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This new atlas compares the railway network in Ireland in 1920 with the network today. It is produced by the same authors as the successful Railway Atlas Then & Now which covers the railways in Britain and will follow the same layout and design which shows the historical map on one page and the current map on the facing page for comparison. As in Britain, the Irish railway network was built in the 19th century by numerous independent railway companies. Many of these were speculative ventures and served underpopulated rural areas and many were gradually taken over by larger railway groups. The main lines were split between eight major companies but there were numerous other smaller companies that maintained their independence but many, however, failed to generate their predicted revenue. 1920 was the peak year in the Irish railway network but the civil war and partition that followed that decade had a severe impact on the railways. Traffic declined still further during World War 2 and during the 1950s and 1960s swathes of the railway network were closed so that today's network is only about half the size of that in 1920. The railways were built to a variety of gauges and the atlas will include the narrow gauge passenger railways as well as those built to the standard gauge in Ireland. The maps will be supplemented by historical photographs and a potted history of each line, with a timeline. There has long been an interest in Irish railways among British railway enthusiasts as well as those based in Ireland and this book will be a worthy addition to Ian Allan's unrivalled library of railway atlases, providing a comprehensive historical record of the changes in the railway system in Ireland.
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