Of the three major companies that came together to form the Southern Railway in 1923, the London & South Western Railway was by far the largest in terms of geographical spread, serving as it did much of southern and southwestern England. From its impressive terminus at Waterloo, suburban and express services passed through the Metropolitan outskirts before the latter headed towards Hampshire, Dorset, Wiltshire, Somerset, Devon and Cornwall. A pioneer in the use of electric traction, much of its suburban network had been electrified before 1923, while at the other extreme, there were still locomotives operational in Cornwall in 1923 that were already 50 years old. For many, the LSWR came to represent the holiday season, serving as it did many of the coastal resorts of the region, such as Bournemouth, Weymouth, Padstow, Bude and Ilfracombe. For the enthusiast, the LSWR produced some of the most stylish locomotive designs of the period; the classic lines of the 'T9' 4-4-0 for example, or the more unusual Beattle well tanks. A railway is, however, more than just its locomotives.
It is also the stations, the staff, the carriages and wagons, the tunnels and viaducts, the signalling and much else. For a modeller, seeking to recreate the past, information on these various aspects is as essential to completing a project as information about locomotive numbers and names. In his latest book for Ian Allan Publishing, John Scott Morgan, who has collected an astonishing collection of photographs featuring the LSWR over the years, has selected his own and other archives to provide a pictorial record of the LSWR in the period leading up to the Grouping in 1923. The book covers the full range of LSWR activity, including signalling and operations, providing readers with a pictorial record of one of the most important of the pre-Grouping companies.
John Scott Morgan lives in Woking in Surrey. A well respected railway historian and author, he has compiled a number of well-received books over the years, including, for Ian Allan Publishing, Colonel Stephens Railway: A View from the Past and most recently, Maunsell Locomotives.