It was a railway just waiting to be made. The capital, London, was in the east; Bristol, second city in the land, 110 miles to the west or a sea journey of 672 miles. By the late 1820s, technology had improved to a state where the very latest form of transport, a steam railway, could make a far superior link than travel by canal, sea or road. This in-depth study of the Bristol to Bath line by the master of West Country railway history, Colin G. Maggs, covers the line's conception, construction, opening and its dramatic effect on the district from the nineteenth century to the present day. It illustrates many aspects of the railway: the first English Pacific locomotive, GWR diesel railcars, gas-turbine locomotives and the pioneer HST, as well as damage and uses during the Second World War and the many accidents that occurred, including one that could have proven fatal to the author. The GWR Bristol to Bath Line is illustrated with maps and over 200 photographs showing every aspect of the line, which passes through sylvan scenes and industrial ugliness. This book also contains appendices giving financial and traffic information, along with descriptions of all stations. This fact-filled, authoritative study offers a rare insight into the development of an integral section of the British railway.
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.