The Southern’s Withered Arm


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‘Withered Arm’ is a look at the Southern branch lines west of Salisbury and west of Exeter. There can be few who do not lament the passing of the numerous branch, main and cross country lines especially those in Devon and Cornwall with today just three short branch stubs remaining of what was once the truly expansive Southern network west of Salisbury and then west of Exeter. Author Alan Butcher comes with an intimate knowledge of several of the lines featured and so talks with authority on the routes, stations, features and locomotives used in what was the final years of operation from the mid 1950s onwards. Not only did the routes close during this time but so did many types of steam engine disappear, but examples of the Adams Radial and E1R classes are seen at work as well as Bulleid Pacifics on short length trains – the justification for which continues to be debated 50 years on. Using material from several archives including that of R C Riley, Peter Gray and Roy Vincent, this is a collection to truly savour