King of the Light Railway: The Story of Colonel Stephens

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This book looks at the light railways established by light railway civil engineer Colonel Stephens.

The first chapter describes the work of the early railway pioneers such as George Stephenson and Richard Trevithick, the advent of motor road transport from the early 20th century onwards and the 1896 Light Railway Act. Each subsequent chapter describes one of the light railways established by Colonel Stephens in an attempt to reach those areas of rural Britain left untouched by the more conventional railway undertakings, starting with his first railway project, the Cranbrook & Paddock Wood Railway in Kent, and the Rye & Camber tramway linking the historic East Sussex town of Rye with Camber Sands.

The book describes the route and tells the story of each railway from its planning, construction and opening through to run-down and closure, and what remains of it today. Some of the lines featured, such as the Kent & East Sussex and Ffestiniog Railways, are now fully operational heritage railways, and in the case of the Plymouth, Devonport & South Western Junction Railway the stretch between Plymouth and Gunnislake still forms part of the national rail network.

Other railways covered include the Sheppey, Ashover, and Shropshire & Montgomeryshire Light Railways.

Over 300 photos. 130 pages.

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