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New book published to mark the GWR 175th Anniversary


Book published to mark Great Western Railway anniversary

THE glorious history of the Great Western Railway, which used to serve Taunton, is charted in new book.

To mark the 175th anniversary of the railway, on August 31, railway journalist and author Andrew Roden has written its first comprehensive history for more than 20 years.

The book is described as ‘a thrilling and surprising story with universal appeal’.

The railway was affectionately nicknamed God's Wonderful Railway and Roden recaptures everything from the sleepy branch lines with their little tank engines to the expresses carrying businessmen and tourists.

The book also describes the often-shaky beginnings of Brunel and his famous broad gauge through the golden years of the early 20th Century and then the decline under British Railways ownership.

Roden also reveals how four schoolboys laid the foundations for preserving parts of the GWR in the 1960s, and how you can see the fruits of the efforts of dedicated volunteers at the preserved West Somerset Railway – which runs from Bishops Lydeard to Minehead – and the East Somerset Railway.

He said: “I've wanted to write a book about the GWR for many years, and I particularly wanted to see whether the reality was as spectacular as the glorious legends I've read about since I was a child, or whether it was rather less polished than those copper capped chimneys and brass nameplates and safety valve bonnets would suggest. It was a fascinating and thrilling journey - as I'm sure readers will agree."

Great Western Railway: A History, by Andrew Roden, is published by Aurum Press today.

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