Book Review: The Great Western Society – A Tale Of Endeavour and Success

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The Great Western Society - A Tale of Endeavour and Success book
Credit: RailAdvent

The Great Western Society – A Tale Of Endeavour & Success is a new book from Pen and Sword and was released in 2019. This book tells the story of The Great Western Society, one of Britain’s most successful railway projects, after being formed in 1960.

This hardback book measures 26cm x 18cm and has around 200 pages of full-colour photographs and detailed information. The book has a published price of £25 and can be picked up on Amazon for around £20, or £8 as an e-book on Kindle.

The Didcot Railway Centre is a big tourist attraction in Oxfordshire, and this book looks at its history from humble beginnings.

Illustrated throughout with colour and black and white photographs, this book shows some of the carriages and locomotives arriving at the museum. The book also shows some of the infrastructure at Didcot.

The Great Western Society - A Tale of Endeavour and Success book
Credit: RailAdvent

The Great Western Society – A Tale Of Endeavour and Success is split into 12 chapters, covering the different parts of history at the Didcot Railway Centre.

Chapter One looks at why the Great Western Society and The Didcot Railway Centre chose Great Western, in which there is no one simple answer, apart from a happy combination and a public hyperbole that the Western Railway was in fact Great.

Chapter Two looks at the beginnings of the society, including a schoolboy who had just bought a copy of The Railway Magazine.

The Great Western Society - A Tale of Endeavour and Success book
Credit: RailAdven

Chapter Three of this book looks at the different locomotives that the society has, including Pendennis Castle and 6023 King Edward II.

This chapter also has an appendix of locomotives found at Didcot.

Chapter 4 moves on to look at the variety of carriages that are often forgotten about at the Didcot Railway Centre, Also included, like chapter three, is an appendix of carriages at the DRC.

Chapters 5 – 8 cover some of the developments and replicas of the museum at Didcot, including the broad gauge track (which is wider track than standard gauge).

The Great Western Society - A Tale of Endeavour and Success book
Credit: RailAdvent

Chapter 9 – 11 covers Signalling and trips/tours at the Didcot Railway Centre. Chapter 9 covers the visits of famous people to the Didcot Railway Centre, including the visit of Princess Anne in 2003.

Chapter 12 brings the book to a close, with coverage of the volunteers of the society working hard to keep the memories alive for future visitors.

Each chapter has a number of photographs, but we found some pages to be just full of text, and we found this quite overwhelming. We would have liked to have seen the margins of the book a little narrower and seen a few more pictures to split up the text.

It is great to see some historic photographs of the museum being built and seeing some of the locomotives arriving having been saved from scrap.

 

This book then is full of information about the Great Western Society and the Didcot Railway Centre.

Whether you are local to the Dicot Railway Centre, or just want to check out the history of the society, this book is a good addition to any bookshelf.

This book is available to purchase from Amazon and Pen & Sword.

We would like to thank Pen and Sword for providing RailAdvent with a copy of this book to review.

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