Richard Faulkner and Chris Austin. Holding the Line. How Britain's Railways Were Saved. Oxford Publishing Company, Hersham, KT12 4RG. ISBN 978 0 86093 647 3. £19.99
This is a book of many chapters, many quite brief but very much to the point, and covers threats to the railways in Great Britain from 1827 to the present day. Some were carried out but many were not. Several were considered in secret. The book reveals a much more vehement bias against railways than even the most rabid conspiracy theorists could have imagined. Several chapters are of relevance to us in the Far North of Scotland and outline the various options for closure that were examined over the years. The most draconian of those would have left the most northerly railway in Britain as the Edinburgh - Glasgow main line. It has many maps, some of which have never been published before. The reasons are obvious: outcry would have ensued. Photographs of railways across the country are included, several of them in our neck of the woods. Although not exclusively Scottish in content, this is a fascinating book for anyone who wants to try to understand the sometimes illogical reasons why some lines closed but others didn't. Is the threat over? Well, we think so, but reading this book you will come to understand that some lines which were reprieved suddenly came under threat again a few years on.