A NEW book has been published to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the end of steam on the Southern Region of British Railways.

The author is Winchester-based Paul Cooper who as a teenager photographed the final days of steam.

The book is a stunning collection of colour and black and white images taken between 1964 and July 9 1967, the final day.

Besides his own images, Paul has assembled previously unpublished pictures including the work of Ken Vernon whose recently rediscovered high quality colour images were taken on a then ‘state of the art’ Rolleiflex camera.

To mark the publication, he will be signing copies at Alresford station on the Mid Hants Railway/Watercress Line on the July 1-2 when the railway will be holding a special summer gala to commemorate the end of Southern steam in July 1967.

The event will see many of the types of locomotives featured in the pages Southern Steam Swansong in action on this popular heritage line running between Alton and Alresford.

Paul explained the unique selling point of the book that "the pictures of my own that are included were all taken before I was 17 years of age and the others are largely superb high quality large format colour pictures I acquired recently from the estate of a railway enthusiast that have never been published before.

"Additionally I have some pictures/anecdotes from the surviving drivers/firemen of that era including a photo of the speedometer of a heavily loaded passenger train exceeding 100mph on the descent to Winchester from Litchfield. The line speed maximum was 85mph but at least one train was recorded at 106mph – quite some feat for locomotives on their last legs heading a 500t passenger train."

l Southern Steam Swansong, by Paul Cooper Crécy Publishing .