The 1896 Light Railways Act - the law that made heritage railways possible


The 1896 Light Railways Act – the law that made heritage railways possible explores the enduring impact of the 1896 Light Railways Act which was designed to speed up the official procedures for gaining approval to construct a railway line. Originally intended to lapse in 1901, it was extended instead, and somehow stayed on the statute books long after is use had ceased. Then, in the 1960s, groups of steam railway enthusiasts recognised it as a possible means of gaining approval to re-open stretches of railway lines which had been closed by Dr. Beeching and keep the steam dream alive. More than half a century later, some of these restored lines have already celebrated their golden jubilees, and their popularity continues to grow. Thanks to the unintended consequence of that 1896 Act, each new generation since Beeching has had – and will continue to have – the opportunity to enjoy the magic of steam trains. 


The 96-page book, illustrated in colour throughout with a mixture of modern photography and Edwardian images, is published in softback by Amberley Publishing price £14.99.


The Gas Tramcar – an idea ahead of its time is published in hardback by Pen & Sword Transport, price £35.00


The last few copies of The Victorian Photographs of Dr Thomas Keith and John Forbes White are available in hardback direct from the author at half price – £10 plus P&P. Use Contacts Page to order.

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All images and text © John Hannavy