This volume in our best-selling series brings together some 175 colour illustrations that provide the reader with a visual record of the Southern Region’s individual identity in the years after Nationalisation. The photographs deal with more than just trains and locomotives. In the style of the series, they go beyond these to explore details of the SR’s infrastructure, the concrete stations and signal boxes, the green signage and the other elements which sustained that region’s individual identity.
Whilst the Southern Railway was the smallest of the ‘Big Four’ railway companies at the Grouping in 1923, it was involved in a wide range of diverse operations, from the intensive electrified services in the London suburbs through to the pick-up freights on remote lines in Devon and Cornwall. The SR quickly evolved a distinct identity. It was for example, a pioneer in the use of concrete for constructing stations and other buildings and was still expanding its network through the construction of new routes right up to the outbreak of World War 2, with lines such as that to Chessington South being added to the company’s mileage prior to 1939. Even after 1948, with the Nationalisation of the railways, the Southern still maintained this identity. Whilst there was a gradual expansion of the electrified network using its own characteristic third rail system, SR steam, and in particular the singular designs of its last Chief Mechanical Engineer, Oliver Bulleid, operated the final intensive regular express steam services in Britain up to July 1967.
This title is not just a picture book, it is work of reference for all interested in the SR in this era and to those modellers and preservationists who seek to recreate it either in full size or in miniature.