Celebrate the days when trains were trains, individual expresses had their own character, serving their passengers in style in restaurant car, and connecting services ran over picturesque branch lines that were a very part of the countryside they served. Railway Season by David St John Thomas whose Country Railway sold an astonishing 170,000 copies, captures all our railway yesterdays with panache. This is indeed a railway book like no other, a portfolio of word portraits by an enthusiast who knows his subject intimately and is never at a loss for a telling example. From his imaginary but life-like 'Day in the life of a country terminus' to the ground-breaking stuff of the natural history of railways, and from the colourful history of excursions to a poignant reminder of what traffic used to be like on peak Summer Saturdays, an evocation of watching trains and a reminder of Christmases past, the book rolls irresistibly along ... and that only mentions a fraction of the chapters. Though this is not specifically a book about the country side inevitably it looms large since even intercity trains run through it ... as demonstrated in the chapter 'A country journey like no other', which also emphasizes the author's West Country background. But whatever your interest in railways and wherever your favourite part of the countryside, there is much here for you. The chapter on railways for pleasure perhaps sums it all up.
David St John Thomas was the author of many books, including a bestselling series chronicling the four big railway companies. He was the founder of the publishing house David & Charles, which he ran for 30 years.