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The Acquired Wagons of British Railways Vol 1 Fleet Composition and Brake Vans

David Larkin    [Publisher:  Crecy  2018]    Hardback    150 pages

A large format and well produced hardback, generally set out with two images per page, allowing photographs of individual items of stock to be reproduced to a good size. A general account of freight wagon developments on British Railways is followed by a detailed examination of brake vans from the big four companies as operated under the auspices of BR. The early sidelining of brake vans without duckets is explained and whilst several views I have seen before, there is sufficient new material to make me want to add this book to my collection. If I had a criticism, I think that a bit more work could have been put into the captions, for example the images from the late Ted West are invariably dated, but not so in all cases that they are used in this book. In fact, most captions are undated and maybe the whole production process has been a bit too relaxed, or perhaps I am just expecting too much.

The Acquired Wagons of British Railways Volume 2 All Steel Mineral Wagons

David Larkin    [Publisher:  Crecy  2019]    Hardback    144 pages

Following on from the brake vans in Volume 1, David here explains the origins and development of the various all steel mineral wagons that British Railways inherited at Nationalisation. An interesting collection of designs, including a large number of higher capacity wagons, many of which survived until late on the traditional railway. The illustrations are well chosen and show detail well, perfect for modellers I would say.

All About Iron Minks

J.H. Lewis M.E.M. Lloyd R.C. Metcalfe N.R. Miller    [Publisher:  HMRS  1980]    Softback    56 pages

Out of print for quite a few years now, I have just discovered a small stock of this treatise on the well known and much modelled "Iron Mink" of the Great Western Railway. I love this book, and considering it is a simple history have found myself going back to it several times over the years that I have owned my copy. One reason is the inclusion of really good quality scale drawings and a lucid account of the types development, including numbering, service records and details of their use as gunpowder vans. The rear cover includes a glorious picture of an iron mink bodied "Ferrocrete" van, which Ratio made such a nice model of in 4mm scale.

Barry Railway Drawings

Trefor Jones, Mike Morton Lloyd ans Rhobat Bryn Jones    [Publisher:  Welsh Rlys. Research Circle  2019]    Hardback    144 pages

A nicely produced hardback with glazed board covers, pretty much all there is to be known about Barry Railway rolling stock, including locomotives, coaches and wagons. Extensive numbering and numbering records, many photographs and an introduction to and system maps of the railway complete an interesting and attractive book.

BR Air-Braked Wagons In Colour

David Ratcliffe    [Publisher:  Ian Allan  2014]    Hardback    96 pages

A great pictorial reference on British Rail's air braked wagon stock, from the conversions of vacuum braked short wheelbase wagons to the specialist wagons of more recent years. The pictures are well reproduced, the subjects well lit, and detailed captions provide a good source of information on the wagon types and the traffic flows on which they were used.

British Railway Goods Wagons in Colour 1960-2003

Robert Hendry    [Publisher:  Ian Allan  2003]    Softback    96 pages

A large format all colour album of goods wagons, largely depicting developments in freight wagon design and freight handling practice that took place after the end of steam. The main strength of the book is in its depiction of fairly recent practice and equipment, split into sections according to traffic being handled, but the book includes some fascinating "throwbacks" to earlier eras in addition to a glimpse of operations over the Irish Sea.

British Railway Wagons 1980-2015

John Dedman    [Publisher:  Amberley Publishing  2016]    Softback    96 pages

A good and properly captioned colour album of wagons in service from 1980 up until now. Interesting in its own right, this is a very good reference for modellers and I would say that the colour reproduction has been done very well, the images are neither too dark or faded out and the colours look natural.

Carlisle's Crane Makers The Cowans Sheldon Story

Alan Earnshaw    [Publisher:  Crecy  2004]    Softback    72 pages

Set up as a "locomotive works" in 1864 by four former apprentices of George Stephenson, the firm of Cowans Sheldon went on to become one of the most important railway engineering firms in the World. Best known for its cranes, it also produced railway turntables, traversers and water columns all of which this book describes and illustrates to a good level of detail. A recent revival of the name and engineering activities provides a bit of light at the end of the story, but the strength of this book is in the detailed illustration of the rail mounted cranes of all sizes with which the firm's name is synonymous.

