In 1947 the Great Western Railway (GWR) was at the lowest ebb of its entire history. Worn out by war, there had been no maintenance for 6 years and the government couldn’t supply the steel they needed for repair. The staff coped with rationing, a desperately cold winter and blazing hot summer, and dealt with floods, collisions, broken rails, and failing locomotives. The incredible strength of character and can-do attitude of GWR workers kept the railway running through it all. This history, drawn from GWR papers, reveals the everyday details and the problems and difficulties the staff faced. Above all it shows how well they overcame their problems with only muscle power and a steam crane to help—and, of course, no health and safety regulations and arguments to slow them down.
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