The excellent photographs of railway historian and former Senior British Medical Council Researcher B.W.L. ‘Ben’ Brooksbank capture the twilight years of the steam railways of the Western Region. Nearly three hundred images are featured, including rare shots of the post-Nationalisation period, in an impressive hardback book.
The collection includes locomotives running along trunk routes and branch lines, in stations and goods yards, and at engine depots and main workshops.
Classes characteristic of the area are presented, such as: Collett’s ‘Castle’, ‘Hall’, ‘Grange’ and ‘Manor’ Class 4-6-0s, ‘5700’ and ‘8750’ Class 0-6-0PTs and ‘5101’ and ‘6100’ 2-6-2Ts, Churchward’s ‘2800’ 2-8-0s, ‘4200’ Class 2-8-0Ts and ‘4300’ 2-6-0s and Hawksworth’s ‘County’ Class and ‘Modified Hall’ Class 4-6-0s and ‘9400’ Class 0-6-0PTs. Several absorbed classes, particularly in South Wales, are seen, in addition to BR Standard designs, such as the Standard Pacifics and 9F Class 2-10-0s.
The Western Region covered a wide area and some of the places included are: Totnes, Teignmouth, Dawlish, Exeter, Bristol, Salisbury, Taunton, Gloucester, Swindon, Oxford, Reading, Paddington, Old Oak Common, Southall, Birmingham, Shrewsbury, Cardiff, Newport, Swansea, Port Talbot, Llanidloes, Fishguard and Wrexham.
The photographs are accompanied by informative captions highlighting details of the locomotives, the stations, sheds and locations.