Top positive review
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A unique piece of railway history now available to all
on 8 May 2011
My father bought the three original booklets, which were self-published paperbacks, in the late 1940's when they first came out. I found them fascinating when I first read them in the 1960's, and equally fascinating now. It should be remembered that they were produced as a personal venture by one man, S.N. Pike, and that all the maps are hand drawn. Given the amount of work and research this would have entailed, the quality is remarkable, as is the level of detail, and it is therefore not surprising that only a modest number of selected routes are covered, as noted by other reviewers. However, half a loaf is much better than none, as there has been nothing remotely equivalent to these booklets since they were written. So, kudos to the publishers for reprinting them in a single hardback volume (much more hard-wearing than the originals!), and for their enterprise in producing the missing section on the GWR (Pike presumably died before he could write this); it would have been nice for it to include the route to Cardiff and Swansea, but you can't have everything. The new GWR section is a worthy effort, though to me it lacks some of the additional insights and related material that Pike included; but again, it is definitely better to have it than not. The cover picture is cleverly adapted from that on the original "Southern Railway" volume, which again helps the period feel. For information, the routes covered are: Kings Cross to Edinburgh via York; Waterloo to Portsmouth, Weymouth, Exeter, Plymouth and Ilfracombe; St Pancras to Derby, Manchester, Nottingham, Sheffield and Leeds; Euston to Crewe and Liverpool; Paddington to Penzance and Bristol. Some sections are of course no longer extant.