Commuter City: How the Railways Shaped London, David Wragg

Commuter City: How the Railways Shaped London, David Wragg

This book falls outside our normal subject matter, looking at the development of the railways in London and the impact they had on the city. Two chapters are directly relevant to military history, the two that cover the World Wars.

These two chapters do rather nicely illustrate the dramatic change that took place between the two wars. In the Great War the main impact came from an unexpected level of government control and the disruption caused by troops trains.

In contrast the Second World War caused a great deal of disruption and damage to the railways. Surface and Underground lines were both vulnerable to bomb damage and even the deep lines weren't entirely safe. The Tube was also famously used as a massive bomb shelter. The war also had a less obvious impact - a lack of staff meant that trains and stations became increasingly shabby. This and the wider impact of the war played a part in the eventually nationalisation of the railways.  

1 - The Great Wen
2 - The Railway Age Arrives in London
3 - Railway Mania and the Great Exhibition
4 - Regulation Catches up with the Railways
5 - The Mainline System is Completed
6 - Making Roads Down to Hell - The Underground
7 - Victorian Dynamism
8 - The Threat of the Tram
9 - La Belle Epoche
10 - The Great War
11 - Grouping and Recession
12 - London's Transport
13 - Electrification and the Long Distance Commuter
14 - The Second World War
15 - Austerity and Nationalisation
16 - Rationalising the Railway
17 - Expansion and Contraction
18 - Sectorisation and Privatisation
19 - The Future

Author: David Wragg
Edition: Hardcover
Pages: 296
Publisher: Wharncliffe Books
Year: 2010

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