Wednesday, 6 March 2013

New book - The Bodmin & Wadebridge Railway

I can't remember the date this book was published apart from being some time leading up to Christmas. Colin, on Yahoo's China Clay Branchline User Group, informed me of its imminent publication, so a copy was ordered from Twelveheads Press. As soon as it arrived, it was confiscated and whisked off to Santa to be wrapped as a Christmas present. Though a little frustrating having to wait, it did add to the anticipation of the read.

I'd purchased a couple of other books by Michael Messenger, Industrial Railways of the South West and North Devon Clay but his recent publication The Bodmin & Wadebridge Railway is in a different class to the previous two books. It must the the most comprehensive book published to date on this branch line. Covering the early canal proposals along the Camel Valley during 1858-1825; different proposals for a railway beginning in 1830  through to its completion in1834; expansion plans and 'what might have beens'; personalities behind the railway; different plans for a branch to Bodmin including all GWR proposals to Bodmin and Boscarne; the eventual arrival of the L.S.W.R.; information on mining in the area and clay workings; traffic workings on the branch for its ealiest days to closure; locomotives that worked on the line, and diagrams of early coaches and wagons. There has been some serious research undertaken to uncover information within the book, which is well written and supported by many photographs and diagrams.

I cannot recommend this book enough to anyone interested in this branch line or any aspect of Cornish railway history. In fact I think it should be on the book shelf of anyone interested in British Railway history. This is a superb book...but then I'm a little bias on the subject.

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