DESPITE being one of the best-known and admired rail companies in the country, by 1947 the GWR was at the lowest ebb of its entire history. Worn out by war, there had been no maintenance for six years and the government couldn’t supply the steel it needed for repair. The latter half of the 1940s presented a multitude of challenges to overcome, some due to the recent war and others individual to the GWR: the staff coped with rationing, a desperately cold winter and a blazing hot summer, and dealt with floods, collisions, broken rails and failing locomotives. The incredible strength of character and can-do attitude of GWR workers kept the railway running through it all. This history, taken from GWR papers and illustrated from them throughout, reveals the details of every day, as well as the problems and difficulties the staff faced. Above all, it shows how well they overcame their problems with only muscle power and a steam crane to help – and, of course, no health and safety regulations and arguments to slow them down. Adrian Vaughan’s unique history of this famous rail company shows just how special the GWR was right through to the end of its very last year.