The Beeching Legacy THE WEST COUNTRY Expanded second edition

The first edition of this popular volume has been out of print for several years and has become much sought after.
Produced in black and white, the first edition was the first volume in the series, taking a detailed regional look at the Beeching Report, its proposals for closures and modifications of the UK railway network.

The report has become legendary and the interest and debate it generated is no less today than it has ever been since first published. Indeed, with railways now rejuvenated and passenger numbers growing ever larger, the reflection on what Beeching got right and what perhaps in hindsight got very badly wrong makes for fascinating reading.

This new, expanded second edition has been completely reworked and is now published with colour illustrations both new and replacing the original black and white images where possible. The text has been expanded and updated as appropriate and there are 32 extra pages, bringing the new edition to 192 pages.

About the author: Phil Horton

Philip Horton was born in Bath in 1947 and was educated there before leaving to go to university. He developed an early interest in two rather disparate subjects: natural history and railways. Both have stayed with him, the first as a career, the second as a hobby.

In 1969 he graduated with an Honours Degree in Botany from University College London and joined the Nature Conservancy Council as their field officer for Wiltshire. After posts in Kent and North Yorkshire he joined the NCC’s Peterborough office in 1985. The family moved to Castle Bytham in Lincolnshire where Philip and his wife Susan still live.
He started trainspotting in 1959 when BR was in a state of flux, culminating in 1963 with the publication of the Beeching Report. Already fascinated by railways, he realised that the scene would be changed forever. He decided that he would try to travel on as many of the lines affected as possible. Starting in south-west England, he eventually covered many lines in both England and Wales. These included one of his favourites, the former Somerset & Dorset from Bath Green Park to Bournemouth. Since then he has followed and photographed Britain’s railway scene. After the end of BR steam in 1968 he turned his attention to the Continent and travelled widely in both Western and Eastern Europe, in many cases travelling with his wife, who is a linguist. In recent years he has made good use of the material collected in a series of books published by Silver Link.

He has had numerous articles published on a wide range of railway-related topics over more than 30 years. Latterly he has been a regular contributor to the magazine Narrow Gauge World. It is, however, only since his retirement from English Nature that his first book: Volume 1 of his ‘Beeching Legacy’ series: ‘The West Country’, based on his travels in the 1960s, was published by Silver Link in 2010. Four more volumes followed, which cover the whole of Wales and southern England respectively. A second edition of Volume 1 is about to be published.

Three of his books: The Last Years of BR Steam Around Bath (no. 64), Rails to the Yorkshire Coast (no. 86) and The East German Narrow Gauge (no. 101) have appeared in Silver Link’s Nostalgia Collection.