From the early years of the 20th century onwards, the railway industry was among the most important sectors of the British economy to investigate and develop the use of road transport for both passenger and freight traffic. The factors behind this involvement were varied, but included the fact that as 'Common Carrier' the railways were legally obligated to carry all freight and, therefore, needed to be able to shift goods and materials from factory to freight yard and vice versa. There was also an increasing awareness that, as the population shifted, no longer would it be cost-effective or profitable to continue to expand the railway endlessly and that buses, even the most primitive types available at the time, represented a useful means of linking small villages to the nearest railway station. The GWR was at the forefront of these developments, and by the time it had disappeared as a separate entity in 1948 has amassed a large fleet of road transport vehicles, both for passenger and freight traffic. Philip Kelley undertook years of research to compile the material that was originally published by OPC in two volumes over 20 years ago.
Now, much more information concerning these vehicles has come to light, and this all-new book is the result. Incorporating material from the earlier two books, but with all information expanded and reinterpreted, this will now become the definitive guide to the subject. Full of photographs, line drawings and other reference material for modellers and historians, this is an excellent addition to OPC's extensive range of books on the GWR.
Philip Kelley lives in Devizes, Wiltshire. Now retired, he worked in the railway industry as a photographer and helped to record the fascinating architectural heritage that the Western Region inherited from the GWR. His photographs have appeared in numerous books over the years and he has had several books published by OPC.