London and Its Railways by R Davies and MD Grant with dust jacket
London and Its Railways by R Davies and MD Grant with dust jacket 200 pages Indexed 158 black & white photographs, 113 colour plates, 29 maps and diagrams. 1983
The railways of London form a major part of the whole British railway network, with radial main routes spreading out from the capital towards all corners of the country, interwoven with the purely urban and Underground lines. They embrace some of the oldest pioneer lines such as the London & Greenwich, now part of the busy commuter route from North Kent into London Bridge, and the London & Blackwall, to one of the newest, the highly automated London Transport Victoria Line. Between came the great trunk routes - the London & Birmingham, the Great Western, the London & Southampton, the Eastern Counties and the Great Northern, followed by the latecomers, the Midland at St Pancras and the Great Central at Marylebone. As for the lines to the south, with the coast no more than 50-70 miles from the capital, a network of lines evolved to serve and expand the Kent and Sussex coastal resorts and the country towns between. Today as part of the great Southern electric network they have brought the coast well within the London commuter belt. In recent years, too, electrification and higher speeds have pushed the effective London catchment area well beyond the traditional 30 or so miles towards Peterborough, Birmingham and Bristol. Underneath, in the central area, came the deep level tube lines and the sub-surface routes of the Metropolitan and District stretching tentacles into the countryside and outer suburbs.
In London and its Railways the authors discuss in twelve thematic chapters the history and development of London's railways, not forgetting the social and economic reasons for their construction, and sometimes closure, with numerous maps and more than 160 photographs showing the capital's railways past and present. They look at passenger services for business and pleasure, the great terminus stations, main lines, freight, the docks, depots, and lines of which hardly a trace remains, and surprisingly, despite much standardisation, many unique aspects of the past still show through.
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