Of all the parts of the United Kingdom, South Wales was perhaps the most fiercely competitive area for the railway industry as both national companies, the Great Western, the Midland and the London & North Western, and local concerns, the Neath & Brecon and the Taff Vale, all sought to try and gain a share of the vast traffic generated annually by the coal mines of the valleys. The result of the competition between the companies was that a complex network of competing lines, often running parallel on opposite sides of the great valleys, was constructed. Much of this impressive network survived until the early 1960s when the rationalisation of the passenger network and the gradual decline of the coal industry saw many of these competing lines disappear. Although a number of photographers recorded the operation of steam in the Welsh Valleys and along the main line in mono, only a handful spent a considerable amount of time recording these scenes in colour. Amongst the most notable is Alan Jarvis, whose photographs first appeared in Ian Allan Publishing Ltd's 'The Heyday of Steam in South Wales' which was first published in 1996. This colourful new volume is a must-have read for all those who wish to recapture the beauty of these long lost lines and reflect on this important era in Welsh railway history.