© David Rostance. Reproduced courtesy of David Rostance. West Country Class 4-6-2 No. 34025 at Micheldever Station July 1967.

Welcome to Branchstow Books. We are a specialist railway bookseller with a particular emphasis on high quality books produced by small independent publishers. With this approach, we offer books that are not widely available, and carefully select only the finest books to the extent that each one comes with our recommendation.

Latest Arrivals

Amberdale and the Railway Which Runs Through It by Philip Harvey, illustrates a journey through Amberdale, as it might have been in the 1890s. Encompassing a wide variety of scene, Amberdale is nevertheless the smallest of the dales-by far, for Amberdale is a model, dreamt up in the mind of its creator and built over a period of some 60 years. Following the river and the railway through the dale, the pictures bring to life the half forgotten age of the horse and the steam engine, the unspoiled countryside, the quiet charm of the villages, the bustle of a market town and the industrial urgency of late Victorian England.

The book describes an extensive and impressive model, yet emphasises that it is not dependant on particular modelling skills or extensive academic research, but on imagination and enthusiasm. It suggests an adventure of any extent open to anyone, and it is hoped that the pictures will entertain and inspire those who build models and. those who do not.

The trains wind through the valley, the trams rattle along the streets, the mill wheel turns under the elms…. Welcome to Amberdale. Features more than 400 colour photographs.

The Engineers and Contractors:  Victorian innovations and construction methods for the Great Central Railway by Jeffrey Sheard. Features Contract No. 1 of Anneseley to East Leake, Catesby Tunnel, Lord’s and the alternative route.

This publication results from nearly four years of research by Jeffrey Sheard. Using newspaper archives, over 250 articles were discovered. At the time of the new M.S.&L.R. London Extension (G.C.R), every week updates were printed in the press both locally and nationally.

The news articles were then assembled into a timeline that followed the new lines construction from inception to completion, 1890 to 1900. The work is further enhanced with information from the Institute of Civil Engineers and over 90 images of the lines construction from the Newton Collection and Nottingham Local Studies Library. Plus, maps and diagrams are also included.

The Faringdon Branch and Uffington Station signed edition by the author Adrian Vaughan.

The Great Western Railway’s main line from London to Bristol, opened in 1841, but bypassed the ancient market town of Faringdon. The town began to go into decline, and planning for a broad gauge railway to connect Faringdon with the GWR main line and thus re-establish a link with the outside world began in 1860. The Faringdon branch railway was built out of equal parts of local patriotism, personal prestige and the desire to improve the business prospects of the town. After the opening of the line, in 1864, new industries were created in the town and farmers were able to send milk to London. Employment prospects were improved.

The railway served the area well through the summer of England’s Imperial power and through the miserable winter of an enormous war. With the introduction of the petrol-engined lorries and buses after the Great War, its freight and passenger traffic was gradually taken away. The directors of the GWR knew it was a liability as early as 1925, but they ran it at a loss all the same. It was not closed to passengers until December 1951 and to freight in 1964.

Adrian Vaughan wrote a trilogy of memoirs tracing a love affair with the coal-fired railway, from love at first sight in 1945 to divorce in 1975. We currently have signed copies of two of these titles, Signalman’s Morning and Signalman’s Nightmare.

Adrian Vaughan, born in Reading in January 1941, fell in love with the entire spectacle of the steam railway. From a young age Adrian was allowed to ride the engines and enter the signal boxes. He asked the railwaymen questions about their engine or their signal box and their work, and they kindly gave him the answers. He was coached in engine driving and signal box work through the 1940s and 1950s; he was the first volunteer railwayman at the age of twelve, unloading parcels, helping in the shunting yard.

By the time he actually went to work for British Railways he was fairly well versed not only in the work but in the spirit of the railwaymen and their commitment to what they called ‘The Service’.

Change at Robertsbridge: Rother Valley (Light) Railway Company by David Penn. Tenterden and the villages along the Rother Valley had been pleading for a railway for decades, but who would foot the bill? The directors of the newly formed Rother Valley (Light) Railway Company thought they had found a solution. They engaged a ‘company promoter’ to find the money and build the line. It was a risky decision and the new company was soon in financial difficulties.

This book tells the story of the first few years of this railway (1897 – 1904) – its directors, professionals and investors.

The Company’s Engineer was Colonel Holman Frederick Stephens. He became the General Manager in 1899 and Managing Director one year later.

David Penn will be giving a zoom talk to members of the Colonel Stephens Society on October 14th.

The Dornoch Light Railway by Barry Turner. July 1874 saw the completion of the Highland Railway’s new main line to Wick and Thurso. Over 161 miles of railway wound its way north through Inverness-shire, Ross-shire and Sutherland to Caithness. It was not long before the people of Dornoch realised just what they had missed. The railway was bringing increased prosperity to the whole of the east coast of Sutherland, but Dornoch was feeling the pinch.

In 1896 came the Light Railways Act and a year later the Dornoch Light Railway Company was formed.

This book follows the history of this Highland branch line until it closed in 1960.

Signalman’s Morning Audio CD by Adrian Vaughan. One of the UK’s foremost railway historians, Adrian has published over 30 book titles in a writing career which spans almost 50 years.

Adrian Vaughan was born in Reading in January 1941 and grew up with the GWR and its nationalised successor. He became a volunteer porter at Challow station from 1953 until 1956. During this period he learned how to drive a steam engine and work a signal box. Following a spell in the army he re-joined the Challow staff, this time as a paid member in 1960. He became a signalman at Uffington a few months later.

Adrian Vaughan was a signalman for fourteen years and an amateur footplateman for six.

Adrian wrote three memoirs of his time on the railways. The first of which was Signalman’s Morning. This audio CD is over two hours in duration and is narrated by Adrian himself.