|The Southern Railway has not always been seen as the most glamorous of the four companies that emerged from the grouping of the railways that took effect in 1923, but it was the great innovator. It was the Southern that created the largest electrified suburban railway network in the world before the Second World War, and pioneered the first main line electrification in 1931.
The Southern introduced the concept of even interval services, so passengers no longer needed to carry a timetable. The Southern was also first with true international services, with its 'Night Ferry' through trains from London to Paris introduced in 1936 using special train ferries. Its chief engineer for most of its existence, Oliver Bulleid, not only designed electric as well as steam rolling stock, but many features of his locomotives were introduced on BR standard rolling stock.
The Southern Railway Handbook looks at the history and achievements of the Southern Railway, the railway that accounted for the largest number of passengers, and lowest volume of freight, of any of the 'Big Four' companies.
The book starts with a brief history of the pre-grouping companies that provided the basis of the new company, before moving on to look at the characters who left their mark on it, most notably Herbert Walker, the general manager, and Bulleid.
By David Wragg
Hardback. 263 x 194mm. 256 pages