Civil Engineers Wagons Volume 3 Later British Rail 1978-1994

David Larkin    [Publisher:  Kestrel Publishing  2013]    Softback    92 pages

This book covers the last period when the British railway network made much sense, well into air braking and featuring some specialised and expensive kit but with a surprising number of much older survivors still in service.

Highland Railway Carriages And Wagons

Peter Tatlow    [Publisher:  Crecy  2014]    Hardback    200 pages

Produced in association with the Highland Railway Society and otherwise written by an established author with a lifelong interest in the subject, this book is likely to be both authoritative and definitive. I don't know enough myself to really judge, but reference in the text is properly made to earlier author's efforts and the book itself is a very fine piece of work. Apart from being a very well reproduced and well illustrated record as per its title, including the provision of comprehensive and clearly reproduced scale drawings, it is a very attractive book in its own right. As a great fan of wagons and an occasional builder of gauge one models of examples, I have to say that there are some really appealing subjects in this book - and that's coming from a Somerset and Dorset Railway enthusiast.

Industrial Wagons An Introduction

David Monk Steel    [Publisher:  Industrial Railway Society  2005]    Softback    100 pages

This book describes and illustrates some of the many types of industrial railway rolling stock that could be seen in Britain from the 1960s up until the present day. Each wagon has a clear photograph which provides enough information for modelling purposes, the wheels underframe and details of brake gear showing in nearly all cases. There are also several scale drawings included and it is fair to say that these cover more unusual wagon types that will have received less coverage in the past. They include two varieties of side tipping wagons, a Hudson tipper, several hopper types including a 10ton wooden "North Eastern" type and several fairly exotic steel industry wagon types. The book also includes a description of the industries still using rail transport at this relatively late stage together with a list of sites and the current status of their operations in an appendix.

LMS Wagons Volume 1

R.J. Essery    [Publisher:  Crecy  2010]    Softback    180 pages

A very welcome reprint of one of the OPC "standard works" that so changed the face of railway publishing thirty odd years ago. This has been a consistently hard to find title second hand and contains detailed information on the brake vans, vans and open wagons that formed the backbone of freight operations on the steam railway. The drawings, all reproduced to 4mm scale, are taken from diagram books and so generally show details of bodywork but not underframe detail but the photograhic coverage of each type is very well done. This doesn't match the quality current generation of wagon books by Wild Swan, or example, but is nonetheless an invaluable source for modellers and those interested in the subject and well worth the cover price.

Non-Pool Freight Stock 1948-1968 Volume 2

David Larkin    [Publisher:  Kestrel Publishing  2016]    Softback    90 pages

Covering privately owned and european vehicles, this second volume takes subjects alphabetically from I to Y and completes the review started with volume 1. The subject wagons are quite a varied collection, although tank wagon types probably predominate. The book is greatly enhanced by the inclusion of a number of superb images taken by the late Ted West, whose collection of photographs is now held and curated by Mike King. This book will form an excellent addition to the library of any self respecting wagon enthusiast.

Private Owner Wagons A Fifth Collection

Keith Turton    [Publisher:  Lightmoor  2006]    Hardback    184 pages

A fifth volume of a deservedly popular series, this one returns to presenting a general range of wagons and their operators based upon material which readers of the earlier boks in the series have provided. Over 60 operators represented by 170 photographs, with northern coal wagons predominating. There are also some additional notes and photos relating to earlier volumes in the series.

