Most helpful positive review
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
A Once and Future Railway
on 28 February 2009
This is a highly readable book, although maybe not as funny as some of the review suggest. The opening page hooked me, but I think that the central idea of the book - that two railways exist, one experienced through the heart and one of experienced through delays, poor service and cancellations - is the real core of the book.
Many people - and not just train enthusiasts - have a vision of trains as they may have been in the past and it seems inevitable that trains will again play a more central role in transport in the future. This then seems to be the key idea of the book - there is a vision of the past, which may not have actually existed and a wish for the future which may not come to pass. So this is a book about the Once and Future Railway. The genuinely funny parts of the book more often than not deal with the nightmare of using the actual railway of today. I think it's reasonable to say that problems with railways are not limited to the UK. I live in Australia and the trains in Melbourne breakdown when it gets hot!
This book approaches train enthusiasts with a degree of respect they may not get elsewhere, and it raises the reasonable point that it is no more extreme to want to get the detail of your model trains correct than it is to (as an example) memorise the players and positions of all Manchester United's FA Cup Teams.
This book will undoubtedly appeal to more than just railway enthusiasts - and I challenge anybody not to integrate the term "Rivet Counter" into their lexicon of abuse!