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Railway Walks : Circular Walks Along Abandoned Railway Lines in Gloucestershire and Wiltshire, Engla
England used to enjoy one of the most comprehensive railway networks in Europe.
By the last decade of the 19th century there was hardly a hamlet in the land which could not be reached by train itself or after a brief ride in a pony and trap from the nearest station.
However, the improved reliability and sheer convenience of internal combustion engined road vehicles brought competition to the railways which caused a steady and persistent decline in freight and passengers throughout the second half of the 20th century.
By then the railways, initially funded by private enterprise, had been nationalized as a state asset. This left the state paying for trains which ran at a loss for lack of goods and people to fill them. During the late 1950s and throughout the 1960s, successive governments sought to staunch this outflow of funds by closing thousands of miles of railway lines and hundreds of stations.Many of these were branch lines, that is a track leaving the main line to serve a specific place but going no further.
At a stroke, large parts of the huge 19th-century civil engineering effort which went into building the network were redundant and, once any salvage of value was removed, duly abandoned. By and large, it was not economic to reinstate the cuttings, embankments and bridges built to give the most straight and level route possible for each line.What is left of these abandoned lines can offer rewarding walks through the heart of the countryside, away from roads and traffic, rich in flora and fauna and littered with dramatic examples of Victorian civil engineering. In short, there is something to the taste of the routine walker and the railway enthusiast. For either type they are best done twice, once in summer and once in winter.
The summer will show what grows where the plow and the sprayer to not go, while the winter will show the detail of what was built, well over a century ago.
This book features 12 of these walks throughout Gloucestershire and Wiltshire.
Pagination:44 pages, 21 photographs, 2 line drawings, bibliography
Dimensions:210 x 148 mm
Country of Pub.:United Kingdom
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