Great Western Railway Holiday Lines In Devon And Somerset By Alan Bennett SoftCo
Great Western Railway Holiday Lines In Devon And Somerset By Alan Bennett SoftCo
Great Western Railway Holiday Lines In Devon And Somerset By Alan Bennett SoftCo
Great Western Railway Holiday Lines In Devon And Somerset By Alan Bennett SoftCo
Great Western Railway Holiday Lines In Devon And Somerset By Alan Bennett SoftCo
Great Western Railway Holiday Lines In Devon And Somerset By Alan Bennett SoftCo
Great Western Railway Holiday Lines In Devon And Somerset By Alan Bennett SoftCo
Great Western Railway Holiday Lines In Devon And Somerset By Alan Bennett SoftCo
Great Western Railway Holiday Lines In Devon And Somerset By Alan Bennett SoftCo
Great Western Railway Holiday Lines In Devon And Somerset By Alan Bennett SoftCo

Great Western Railway Holiday Lines In Devon And Somerset By Alan Bennett SoftCo

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Great Western Railway Holiday Lines In Devon And Somerset By Alan Bennett SoftCo
 
Great Western Railway - Holiday Lines In Devon And Somerset
By Alan Bennett
Softcover
80 Pages
Copyright 1993
Contents
Origins and Development7
Railways and Resorts - GWR Promotion and Publicity22
Prosperity and Progress - The Inter-War Years52
Transatlantic Trade - Millbay Docks70
Post War Picture75
Introduction
The Great Western Railway claimed a decisive double distinction in the years separating our two World Wars. Building on earlier developments, the Company created powerful, evocative imagery for the West Country which was to play a major role in shaping the region's subsequent character and identity. The GWR had quality material to work on, no-one could dispute that, but the inspired creative energy of the Company's publicity department met all requirements and expectations.
This achievement was more than imagery, no matter how creative; it was backed by substantial progress in hard engineering terms, making the 'Holiday Line' a reality at all levels. Given the vital 'marriage' of image and substance, the West Country was set a distinctive identity, which, for better or worse, has had a profound influence upon its social, economic and cultural life. There can be no doubt that the GWR took every opportunity to identify itself with the region, becoming, in effect, a definitive part of that community. Nowhere was this more so than in South Devon, where the identity was total.
Much of the engineering achievement of the twenties and thirties has now, sadly, diminished and one has to look to history, to re-create, for ourselves, the priorities and accomplishments of the past. There are plenty of reminders in the railway landscape between Taunton and the River Tamar to indicate something of the scope and scale of former times, but the atmosphere, character, spirit, call it what you will, of those years can only be appreciated now in words and pictures. Its vital energy has gone, in line with the much reduced role of the railway in the overall life of the community.
This book is by way of a celebration of that vanished era, one of confidence and purposeful expansion, reflected in intensive timetabling and new works and by continuity on the more leisurely branch services, resonant of another, older England. Goodrington Sands, Clearbrook Halt, Gara Bridge, or that evocative double act, Ingra Tor and King Tor Halts, for example, embodied the GWR no less than prestigious Plymouth, Taunton or Newton Abbot.
Goodrington is, fortunately, still with us, with the bonus of steam trains on the Paignton and Dartmouth Railway. Go there, today, with or without the steam train at the platform, and sample the place. Does the spirit of the GWR linger there, or is it largely sentimentality for long ago; for sunshine, sand and sea? Was it that the GWR image-makers worked too well, or is it images that make the deepest impressions long after fact falls away? Again, could it be that 'Glorious Devon' and 'Smiling Somerset' have since become veritable 'lands of lost content', the GWR's most enduring legacy to the West Country outbidding the technical and commercial achievement? Commercial gain was the obvious driving force behind all Great Western innovation and others now benefit from those earlier initiatives, but what was the most decisive influence of the railway: was it commercial or cultural, was it both, or can they even be separated?
To whatever extent one pursues this theme, if, indeed, at all, it cannot be denied that the Great Western was at centre stage; a decisive influence. This is the essential focus of the book - the Great Western's involvement in creating and actively promoting the holiday industry of Devon and West Somerset.
Alan Bennett April 1993

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