A pictorial history of the rise, fall, and rebirth of the scenic railway in Cornwall, featuring never before published photos.
In 1963 comic duo Flanders and Swann composed Slow Train—a lament for some of the many railway lines proposed for closure by Dr Beeching. Among the destinations listed in their song is the refrain “from St Erth to St Ives”. Constructed in 1877 as the last broad gauge line to be built in the UK, the St Ives branch did not close in the 1960s and survives to this day—now widely regarded as one of the most scenic railways in Europe. How did it escape closure, and how did it come to be built in the first place?
Why did the war departments of the world have their eyes on St Ives in the years before the First World War? How did a town once renowned for the inescapable smell of fish become one of the most popular tourist resorts in the UK? Did the Great Western Railway invent the Cornish Riviera? Why was a heliport proposed for St Erth? Where did a thirty-two-ton ballast digger end-up in 2008? And how did two young men find themselves four miles from the nearest station in 1860. . . ?
Containing over 100 images, mostly in colour and many never published before, this book sets out to answer these and many more questions.
Praise for The St Ives Branch Line
“A detailed, historical and photographic record of the line, from its very beginnings to the present day. . . . An excellent reference for anyone interested in Cornwall’s railways or scenic UK branch lines in general.” —Model Rail Magazine
“If you are looking for a comprehensive and well-illustrated overview of the St Ives line throughout its life, this book will meet your requirements admirably.” —West Somerset Railway Association