Private Owner Wagons A Fourteenth Collection

Keith Turton    [Publisher:  Lightmoor  2016]    Hardback    152 pages

Like "James Bond" and that dreadful Potter farrago, this series just keeps on coming. Despite the author's protestation that this is a "final collection" Ian "Cubby" Pope has refrained from adding any such notion to the title and hints at future titles in the series. Perhaps a suitable subtitle is "Never say Never", which leaves me wondering who will be Roger Moore to Keith Turton's Sean Connery. Still, at least it isn't being written by J.K. Rowling, no disrespect, and it all goes to prove you can't keep a good wagon down I still haven't said anything about the book, which is another jolly good collection of PO wagon photographs and information.

Private Owner Wagons A Fourth Collection Welsh Anthracite

Keith Turton    [Publisher:  Lightmoor  2005]    Hardback    184 pages

Anthracite "The King of Coals", a high carbon content, slow burning coal whose lack of arsenic and other impurities made it an essential supply for brewing, malting and food production. Mined in a small area of South Wales, the usually black wagons of anthracite were consequently seen all over the British railway system, often as a single truck consignment to out of the way places. The photographic coverage is excellent, a charming view on p71 shows a single wagon being unloaded on the Sheppey Light Railway whilst the frontispiece is a dramatic view of number taking which shows in incomparable detail the construction and lettering of a typical wagon. I am currently building a Slaters kit which will be lettered with their "Ystradgynlais" transfers for the boiler house of the "National Fruit and Cider Institute" at Butleigh station.

Private Owner Wagons A Ninth Collection

Keith Turton    [Publisher:  Lightmoor  2010]    Hardback    160 pages

Most of the images in this latest volume of this excellent series have come to light through the author's further researches into more obscure sources, resulting in a collection of more than average variety, obscurity and antiquity. A particularly fascinating aspect to me is the inclusion of some contractors' wagons, including a superb shot of "Topham Jones and Railton" wagons on the Swansea East Dock contract.

Private Owner Wagons A Seventh Collection

Keith Turton    [Publisher:  Lightmoor  2008]    Hardback    160 pages

Another in the very successful series established by Keith Turton, pretty much more of the same formula and just as visually appealing and historically fascinating as ever. There are a good number of specialist wagons depicted, including several tank wagons and an unusual low steel bodied open for the Scatter Rock Quarries of Christow. The glimpses of lost industry provided by the images in this book look increasingly like life on another planet to these 21st Century eyes, favourite amongst these must be Stanley Colliery yard in 1940 on page 71. This is another great book in a deservedly popular series.

Private Owner Wagons of Bristol and District

Ian Pope    [Publisher:  Lightmoor  2009]    Hardback    128 pages

The City of Bristol has had a long industrial history so the wagons featured in this absorbing book cover a number of industries beyond the usual plethora of coal merchants. Most notable amongst these are the chemical industries that grew up at Avonmouth and tank wagons of all shapes and sizes are consequently well featured. As ever with this series and publisher, brief notes are as far as possible given for each owner and there are undoubtedly a few photographic gems within the covers of this book.

Private Owner Wagons of Gloucestershire

Ian Pope    [Publisher:  Lightmoor  2006]    Hardback    240 pages

Covering the private owner wagons operated by businesses and coal merchants north of Bristol, this terrific book takes us on a logical tour around the county along its various railway routes, starting from the city of Gloucester. Owners include the Gloucester Railway Carriage and Wagon works itself, the Corporation and even a beehive manufacturer, amongst many others. The illustrations are very well reproduced and alongside the wagons themselves reveal fascinating details of businesses, their premises and railway infrastructure. A further volume is being prepared for South Gloucestershire.

Private Owner Wagons Of Somerset

Ricard Kelham    [Publisher:  Lightmoor  2014]    Hardback    240 pages

As the author states in his introduction, research for this book started thirty years ago and although work on it can hardly have been continuous I know enough about the subject and localities already to stick my neck out and state that this is a thoroughly researched and hugely informative record of its subject. It is an admirable record and account of actual wagons, including more and better pictures of wagons and their liveries than one could reasonably expect at this remove in time, and the details of the owning and operating companies and individuals are very well done too. As if that were not enough there is also a wealth of detail on the collieries of Somerset, including large scale Ordnance Survey map extracts showing surface plans and connecting railways and a lot of photographs which in some cases show extraordinary levels of detail. Stand out images for me (all reproduced across a full page) are a panorama of the sidings at Radstock S&D (p81) a stunning picture of Dunkerton sidings complete with operating Peckett (p36) and Vobster Stoneworks (p174). Another thing this book illustrates with several pictorially brilliant examples is what private owner wagons looked like after pooling and the Second World War. All in all this book is everything that I had hoped it would be and will without doubt become one of the all time classic works of railway reference.

