Railways Round Dartmoor


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When Brunel’s first broad gauge link sneaked its way into Devon in the 1940s Dartmoor was still considered to be somethig of a wilderness in which few roads existed, and those that did were mostly unmade tracks winding between isolated farms and villages.  Even as the so-called Railway Mania took hold, attempts to access the high moorland were largely thwarted by its rugged terrain.  The rail network laids down in the following decades shows routes encircling the fringes of the moor, leaving the interior to one or two enterprising and largely short-lived passenger services along with a handful of industrial and military examples.  However, these geographical difficulties and the methods employed to overcome them, make the history of Dartmoor’s railways particularlyinteresting, not only to the enthusiast but also to the millions of visitors to the National Park for whom evidence of many lines now survives only as well-used footpaths and cycle routes.  In Railways Round Dartmoor, the author applies his intimate knowledge of Dartmoor to provide the reader with a detailed history of its railways.  Of particular interest are the many photographs from the author’s collection taken whent he lines were in use, or in the throes of being dismantled, comparing them with photographs of the same scene today.  These, combined with historic photographs of the same scene today.  These, combined with historic photographs from the Dartmoor Trust Archive and other sources, create a book that will prove fascinating not only to the railway enthusiast but also to the general reader.