Narrow gauge railways were a cheaper and sometimes more practical alternative to the full-scale railways that were the norm. By building tracks with a 3-foot gauge rather than a 4 ft 8-and-a-half inch gauge, construction costs could be reduced, cuttings and embankments were smaller and curves could be sharper - in some cases existing railways where horses or stationary engines hauled wagons were more easily converted to narrow gauge steam routes. In this book, Peter Johnson introduces the history of the narrow gauge railway in Britain, explaining the freight and passenger roles of lines such as Festiniog, Talyllyn, and Ravenglass & Eskdale, and explaining the decline of narrow gauge railways by the Second World War, and their subsequent revival as restored routes for tourism and enthusiasts.
Peter Johnson, the author of many books about railways, is known for his in-depth histories of the Festiniog, Snowdon, and Welsh Highland lines. Since 1991 he has contributed a column of narrow gauge railway news to Railway World and Steam Railway magazines.
Table of Contents
Introduction / The Festiniog Railway / Developing Festiniog Concepts / Wider Does Not Necessarily Mean Bigger / 3-foot Gauge / The Light Railways / Between the Wars: A Narrow Gauge Swansong / Places to Visit / Further Reading / Index