Sorely neglected by railway authors, the line between Bristol and Taunton was part of the Bristol & Exeter Railway.
A fascinating line, it was built to serve a moribund coalfield and a grand harbour scheme which proved a dismal failure.
The line had many interesting features: two short dock branches, one of which had a telescopic bridge; several industrial concerns with their own locomotives; vital wartime factories; the busy holiday and excursion traffic to Weston super Mare requiring a special station.Wind strength had its effect on the railway because on the horse-worked Weston super Mare branch, when an adverse wind blew, it was quicker to get out and walk.
The line has had more than its fair share of accidents and mishaps.
The B&ER favoured express tank locomotives, some magnificent specimens having 9-foot-diameter flangeless driving wheels.
The human side is not ignored: there are details of navvies lives and deaths; of a spat between Brunel and his resident engineer and the daring robbery of a mail train.
Colin G. Maggs, one of the country's leading railway historians, covers all these details and more in this gripping and well-researched story illustrated with over 200 images.