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I enjoyed this book. Having been an excited passenger on steam hauled trains in my childhood and early adolescence I have an unnatural appetite for stories and details of steam engines and railways. The popularity of Rev Awdry's Thomas the tank engine tales and preserved steam lines shows that I am not alone in this. However those who are less enthusiastic might find the book tedious or even dull. The author does like his wry little jokey observations too, and while I found them tolerable, others might be irritated.
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If you could sum up The Trains Now Departed in three words, what would they be?
Excellent Informative Outstanding
What was one of the most memorable moments of The Trains Now Departed?
The incredible history of "the night sleeper" a pre-channel tunnel intercontinental service from London to Paris. The train literally boarded a ferry whilst the passengers slept.
What does Michael Tudor Barnes bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?
His voice is evocative of a vanished past, his diction and timbre matched that of the text. A narration on trains that closely rivals the late Sir John Betjeman.
If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?
What we have lost
Any additional comments?
This book enthralled me completely. I'm not really a railway enthusiast but am very interested in social history. What made this book particularly interesting were the balanced arguments. Not a misty eyed, age of steam nostalgic style. Michael Williams takes an historians realistic approach to branch line closures, pointing out the lines where the railway staff were surprised to see a single passenger in a week! I had always considered Dr Richard Beeching to be the devil incarnate for the butchery of our branch lines, but having listened to this book must concede that in many areas he was indeed correct. That is not to say that all of his decisions were just, but many clearly were.
I have given the reader Michael Tudor Barnes just 4 stars for this reading. He lost a star for his pronunciation of that wonderful hill on Bodmin moor. He pronounced the hill as "Rough Tor" when it should of course be pronounced "rowta" as in "ow" that was painful!