Wessex, the region of England made famous by Thomas Hardy and from where Harold Godwinson rose to become the last Saxon King of England, covers much of England to the south of the Thames Valley. Bounded by the Great Western main line to the north and by the English Channel to the south, the region became dominated by the Great Western and London & ...
Wessex, the region of England made famous by Thomas Hardy and from where Harold Godwinson rose to become the last Saxon King of England, covers much of England to the south of the Thames Valley. Bounded by the Great Western main line to the north and by the English Channel to the south, the region became dominated by the Great Western and London & South Western railway and, later, by the Western and Southern regions of BR. While the former was to see the end of main line steam relatively early in the modernisation programme, with its replacement by the various classes of diesel-hydraulic locomotive, the Southern was to retain steam until much later, the final examples only being withdrawn in July 1967 making the ex-LSWR routes the last main lines in Britain to be steam-hauled. When the SR came to replace steam, it selected diesel-electric traction alongside further electrification but it was not until 20 years after the end of main line steam that the Weymouth route was electrified throughout and, more than 35 years on, diesel traction still reigns supreme on the route to Exeter. During the transition from steam, local photographer Tony Molyneux avidly recorded the changing face of the railway industry in the region. Never previously published, his photographs provide a stunning portrait of the arrival of modern traction on both the Western and Southern regions. Drawing upon this collection, well-known railway author Kevin Robertson has compiled over 80 colour photographs which portray the great variety of modern traction that was to be seen at the time - many examples of which are now as much a part of history as the steam locomotives they were destined to replace. With diesel-hydraulics featuring on the WR main lines and, later, on the Waterloo-Exeter route alongside the diesel-electrics on the SR, the book provides the reader with a snapshot of the railway industry during the first phase of modernisation.
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