The Snailbeach District Railways was one of Britainís lesser known public narrow gauge railways. Never carrying passengers, its history and workings have never before been fully explored but after many years research Andy Cuckson is able to reveal a fascinating story, not just about the railway but also about the mines and minerals the line supported and the people who built and worked it, including Henry Dennis, the entrepreneurial civil engineer and mine manager.
The book tells of the early railways in the area and the many plans to bring rail access to this part of Shropshire, and of the development and impact of the mines. Of the railway all aspects are described; a variety of steam locomotives, rolling stock, engineering, operation and people. The rundown of the mines brought problems but despite all the line survived finding a new role hauling roadstone, and became part of the Colonel Stephens light railway empire. After all the steam locomotives were condemned an agricultural tractor kept traffic moving. After 82 years, from 1877, the line finally closed in 1959 but, surprisingly, the company still exists, on paper.
As well as a great deal of work in archives and historic records Andy got to know many of the older residents of the area who told him much about how the railway worked and ran in its later years.
Many photographs have never been published before and many of the maps and drawings have been specially commissioned. This is the fullest account possible of the Snailbeach District Railways and will become the standard work on the line.