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, will be published in softback by Amberley Publishing 0n 15 August 2019 price £14.99.



The Victorian Photographs of Dr. Thomas Keith and John Forbes White is still available from John Hannavy Publishing, the remaining hardback copies now reduced to half price, just £10.00 + P&P

To order a copy, use the Contacts page.


Published by PiXZ/Halsgrove in October 2017, price £9.99, is  Edwardian Railways in Postcards a celebration both of the railways themselves and of the art of the postcard photographers, colourists and publishers. Click on the book cover, below to log on to where you can see all of John Hannavy's currently available books. 

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All images and text © John Hannavy