West Gloucester & Wye Valley Lines
This is the first volume in a new series: British Railway History in Colour. It covers GLOUCESTER CENTRAL (west end) to CHEPSTOW + LLANTHONY DOCKS + LEDBURY BRANCH + GLOUCESTER to HEREFORD + ROSS to MONMOUTH + MONMOUTH to PONTYPOOL ROAD + MONMOUTH to CHEPSTOW.
The verdant and picturesque county of Gloucestershire was once served by a maze of railway lines, most of which have long since been closed. Fortunately, the scenery and differing railway architecture attracted the attention of a number of photographers many of whom, from the late 1950s, began working with colour transparencies in an era when the majority of railway pictures were still being taken on black & white film. Within these pages is assembled a breathtaking array of well over 500 colour images, coupled with maps, tickets, WTT extracts and other ephemera, to paint a picture of the railways of West Gloucestershire and the Wye Valley as they existed over fifty years ago. The aim has been to show the infrastructure - stations, signal boxes, goods yard, engine sheds - which has been lost, as much as the trains and their motive power. Along the way, some of the other locations which were once railway served - such as docks, quarries and industrial works - are also illustrated. Local people will also find much to enjoy here, as the pictures show far more than just the railway, illustrating much of the surrounding area as it used to be. Whilst the period covered is largely 1960-65, the last years of the steam era on British Railways Western Region, the earliest pictures in this volume are some Dufaycolor slides of Tintern station taken in the 1930s. The cut-off date is the mid 1970s, when Gloucester Central station was rebuilt. The railway system of Great Britain, as it was in the 1950s and 60s, now no longer exists and very little of what is shown in these pictures still remains. This, then, is a chance to sit back and remember the railways of West Gloucestershire and the Wye Valley, in the company of some talented photographers who made it their mission to record this vanishing scene, and to enjoy an altogether simpler way of life than we have today. This is colour as it can and should be used, with five more volumes covering the rest of the county to follow.