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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The lost world
Glorious. This is one of those works that lift the lid on the present-day landscape and show how it evolved to get to the current state. The unplanned, organic growth of Britain's railways is a wonderful index of our industrial expansion and our regional awareness, as well as an explanation of why the current pattern is as it is. Strangely moving as well as...
Published on 30 Mar. 2007 by Earthshaker

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29 of 32 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good effort, based on historic information
I bought this book by mistake. I was looking for an atlas to show the 1955 railway situation. However, this book has proved to be a useful companion to the 1955 atlas, showing the full network circa 1923, which is enough to bring tears to your eyes ! Buy this book to see exactly what has dissappeared in the last 75 years.
Published on 10 May 2001


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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The lost world, 30 Mar. 2007
By 
This review is from: British Rail Pre-grouping Atlas and Gazetteer (Hardcover)
Glorious. This is one of those works that lift the lid on the present-day landscape and show how it evolved to get to the current state. The unplanned, organic growth of Britain's railways is a wonderful index of our industrial expansion and our regional awareness, as well as an explanation of why the current pattern is as it is. Strangely moving as well as intellectually fascinating, of course, because the pervading note is elegiac: this is a world we've lost, in which Britain was big enough to accommodate all these thousands of miles of track and all these different systems, and the present seems thin-textured and monotonous in comparison.

Complaints about this massive work seem a little churlish, but there are one or two points which combine to knock off a star. Firstly, although the 1923 dateline is blurred a little and a few earlier things are entered for interest's sake, nonetheless this is a snapshot of a particular time and thus some interesting things are omitted. I can think of a couple of halts either side of my home village which don't appear; and readers looking for the full set of stations listed by Flanders and Swann in "Slow Train" won't find Troublehouse Halt. Unfair, maybe, to criticise the book for failing to include time periods it didn't set out to cover: but it's so exhaustive it leaves you wanting even more. Secondly, the mapping displays the lines in "real" arrangements as opposed to diagrammatic, and this makes for tightly-packed, complex and confusing pictures in some urban or mining areas: this modern edition could have benefitted from enlarging these more than was done in the 1955 original, or supplementing it with some diagrammatic representations. Minor quibbles, though: for anyone interested in landscape history this is a delight.
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58 of 61 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ANORAKS' PARADISE, 25 Dec. 2002
By 
DAVID BRYSON (Glossop Derbyshire England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: British Rail Pre-grouping Atlas and Gazetteer (Hardcover)
This is one of the most absorbing volumes I have ever encountered, and you can laugh if you want. So far as I can see it is no more amusing, and a lot more professional and accurate, than many another historical map. Britain was the cradle of the world's railways (come the anorak come the cliche) and it is pretty incredible how anyone ever put up the money for a good many of them. Would you believe that a railway was built from Leek in Staffs to a village called Waterhouses, at which station the passengers (if any) and freight had to be transferred to a narrow-gauge light railway offering onconveyance to a hamlet called Home End, pop c 37 of whom approx 29 were livestock? Would you believe that two major Scottish railways built great systems to connect Paisley with Barrhead -- I repeat Barrhead -- and that the bigger of the two never carried a passenger over its system? Does your credulity stretch to taking in that a loop-line was hacked out through urban Brighton from the main station to another terminus hardly half a mile away at Kemp Town and they never closed the loop? Have you ever seen a picture of the line out over Piel Pier south of Barrow and also south of Furness Abbey, to which sylvan terminus you could take a trip offering a 6-minute turnround in the woods, not enough time to do much I can think of?
It's all part of a world that never happened, or not for long, and that is its romance for me. I love the British countryside, but I love it best when there is a just-about-discernable railway track to explore, and in fact there are some equally fascinating efforts in the cities, not least London but probably above all Glasgow. In my marathon-running days I used to love combining training with exploration, nearly meeting a premature end when pounding along the old Stainmore line with my head-down posture unaware that the Deepdale viaduct was unfenced, or indeed that it was where it was. It was a close thing, but I was up to the Tarzan bit and tried to get back to Barnard Castle looking as if white pants with a black backside were that year's latest in sportswear. The railway architecture is a lot of the fascination too. Much of it is simply magnificent, but there is a real anorakish thrill in spotting railway remains. Where does anorak shade off into historian or antiquarian?
This book is based on the railways as they were at the grouping in 1923, but includes some others as a record of their existence. The number of lines they have left out is so few that they needn't have bothered with the distinction -- I would have liked to see the Findhorn railway and the rest of the Welsh Highland Railway or whatever it was called then. They have done an awfully good job in making the worst tangles clear, notably in the midlands. The most complicated urban networks are exploded into larger-scale, and I hope they are intelligible to other enthusiasts as they are to me, who through no merit of my own have eyesight that has not even lengthened at age 60-plus. I will use my age as a pretext to end on a mild gripe -- one of the most fascinating nodes was around Wrexham and especially Brymbo. I think I can follow the detail, but I may be wrong, especially as the 1922/3 deadline is operative. A reprint should get this unambiguously clear -- the Brymbo site is something approaching numinous for the right sort of anorak. A superb book.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Railway Map, 29 Sept. 2009
By 
ACJ (Aylesbury Vale) - See all my reviews
This review is from: British Rail Pre-grouping Atlas and Gazetteer (Hardcover)
Fascinating to see our history but you'll need a magnifying glass to make the best of the detail, even the larger more detailed sections. Shame Amazon take so long to dispatch the order
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ANORAKS' PARADISE, 25 Dec. 2002
By 
DAVID BRYSON (Glossop Derbyshire England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: British Rail Pre-grouping Atlas and Gazetteer (Hardcover)
This is one of the most absorbing volumes I have ever encountered, and you can laugh if you want. So far as I can see it is no more amusing, and a lot more professional and accurate, than many another historical map. Britain was the cradle of the world's railways (come the anorak come the cliche) and it is pretty incredible how anyone ever put up the money for a good many of them. Would you believe that a railway was built from Leek in Staffs to a village called Waterhouses, at which station the passengers (if any) and freight had to be transferred to a narrow-gauge light railway offering onconveyance to a hamlet called Home End, pop c 37 of whom approx 29 were livestock? Would you believe that two major Scottish railways built great systems to connect Paisley with Barrhead -- I repeat Barrhead -- and that the bigger of the two never carried a passenger over its system? Does your credulity stretch to taking in that a loop-line was hacked out through urban Brighton from the main station to another terminus hardly half a mile away at Kemp Town and they never closed the loop? Have you ever seen a picture of the line out over Piel Pier south of Barrow and also south of Furness Abbey, to which sylvan terminus you could take a trip offering a 6-minute turnround in the woods, not enough time to do much I can think of?
It's all part of a world that never happened, or not for long, and that is its romance for me. I love the British countryside, but I love it best when there is a just-about-discernable railway track to explore, and in fact there are some equally fascinating efforts in the cities, not least London but probably above all Glasgow. In my marathon-running days I used to love combining training with exploration, nearly meeting a premature end when pounding along the old Stainmore line with my head-down posture unaware that the Deepdale viaduct was unfenced, or indeed that it was where it was. It was a close thing, but I was up to the Tarzan bit and tried to get back to Barnard Castle looking as if white pants with a black backside were that year's latest in sportswear. The railway architecture is a lot of the fascination too. Much of it is simply magnificent, but there is a real anorakish thrill in spotting railway remains. Where does anorak shade off into historian or antiquarian?
This book is based on the railways as they were at the grouping in 1923, but includes some others as a record of their existence. The number of lines they have left out is so few that they needn't have bothered with the distinction -- I would have liked to see the Findhorn railway and the rest of the Welsh Highland Railway or whatever it was called then. They have done an awfully good job in making the worst tangles clear, notably in the midlands. The most complicated urban networks are exploded into larger-scale, and I hope they are intelligible to other enthusiasts as they are to me, who through no merit of my own have eyesight that has not even lengthened at age 60-plus. I will use my age as a pretext to end on a mild gripe -- one of the most fascinating nodes was around Wrexham and especially Brymbo. I think I can follow the detail, but I may be wrong, especially as the 1922/3 deadline is operative. A reprint should get this unambiguously clear -- the Brymbo site is something approaching numinous for the right sort of anorak. A superb book.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A vey handy Historic guide, 3 Mar. 2010
By 
Clive (isle of wight) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: British Rail Pre-grouping Atlas and Gazetteer (Hardcover)
If you are interested in the History of the Railways, then this is the book for you. It lists Routes, signalboxes, Stations, Water Troughs, notable structures, bridges, tunnels etc. It is not chock full of pictures, it,s an Atlas and therefore contains maps, showing where things were etc.
My only criticism is that the print on the maps is very small, even though I do have very good eyesight, I did struggle in some places, to read the text on the maps.
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29 of 32 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good effort, based on historic information, 10 May 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: British Rail Pre-grouping Atlas and Gazetteer (Hardcover)
I bought this book by mistake. I was looking for an atlas to show the 1955 railway situation. However, this book has proved to be a useful companion to the 1955 atlas, showing the full network circa 1923, which is enough to bring tears to your eyes ! Buy this book to see exactly what has dissappeared in the last 75 years.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars British Rail Gazetteer, 16 Oct. 2009
By 
Mark Woodward - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: British Rail Pre-grouping Atlas and Gazetteer (Hardcover)
A good reference book. You may need a magnifying glass for some maps. The print quality is not great and keys can be confusing (it's a reprint of old maps don't forget).

