Latest Arrivals

Great Central Reunification Volume One: The Start of Something Big by Tom Ingall, who has kindly granted Branchstow Books permission to sell this fascinating book.

The Great Central Railway’s Reunification project is one of the biggest schemes ever attempted in railway preservation. Bringing together two halves of the former main line to London has been called impossible and yet its happening!

This book tells the story of the GCR so far, how the ‘gap’ came to be and the first two stages of work to close it. Told by the people making it happen over decades, this book has not only been warmly reviewed but is also raising funds to build the next stages.

The book is full colour and features dozens of pictures, some of which have never been seen before.

Belgrave and Birstall Remembered by John Powdrill. How a local railway station was gained, lost and regained by those who knew, used and tried to preserve the station.

What happened to Belgrave and Birstall Station? Using 150 photos and stories about the railway between Greengate Lane in Birstall and the site of Thurcaston Road bridge in Belgrave, this 64 page book describes how and why the station was built; who worked there; who played there; how it operated; who its neighbours were; what happened and why we could not save it in 1969.

 

The Railway its Builders Didn’t Want – The Sleaford to Bourne Branch of the Great Northern Railway by Alan Stennett. This branch line nearly never happened. Planned by the Company as part of an attempt to block another railway’s scheme to intrude into what it saw as its own territory, the GN then struck a deal with its rival and tried to abandon their proposals. Fortunately for the locals of Aswarby, Scredington, Horbling, Billingborough, Rippingale and Morton, Parliament stopped them doing so.

The line was opened in January 1872, carried passengers for 58 years and finally closed to all traffic in 1965.

Colonel Holman Stephens the Man and His Railways by Brian Janes was written to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the birth of Holman Fred Stephens. He was an outstanding character who championed the cause of the rural light railways when so many communities felt themselves cut off from mainstream life by poor communications.

Using archive photographs and original material from the Colonel Stephens Railway Museum, this book provides an indepth source of information about the man and his railways. The book is divided into two sections. Part one covers details about the life of Stephens, whilst part two examines sixteen railways. Featues over 70 images.

 

The Kent and East Sussex Railway by Jonathan James. This photographic album showcases this preserved Colonel Stephens line.

Includes the Rother Valley Railway section.

In the great age of railway building, Charles Dickens could not but be aware of their transformative impact on society. So he wrote about it – to a remarkable extent. He wrote a classic ghost story, ‘The Signalman’; in Dombey and Son about what is now the West Coast Main Line being carved through north London in great ravines.

He wrote satirical pieces about railway catering – even back then; about the wonder of express train travel to the Channel ports; travel pieces about exploring America by train – and about being personally involved in the notorious Staplehurst train crash in Kent. In Dickens on Railways, Tony Williams, a distinguished Dickens scholar, collects all these railway writings into a handsome little volume.

 

 

Spanning the Gaps – Highland Railway Bridges and Viaducts by Anne-Mary Paterson. Mention the Highlands and one thinks immediately of lochs and glens. Hilly countryside and sea inlets meant that finding a route for the railways which were built in Victorian days was difficult and inevitably required the construction of many viaducts and bridges. Some were of stone and others of iron and later steel. Size ranged from those crossing minor burns to the magnificent structures such as that at Culloden. Construction cost had to be taken into account as the Highland Railway was never awash with money.

This book tells the story of all the important viaducts and bridges on the Highland Railway. It is copiously illustrated, including sixteen photographs taken in 1864, detailed views from the 1890s and 1900s when photographing state-of-the-art construction was popular and many recent ones showing how well these structures have stood up to Highland conditions. The main lines of the Highland Railway are fortunate in that nearly all are still open today as part of Scot Rail, so the structures are all well-maintained and still there for everyone to enjoy. The author has used her professional knowledge to describe the structures in detail, adding incidental details which show how the railway played its part in local life.

Brian Janes features the stories of three World War One heroes, Edith Cavell, Captain Fryatt and the Unknown Warrior, and the Cavell Van which carried them to be repatriated.

The Unknown Warrior and the Cavell Van is illustrated.

 

 

East Lincolnshire’s Lost Railways by Alan Stennett. Dr Beeching’s report recommended the closure of many of routes in Lincolnshire, and the part of the county to the south and east of Lincoln was particularly hard hit. The routes most affected were the Lincolnshire Loop Line and the East Lincolnshire Railway. The book features 150 photographs.
Lines covered include:
The Lincolnshire Loop Line of the Great Northern Railway
The Horncastle Branch
The New Line
The East Lincolnshire Railway
The Mablethorpe and Sutton on Sea Branches
The Spilsby Branch
The Louth to Bardney Branch

 

Welsh Highland Railway: Locomotive and Rolling Stock Drawings has been produced in collaboration with the Welsh Highland Heritage Railway, Keith Millard and the 7mm Narrow Gauge Association.

The drawings contained are of locomotives and rolling stock of the North Wales Narrow Gauge Railways, and do not cover the current recently-reopened through operation. This revised edition was published in 2020 making corrections and updating, including three extra drawings. Each drawing has associated historical notes, source information and notes on details.

 

Brunel’s Big Railway – Creation of the Great Western Railway by Robin Jones. Engineering genius Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s Great Western Railway was not only bigger, wider and faster than any other of its day, but linked London to New York via his great steamships from Bristol. His unique broad gauge ‘super railway’ also connected Paddington to Plymouth and Penzance, and for decades was one of the wonders of the world.

More than two centuries on, many of his historic structures along the route have been given listed building protection so future generations can admire and enjoy them. This book looks at the history of the railway from London to Bristol and Brunel’s Great Western legacy that was to lead the company to even dizzier heights.