The Oxford Companion to British Railway History

From 1603 to the 1990s
Simmons, Jack
Biddle, Gordon
Date published: 
October 1997

Of all the products of the Industrial Revolution, none left its mark on the landscape of Britain, or changed the lives of the British people, more than the railway. The encyclopedic Oxford Companion to British Railway History reveals, for the first time, the full story of this remarkable achievement: the inspired pioneers, the unprecedented feats of engineering, the romance, and the reality. From the primitive wagonways of the seventeenth century, through the eras of horse, steam, diesel, and electric traction, it explores the railway's unique place in our history, and the reasons for its extraordinary and enduring hold on our collective imagination. Unrivalled authority Over 600 entries by 88 distinguished contributors chart the progress of rail travel from 1603 to the late twentieth century. Comprehensive coverage Covers not only the technical and historical development of the railway, but its social, economic, political, and artistic aspects. Illustrated throughout Maps, diagrams, tables, and illustrations bring the text to life and demystify technical concepts. People, places, and politi cs Covers the key figures who influenced the development of the railways, the towns that were changed forever, and the policies that brought about the network's rise and fall.

This is the first encyclopaedia of British railways to deal comprehensively with their impact on British life from the 17th century to privatization in the mid 1990s. Over 600 entries by 88 expert contributors describe all aspects of operation, working, and management, including the social, technical, economic, and geographical changes the railways brought and continue to bring about.

From Pullman cars to privatization this is a fascinating history of the network that shaped a nation.