The branch lines of Devon were particularly numerous and this volume covers those in Exeter and the south, central and eastern parts of the county. They were also tremendously varied, ranging from the Exmouth branch - the nearest the West Country comes to a suburban-type commuter line - and the Paignton line - which for many years of its life could be considered a main line - to the Culm Valley Light Railway - a curiosity which required locomotives with a short wheelbase and slight axle loading and restrictions on rolling stock. Many Devon branch lines were originally built to the broad gauge and were later narrowed, some lasting until its very end in May 1892. Three of the branches in the area have been preserved: part of the Seaton line is now a narrow-gauge electric tramway, the South Devon Railway at Buckfastleigh is a typical GWR branch, and the Dartmouth Steam Railway is capable of taking main-line engines. In this absorbing and well-researched book, Colin G. Maggs has provided a marvellously wideranging view of over 160 years of rail travel in the county. Well illustrated with over 200 fascinating photographs, ephemera and maps, The Branch Lines of Devon Part One: Exeter, South, Central & East Devon will appeal not only to railway enthusiasts, but local historians as well.
Colin Maggs is one of the country's foremost transport and engineering historians and has written over one hundred books as well as innumerable magazine articles. He has also made several TV and radio appearances. In 1993 he received the MBE for services to railway history. He lives in Bath.