British Rail

British Rail

Summary

The authoritative and fascinating history of the rise and fall of the state-owned British Rail

'Wolmar's book is impeccably organized and makes a fast, enjoyable read' THE TIMES Literary Supplement
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You think you know British Rail. But you don't know the whole story.

From its creation after the Second World War, through its fifty-year lifetime, British Rail was an innovative powerhouse that transformed our transport system. Uniting disparate lines into a highly competent organisation - heralding 'The Age of the Train' - and, for a time, providing one of the fastest regular rail services in the world.

Born into post-war austerity, traumatised, impoverished and exploited by a hostile press, the state-owned railway was dismissed as a dinosaur unable to evolve, and swept away by a government hellbent on selling it off.

Now, award-winning writer Christian Wolmar provides a new perspective on national loss in a time of privatisation.

British Rail is ripe for a new history.
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Praise for Christian Wolmar

'Wolmar is the high priest of railway studies' Literary Review

'The greatest expert on British trains' Guardian

'Our most eminent transport journalist' Spectator

'If the world's railways have a laureate, it is surely Christian Wolmar' Boston Globe

'Christian Wolmar is in love with the railways. He writes constantly and passionately about them. He is their wisest, most detailed historian and a constant prophet of their rebirth . . . if you love the hum of the wheels and of history, then Christian Wolmar is your man' Observer

Reviews

  • Wolmar's book is impeccably organized and makes a fast, enjoyable read
    The Times Literary Supplement

About the author

Christian Wolmar

Acknowledged as one of the UK's leading commentators on transport matters, Christian Wolmar is an award-winning writer and broadcaster specializing in transport, and the author of a series of books on railway history. He is a frequent speaker at conferences, regularly appears on TV and radio, and writes for a wide variety of publications including The Times, The Guardian, The Oldie, and Public Finance. His books include The Great British Railway Disaster (1997), Stagecoach (1999), Down the Tube (2002), The Subterranean Railway (2004), Broken Rails (2001, updated 2005), On the Wrong Line (2005), Fire and Steam (2009), Blood, Iron and Gold (2009), Engines of War (2010), The Great Railway Revolution (2013), and Railways and The Raj (2017). He has been described as "our most eminent transport journalist" by The Spectator and "the greatest expert on British trains" by The Guardian.
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