While the coming of the railways to Britain's towns and cities in the nineteenth century transformed their fortunes and gave urban dwellers new opportunities to travel across the country, the effect on the largely rural population of the country was arguably far greater. And while some of the initial trunk lines were designed to link major cities, the network of smaller cross-country and branch lines that followed opened up large tracts of previously remote countryside, providing new markets for agricultural produce but also ending the isolation of many rural communities. For many railway enthusiasts, the country railway was typified by the shorter but no less important branch line. Many of these railways began life as independent companies promoted by local people wishing to ensure their community was linked to the main line, but inevitably they were often taken over by large operations like the Great Western, but inevitably remained an important part of the districts and communities they served.
Table of Contents
Introduction Building Country Railways Across the Countryside Branch Lines A Day in the Life Decline and Fall Places to Visit Further Reading Index