The back cover of this book tells you it that the author travelled the length of the British railway system from Penzance to Thurso, meeting a variety of people from politicians to platform staff on charmingly bizarre trains, the most beautiful branch line, and uncovered the mysteries and explored the history of railways in Britain.
I had really high hopes for this book – a mixture of train travel, quirky characters and the nostalgia of the railways as a British institution. A promising start gave me everything I was looking for, but unfortunately, it didn’t last.
After a few chapters, the narrative took a must stronger turn towards this history of the railways and diverted away from the people and places of the journey. I stuck with it, but it gradually got drier and drier, and I actually ended up putting it down for three months.
I eventually decided I wanted to finish it, and starting it again, the history continued for quite a while, but the last couple of chapters looking more at the state of the railway today along with the conclusion of the authors journey, made me glad I made the decision to continue.
I liked the authors writing style, it was just the depth of railway history that I found hard to take, as the blurb did not reflect the content making me feel a bit cheated. I would have been much happier to have read a book that concentrated mainly on the story of the journey with a bit of history thrown in, but I got the reverse felt which was rather dry and lacking in character.