The Dursley Railway: The Life and Times of a Cotswold Branchline by Peter Morris book cover

The Dursley Railway

The Life and Times of a Cotswold Branchline (1854–1970)

By Peter Morris

  • Published: 19 January 2022
  • ISBN: 978-1909370104
  • Format(s): Paperback | Hardcover
  • Length: 433 pages

About the Book

In 1854, a handful of Gloucestershire businessmen and mill-owners decided to build and operate their own railway—one that would run passenger and freight services from the market-town of Dursley to a junction with the Bristol-Gloucester mainline near the village of Coaley.

The Dursley & Midland Junction Railway opened to the public in September 1856 but within a year, its presiding company had fallen into trading difficulties. The Midland Railway—who were already heavily invested in the project—purchased the railway outright and ran it successfully for the following one hundred years.

In his book, The Dursley Railway, Peter Morris recalls his time growing-up next to this fascinating and much-loved branchline. His research into the history of the railway will fascinate both railway enthusiasts and local historians alike. Featuring over 160 photographs and thousands of historical references, this meticulously researched publication includes details of the railway’s infrastructure, its workers, the locomotives that operated on it, and presents a human account of how the railway transformed the social and economic lives of so many people and local businesses.


  • A short history of Dursley Including the Rise and Fall of the Local Wool Industries
  • Arrival of the Railways in Gloucestershire and the Construction of the Dursley Branchline
  • Death, Disaster and Calamity on the Line
  • Branchline Motive Power, Operation, Staff and Freight Services
  • History of R. A. Lister Factory and its use of the Local Railway
  • Development of Dursley Tourism with Rail Excursions, Day-Trips and Special Trains

With hundreds of images and thousands of references this book will appeal to railway enthusiasts and local historians alike.

Book Contents

  • Introduction
  • 1. Dursley and the Arrival of the Railways
  • 2. Dursley & Midland Junction Railway Company
  • 3. Early Years of the Dursley Railway
  • 4. Midland Railway Company Takeover
  • 5. Dursley Branch Operation
  • 6. Motive Power
  • 7. Workers’ Duties and rates of Pay
  • 8. Branch Stations and Passenger Services
  • 9. Parcels, Goods and Freight Services
  • 10. The Dark Side of Dursley Railway
  • 11. Special Excursions
  • 12. Chartered Trains
  • 13. Day-Trips to Dursley
  • 14. Social and Economic Revival (1862–1930)
  • 15. R. A. List and the Dursley Railway
  • Additional Notes
  • Recommended Reading
  • Index

Sample Pages

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About the Author

Photo of Author Peter Morris

Peter Morris is a historian and esoteric researcher.

Peter has studied history, metaphysics, spirituality and the paranormal for over 35 years. He has written articles for The Dursley Lantern, Gloucestershire Earth Mysteries/3rd Stone and Un-X Magazine.