Best used alongside a modern rail atlas - it's depressing to see which lines/stations have gone !!)
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Which company owned and operated that line ?, 6 Feb. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: British Rail Pre-grouping Atlas and Gazetteer (Hardcover)
This is a replacement for an earlier copy of the same publication which I once possessed so I knew what to expect before its prompt delivery from Amazon.
It is an excellent reference work illustrating the routes of all the standard gauge, and some narrow gauge lines, and their owner/operators operating in England,Scotland,and Wales immediately prior to the grouping and formation of the "Big Four" in January 1923. As well as an index listing all the stations, indexes are provided listing and giving the locations of watertroughs, and major summits, viaducts,and tunnels.
This long standing publication was first published in 1958, and has been reprinted many times up to 2011 so it really has proved its worth over a considerable period.
My only disappointment has been that the printing of the lines and names on the maps in my current edition of the book is not as crisp as that in my original copy.For this reason I have awarded only four stars instead of five.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must for all buffs, 25 Dec. 2009
By 
Nigel W. Clark (Southampton) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: British Rail Pre-grouping Atlas and Gazetteer (Hardcover)
This shows just how much we lost in the 60s, but also how much could be re-opened if a future government had the will to improve public transport. A re-vitalised, re-nationalised railway network could remove thousands, indeed, millions of cars, vans and lorries from the roads. Cutting pollution and congestion.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars British Rail Pre-grouping Atlas and Gazetteer, 14 Jan. 2012
By 
D. Avery "Combuff" (Southend-on-Sea, Essex, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: British Rail Pre-grouping Atlas and Gazetteer (Hardcover)
British Rail Pre-grouping Atlas and Gazetteer is the ideal pocket atlas for the enthusiast or for academic study, on railway or grouping subjects, it is large enough for most work, yet small enough to be usable in the field.
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British Rail Pre-grouping Atlas and Gazetteer
British Rail Pre-grouping Atlas and Gazetteer by W. Philip Conolly (Hardcover - 27 Mar. 1997)
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