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on 30 April 2014
I have generally been a fan of Paul Atterbury's pleasant railway pictorials, though I have often thought they would have benefited from better maps.

So when I came across this title on Amazon, I thought "Oh, good! He (or his publisher) has heard enough muttering about maps, and decided to do a book that corrects the shortcoming!"

I wasn't silly enough to believe that the book would actually be about "mapping" - that was surely a marketing choice, with no particular interest in accuracy.

But I did expect some samples of different maps, an interesting level of detail.

Nope.

Between the author and the publisher, they found one old map, with no other apparent redeeming factor beyond being out of copyright so they could use it for free. They then proceeded to cut that aesthetically unappealing scrap into regional chunks, color code the lines, blow them up larger than the scant detail justified, and go to press. While surely congratulating themselves on having met the expectations of undiscerning book buyers.

Discerning map lovers should look elsewhere. I suggest various Times/Collins books by Julian Holland - access to the Bartholemew mapping, and generous inclusion, places them a world above what is found here.

Other than that, is a pleasant enough hodgepodge of interesting pictures and trivia - failing perhaps in any sense of completeness due to having too narrowly defined what qualifies for selection, while still including so many that those included are merely glossed over, before moving on to the next.

I pick it up, look through it casually until something intrigues me, then put it down to go to a better book - or Wikipedia - to find more and better information, or more gratifying entertainment.
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VINE VOICEon 25 October 2013
Books about old branch lines will always evoke certain memories amongst some. You don't have to have been around at the time they existed even, but have seen or read about them in various television programmes or films and books such as The Railway Children or The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. Their existence was fundamental to modern Britain and Ireland.

This book centres on Britain and it is well researched and put together by the ever resourceful and helpful Paul Atterbury.

One aspect which has always been lacking in these types of books about old and lost railway lines was Maps. Yes, the maps really make the difference here. Its great to be able to find out exactly where the line in question is, in relation to everything else and will help people to be able to trace it even easier in person, should they wish to. Even if you do not wish to visit the remnants in person, seeing them on maps is such a great help. They are interesting in themselves to look at, with various lines numbered, enabling you to locate them easily and then read more about them in their relevant section in the chapter following, along with pictures of past and sometimes near present. Mr. Atterbury also provides us with what became of the various scenes, be they stations or crossings, etc.

The book is quite large and very good value. The pictures are clear and the text very interesting. It combines all the things I like about tracing lost lines and am appreciative to Mr. Atterbury for putting his time into such a thoughtful publication.
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For this book, the author covers every branch line in England, Scotland and Wales, according to the following definition :-

A passenger-carrying railway, generally not more than 25 miles long, running from a mainline junction to a village, town or city terminus. Minor lines that connect places on mainlines are excluded, as are branches created as a result of partial closure of interconnecting or through routes. Freight-only lines are covered in a special features section.

All of that means that some lines that we might consider to branch lines are excluded. but given the volume of material already published by the author on secondary routes, I doubt if there is any such line in mainland Britain that he hasn't covered at least once. If there is, I suspect somebody will alert the author and he will do something about it at the next available opportunity :-)

As expected, there are various features throughout the book, interspersed between the pictures and articles about the branch lines, notably one about the lost line legacy of signs and other surviving relics. Those signs (or their replacements) for Station Road are likely to be around for many generations to come :-)

This book provides us with another excelleent selection of railway nostalgia, well up to the standard expected of the author.
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on 24 January 2014
This book is well presented, has a fascinating collection of pictures, 25 handy maps, and some interesting (if sometimes brief) notes on 260 or so 'lost' British branch lines. It's fine either for browsing or for 'on the ground' exploration. So far so good. But what's not to like? Well, a number of the supposedly 'lost' lines are still very much with us, and are even electrified - eg the Seaford branch and Watford-St Albans. Why devote space to these when other, genuinely 'lost', lines such as the Ventnor West branch or the Lynton & Barnstaple could have been covered instead? Also, the author's somewhat artificial exclusion of routes connecting two junctions rules out a vast number of lines - Chichester-Midhurst or the Bure Valley line, for example - which share all the characteristics of branch lines. We need another volume to deal with these! Finally, some of the maps are slightly misleading - it looks like the Clevedon branch, for example, joined up with the Weston, Clevedon & Portishead. But it didn't! So, a very good product but, for me, it doesn't quite get top marks.
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on 23 December 2014
Paul Atterbury has rather cornered the market in this kind of thing, and does it well, but this time I felt that the material was a bit thin. There are the usual nostalgic pictures, but there are also rather a lot of nondescript pictures of fields where railway lines once were. The maps themselves are helpful in locating the lines described, but also have their limitations. The text is enormously well-informed and some of the picture captions are worth buying the book for. I don't understand why some lines that are still open were included, and some of the branches dismissed in a short paragraph (presumably for lack of illustrative material) sound more interesting than some of those that get half a page or more.

The book is well produced and I quite enjoyed it, but I thought some of his earlier books were better.
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on 12 November 2015
I loved it! My own road atlas didn't show very clearly the county boundaries but this book showed them in very clear detail.
The line I would have liked to see was from Ringwood through Wimborne Minster, Creekmoor Halt, Broadstone to Poole and then onto Bournemouth, but it wasn't considered a 'Branch Line'. I went on that line many times in the 1950's.
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on 19 May 2015
Bought as a present and the recipient is delighted, so I am too. Arrived on time and well packaged
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on 1 February 2015
A very good book which extends my knowledge of old lines.
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on 22 December 2015
As described, many thanks.
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on 21 July 2015
An excellent buy
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