Great Western Railway: A History

Andrew Roden, Trafalgar Square (IPG, dist.), $29.95 (320p) ISBN 978-1-84513-580-5
Roden, former associate editor of International Railway Journal, describes how England's Great Western Railway was built, a railroad once called God's Wonderful Railway and Gone With Regret. He profiles such key figures as innovative engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel and documents the changes wrought on the landscape, employment, agriculture, towns, and seaside resorts. Tracing routes like the one from London to the West Country and Cornwall, Roden transports the reader on a journey across the countryside, over hill and dale, through tunnels and atop viaducts, with stopovers at Paddington and other stations. He brings along a fine pack of photos, arriving at the final destination with coverage of the heritage railways preservation movement and museums. The book jacket features a beautiful wraparound painting by Guy Allen, evocative of the vintage GWR promotional posters by Frank Newbould. According to the author, more books have been written about GWR than other railways, but it's doubtful any could be as in-depth as this one, so comprehensive that it will easily satisfy those rail buffs who demand details. The only disappointments are a lack of maps and, curiously, no mention of Frank Newbould. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 02/28/2011
Release date: 10/01/2010
Genre: Nonfiction
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