Stunning railway pictures worth the wait

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IT’S a railway book that has been timetabled for almost 20 years but - like your average British train, perhaps - it’s kept being delayed.

Now, however, a picture tome charting the golden age of railways in South Yorkshire is coming down the line.

And, as The Diary’s exclusive picture preview shows, it’s been well worth the wait (unlike your average, overcrowded British train perhaps).

The book - The Lost Railways of Yorkshire’s West Riding, Barnsley, Doncaster, Sheffield and the South - has been compiled by Scottish publishers Stenlake. It features dozens of rare pictures of historic trains and long-gone stations - Sheffield Victoria, Neepsend and Oughty Bridge among them.

But what of that delay?

It seems our region is almost the last in England to be featured in a series which the company first started producing back in the early Nineties. Why the hold-up?

“Yorkshire was always one of the counties we planned to do first actually,” says David Pettigrew, the man behind the tome. “But it’s such a big place and we had so many pictures it was almost a daunting task to decide how to do it. In the end we kept putting it off and covering other regions first.”

Eventually, the decided to divide the region into three books based on geographical areas with the other two tomes on the West Ridings and the north.

“We use pictures from a couple of private collections,” explains David. “Then we spend a good deal of time researching each image that we choose to feature. It’s very labour intensive because accurate information about stations which have disappeared, for example, isn’t always easy to come by.

“But, in the end, I think it leaves us with a really evocative book - both for people who love trains and people interested in social history in general.”

It is well worth choo-choo choosing as a summer time read.

* Book is £9 from shops andstenlake.co.uk

THE DISAPPEARED STATIONS

* Cudworth Railway Station (1840-1968): the original Barnsley Railway Station until the more central facility opened 10 years later, Cudworth became briefly notorious in 1905 when seven people died in an express crash there.

* Neepsend Railway Station (1888 - 1940): situated close to where the Ski Village was later built, this sat on the Manchester-Sheffield-Lincolnshire line. It shut after a tramline extension to the suburb caused a loss of passengers.

* Oughty Bridge Railway Station (1845-1959): opened on the Sheffield, Ashton-under-Lyne and Manchester line close to Oughtibridge, the old station house is today a Grade II listed converted home.

* Sheffield Victoria Station (1851-1970): once Sheffield’s main station, this became secondary and eventually shut after the opening of Midland. Talk of being brought back into use for High Speed Rail.