Preserved lines
Playing trains or running a business?
in British railway enthusiasm
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James Kenward's 1937 novel The Manewood Line described local people resuscitating an abandoned branch line. In Britain, modern steam railways' birth generated huge and novel demands. Building and running these gigantic enterprises required vast capital resources. Though by 1960 the British railway preservation movement could flaunt only four lines: the Talyllyn, the Festiniog, the Middleton and the Bluebell. On the brutal bottom line all preserved railways are businesses. Running a small business efficiently means getting embroiled in the labour process. Located in prime holiday spots, the reborn Talyllyn and Festiniog railways could coin money from train services in a short summer season. The Middleton's antithesis, Bluebell trains trundled deeply rural rather than industrial territory, running through soft southern England rather than the flint-hard West Riding.


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