Railway Snowploughs In The North East

David & Claire Williamson    [Publisher:  North Eastern Rly. Association  2014]    Softback    88 pages

Well produced, well illustrated and with several very good general arrangement drawings, this is an excellent reference work on a hitherto neglected subject. Perfect for modellers but also a record of the deployment and operation of snow fighting equipment in the North East.

Southern Wagons In Colour

Mike King    [Publisher:  Crecy  2014]    Softback    112 pages

Drawing largely from the extensive colour photograph collection of Mike Rhodes, this is a first class pictorial record of Southern Railway wagons as they appeared in service with BR. Written and put together by Mike King, a very knowledgeable enthusiast for the subject, the text and captions are detailed and informative. Photographs are largely post 1960 but nonetheless cover a remarkable variety of vehicles from earlier eras and include a lot of useful (for modellers) views of brake gear, bodywork details and methods of loading. The vast majority of views depict wagons in BR service, those that aren't are in "unrestored" preservation or as running on subsequent users lines, for example ports and military establishments. In my opinion this is by far and away the best colour record of (any) wagon stock that has yet been published. The printing and reproduction (importantly including the "naturalness" of the colours) are in my opinion beyond criticism and modellers who wish to weather their rolling stock (of whatever company) will find this book truly useful. I took a copy home for my collection on the day it arrived in the shop - brilliant!

Wagons of the Early British Rail Era 1969-1982

David Larkin    [Publisher:  Kestrel Publishing  2009]    Softback    88 pages

Covering the British Rail era from 1969 which saw the introduction of TOPS, the air braked "speedlink" network and the last throes of modifications to the ageing traditional wagon stock, many of which staggered on incredibly late in the day.

Wagons of the Final Years of British Railways 1962-1968

David Larkin    [Publisher:  Kestrel Publishing  2008]    Softback    88 pages

The author continues the story of freight wagon development in the same style as in the earlier volumes in this series, here covering the last few years of the building of traditional vacuum braked stock. By 1962 most of the wagons envisaged by the modernisation plan had been completed and much of what was produced was rebuilding and updating of earlier designs, together with a few specialist designs and attempts to adapt rail freight to more modern modes of materials handling. A doomed effort in most cases.

Working Wagons Volume 1 1968 - 1973

David Larkin    [Publisher:  Santona  1999]    Softback    96 pages

Large format clear photographs of BR wagons in revenue earning service, together with copious notes and backgrounds to all the wagon types illustrated. Still a very traditional scene in the period under review, although a lot of the older pre nationalisation wagon types had by now gone. An enjoyable bonus in this book is the personal and amusing account of Davids interest in the subject and the techniques he employed to pursue wagons up and down the country - we are fortunate that he was so determined and successful.

Working Wagons Volume 3 1980 - 1984

David Larkin    [Publisher:  Santona  2001]    Softback    96 pages

The third and penultimate volume in David's review of the freight wagon on British Railways, covering the period from 1980 to 1984. Very clear photographs coupled with an insight into the business behind the wagons remain the hallmark of this series, all well produced in an A4 format on art paper.

Working Wagons Volume 4 1985 -1992

David Larkin    [Publisher:  Santona  2002]    Softback    96 pages

The concluding volume of this knowledgable author's account of British Railways freight wagons takes the story up to privatisation, when the author "put down his camera". The photographs are well taken and clear, providing ideal reference for modelling, and David also gives us an insider's view of the changes in freight on the railways during the last period when the railway system "ascribed to being a public service industry".