at first hand 40 years ago, and interviews with drivers, firemen and engine shed staff, have resulted in this authoritative and definitive account of the year in which the final whistle sounded on a steam era dating back more than 150 years.