Author(s): Michael Williams
Sometimes you come across a lofty railway viaduct, marooned in the middle of a remote country landscape. Or a crumbling platform from some once-bustling junction buried under the buddleia. If you are lucky you might be able to follow some rusting tracks, or explore an old tunnel leading to...well, who knows where? Listen hard. Is that the wind in the undergrowth? Or the spectre of a train from a golden era of the past panting up the embankment? These are the ghosts of The Trains Now Departed. They are the railway lines, and services that ran on them that have disappeared and gone forever. Our lost legacy includes lines prematurely axed, often with a gripping and colourful tale of their own, as well as marvels of locomotive engineering sent to the scrapyard, and grand termini felled by the wrecker's ball. Then there are the lost delights of train travel, such as haute cuisine in the dining car, the grand expresses with their evocative names, and continental boat trains to romantic far-off places. The Trains Now Departed tells the stories of some of the most fascinating lost trains of Britain, vividly evoking the glories of a bygone age.
In his personal odyssey around Britain Michael Williams tells the tales of the pioneers who built the tracks, the yarns of the men and women who operated them and the colourful trains that ran on them. It is a journey into the soul of our railways, summoning up a magic which, although mired in time, is fortunately not lost for ever.
A richly observed and researched personal history of the bygone age of Britain's railways.
"This is a wistful and sepulchral affair yet ... The Trains Now Departed is more than just a lamentation for the days of steam and soot." Times Literary Supplement "In elegant prose Michael Williams takes us on nostalgic journeys, reminding us - with smuts and smells - of what we have lost." -- Michael Portillo "Revel in what we've lost and wonder how on earth we ever had it. It's a perfect book for a leisurely, long rail journey. If the scenery leaves you uninspired, then read a chapter, refresh your mind, and gaze once more from your window." -- Philip Haigh Rail Magazine "A nostalgic thrill for anyone with the least longing for the lost age of steam." Press Association "Williams is to railway writing what his namesake Portillo is to railway television" Rail Magazine
Michael Williams is the best-selling author of On the Slow Train, On the Slow Train Again and Steaming to Victory. He is a journalist, academic and author - writing, blogging and broadcasting on railways and other subjects for many media outlets, including the Independent, the BBC, the Daily Mail, the Daily Telegraph and the New Statesman, as well as the specialist railway press. He is also a travel writer, having covered the world for a variety of publications. He lives with his family in Camden Town, not far from St Pancras - Britain's most splendid railway station.