Thursday, October 20, 2011


Steam trains are still a fascination for many of us and just recently, I've enjoyed a couple of 'memory lane' steam railway trips.  So, it's a privilege to be asked to review Amberley Publishing Stour Valley Railway Through Time created by Andy T Wallis.  ISBN 978-1-4456-0472-5 £14.99

Within his fifteen chapters, we are treated to several hundred fabulous photos of locomotives from Suffolk and Essex including those from the former Colchester, Stour Valley, Sudbury & Halstead Railway which was authorised by Act of Parliament in 1846, to build the Colchester to Hythe line and a second, Marks Tey to Sudbury, with a branch to Halstead.

Railway buffs will know much about our Great Eastern Railway passing into the new London & North Eastern Railway on l January 1923 and the advent of the special excursion trains running from the Midlands and Cambridge via both the Stour Valley and Colne Valley lines to Clacton and Walton.

From 1 January 1959, steam traction was replaced by diesel locomotive-hauled trains for both freight and excursion traffic.  The last passenger service to travel over the whole line took place in June 1961 when the Ramblers' Special worked from Liverpool Street to Bury St Edmunds. We learn much about the Beeching Report in 1963 and the rows and opposition to the closure plans.

"Andy Wallis has done a fine job," commented a retired railway engineer. "The book contains some fascinating photographs tracing some of the numerous ways in which the Stour Valley Railways has changed and developed over the last century."  Do take a look for yourselves - a second book on the railways is expected in 2012.

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