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The Great Western Railway from Paddington to Penzance

By Edward Allhusen
ISBN 9781873590751
Old House Books*
B&w line drawings, maps, reproductions throughout
146 Pages
5.5 X 8.75


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Price $ 22.00 

This book was first published by The Great Western Railway in 1924 to enhance the enjoyment of their passengers on the 305 mile journey from Paddington to Penzance. Maps, line drawings and information about the towns and villages describe the glorious countryside of southern England that could be seen from the windows of The Cornish Riviera Express. This new edition includes 20 pages from Bradshaw’s Railway timetables at the time this book was first published. Do you yearn for the days when train journeys were a pleasure? The creaking timbers of the carriages; the aroma of steam and smoke; the rattle and clank of points and the sudden sound of the whistle as you pass an unmanned crossing? This was when the sedate pace of the train, with windows held open by a thick leather strap, allowed time to watch the world go by. How much more you could see in those days! This book was published by The GWR to help their customers enjoy the experience. Each spread has a map and exquisite line drawings describing about six miles of the journey with charming descriptions of the ‘long swift journey from London to Land’s End that has about it a certain savour of romance, a spice of adventure, which no amount of familiarity of railway travelling can destroy’. We read of ‘The Grand Junction Canal with bridges, barges and ducks all doing their best to make it picturesque’; crossing the Thames by the widest brick spanned bridge in the world and seeing the river crowded with punts and rowing boats; hurrying through Royal Berkshire where The River Kennet ‘serpentines through a landscape too flat to offer any resistance to its whims and fancies’. Across ‘the forbidding expanse of Salisbury Plain’, beside The White Horse of Westbury and over the flat lands of Sedgemoor. A glimpse of Exeter Cathedral and the first sight of the sea! On beneath the rugged hills of Dartmoor to the ‘tangled forest of shipping in Plymouth Sound’. Over Brunel’s ‘vast piece of imagination’ the Royal Albert Bridge into Cornwall with palms on the platforms and viaducts over wooded valleys. Sandy beaches, rocky headlands and majestic St. Michael’s Mount arriving at Penzance in time for tea. This beautifully written book describes more than a wonderful railway journey for it allows us a peep at the great swathe of southern Britain that was so well served by The Great Western Railway.