Book of the Week: The Last Days of BR Steam in Wessex Vol 1. Western Region


By the early 1960s, BR’s aim to eliminate steam traction was all too evident. The author, therefore, decided to try to record these changes pictorially, initially using his Box Brownie camera.

He soon extended his search beyond his home city of Bath to the Western Region’s lines in neighbouring counties, in the area often referred to as ‘Wessex’.

Each chapter follows one of the region’s main lines through the area. These include the former Midland lines from Bristol along with the northern half of the old Somerset & Dorset Joint Railway from Bath (Green Park) to just south of Templecombe.

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The types of steam engine once found in the various engine sheds visited during the period are described, as are those he found in Swindon Works.

Photographic coverage extends from around 1960 to the last steam workings which, on the Western Region, (almost) ended in December 1965. Coverage of the early scene is much enhanced by the inclusion of the colour photographs of Mr M E J Deane, which appear courtesy of Ian Bennett.

The extent of BR(WR’s) lines in the area covered by this book increased significantly from 1963. BR(SR’s) lines are illustrated in Volume 2.

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The Last Days of BR Steam In Wessex Vol 1. Western Region by Philip Horton is available to order for £8 from

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