Top critical review
8 people found this helpful
Selected chapters only
on 6 March 2009
What is it about disused railway lines and railway memories? When I was born most lines had already gone out of use so why would I buy this book? I guess it is an attempt to hang on to a bit of a past, an age when times were better - nothing bad ever happened on a steam train, did it? I'm certainly not coming to this as a railway enthusiast or someone who is serious about memorabilia, just an armchair reader with a passing interest.
This book describes 10 walks along disused sections of railway line, selected to cover different areas of Britain (although Northern Ireland, south Wales, west Scotland and so on are not considered).
The book is ...ok. To be honest, it didn't live up to my expectations. I was expecting something a bit more evocative; instead it sounds like a series of articles for a Sunday newspaper magazine strung together. Walk a bit of the track, do an interview, lob in some background research, write it up and move on.
Maybe I am being unfair: if you are using this as a touring guide it might be excellent. For an armchair reader the book was most relevant in describing an area of the country you know or are interested in. The final chapter on the Ally Pally line in north London will appeal to a lot of people for that reason. I also enjoyed the chapter on the Deeside Line as an area I partly know. Some of the other chapters hardly registered with me at all, though.
Another frustration is the number of pictures. Davies is frequently describing what he saw, but you often want to see it for yourself - I found it best to sit in front of Google while reading and typing in names of old stations to an image search.
So, worth a look, but maybe only in the expectation of reading one or two chapters; the Amazon website has the Search Inside facility so study the contents page first and think about how many of these you are really going to be itnerested in.