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Peter & Ginny Barnfield, Wes Magee [Publisher: Wild Swan 2017] Softback 64 pages
A visually stunning photographic record of the quarry at Aberllefenni, recorded by Peter Barnfield in the hot summer of 1976. At this time the narrow gauge railway was still being used to transport slate down to the cutting shed in the village, trains being hauled along the line by an old tractor. Peter was quite taken with this and there are a lot of pictures of both the railway operation and the rolling stock and trackwork used, all of which will appeal to enthusiasts and modellers of the narrow gauge. The book also features poetry from Wes Magee, written at the time and not suffering from "tweeness" - a first for Wild Swan I think?
Stanley C. Jenkins and Roger Carpenter [Publisher: Wild Swan 2005] Softback 100 pages
A delightful portrait of the six mile branch that connected the Midland's cross country line at Alcester with the Great Western's route to Stratford Upon Avon at Bearley. Originating in the 1860s the line wasn't built until over a decae later when the two companies at either end of the route agreed an uneasy truce to allow its operation. This was one of those minor routes that was shut down in both World Wars as an economy measure but somehow managed to survive for freight until 1951, with a couple of miles surviving into 1960 for wagon storage. Not quite as exhaustively comprehensive in its photographic coverage as some books owing to the obscurity of the subject, this book nonetheless allows more than a glimpse of a charming rural railway.
William Hemmings [Publisher: Wild Swan 2004] Hardback 200 pages
William Hemings, Paul Karau and Chris Turner [Publisher: Wild Swan 2004] Hardback 170 pages
Richard Foster [Publisher: Wild Swan 1997] Softback 126 pages
Including the earlier "Curzon Street" station, latterly used as a goods station, this is a readable and wide ranging description and examination of the railways and their operation in and around Birmingham. Photographic coverage is excellent and nearly forty pages are devoted to the freight operation, a fascinating subject in its own right but especially so in Britain's "second city". This is an under rated book I think, also including a section on train control.
Roger Simmonds and Kevin Robertson [Publisher: Wild Swan 1986] Softback 92 pages
Running from Botley on the Eastleigh to Fareham line, this little known LSWR branch survived in freight only guise until 1962, latterly becoming the haunt of Ivatt tank locomotives. This book provides comprehensive photographic coverage of the line including fascinating views of repairing a landslide in 1936.
Mike Fenton [Publisher: Wild Swan 1999] Hardback 218 pages
A really beautiful book, a superlatively well illustrated record of the Great Western's camping coach scheme before the war. The author has undertaken an enormous amount of research to produce this account, meeting and getting to know many folk who took such holidays in this period, and the result is a warm and personal record of life in the 1930s. The photographs are largely from personal collections, and contain a surprisingly large amount of detail and information of railway interest. I think that this is railway publishing at its very best, and all credit is due to the author and his publishers for producing such a valuable and charming book.
C. C. Green [Publisher: Wild Swan 1993] Hardback 282 pages
Covering the line from Machynlleth to Aberystywth, there are just a few copies left of this magnificent book from the late Rick Green, a great enthusiast for all things Cambrian.
Paul Karau & Chris Turner [Publisher: Wild Swan 1998] Hardback 240 pages
Subtitled "The Story Of The Line From 1872 To 1961", this has got to be the ultimate branch line history book of all time. The Watlington Branch is Paul Karau's favourite branch line, and he has amassed a truly staggering collection of photographs, plans and facts about it. The book is a beautifully crafted piece of work, and as you will by now expect from this publisher, the story and presentation encompasses much more than just the railway. The characters, countryside and customers are all included in this lovely book.
R.J. Esssery [Publisher: Wild Swan 2008] Softback 144 pages
The first of three volumes, published simultaneously, which record the railway scene in the West Midlands as seen through the camera of Dennis John Norton. Possessing an official lineside pass, his rather liberal interpretation of "lineside" resulted in an outstanding and unusual record of the subjects he chose to photograph. This apart, he was one of the relatively few railway photographers who recorded infrastructure as well as the trains, often at times of significant change or unusual activity. This first volume covers the LMS western division lines, starting with Coventry and New Street and going through to Dudley and Lichfield.
R.J. Essery [Publisher: Wild Swan 2008] Softback 112 pages
The final volume of three, which record the railway scene in the West Midlands as seen through the camera of the late Dennis John Norton. Possessing an official lineside pass, his rather liberal interpretation of "lineside" resulted in an outstanding and unusual record of the subjects he chose to photograph. This apart, he was one of the relatively few railway photographers who recorded infrastructure as well as the trains, often at times of significant change or unusual activity. The time period covered is up until 1965 when he sadly died prematurely from an asthma attack. This final volume covers the Birmingham and Gloucester Railway and the later lines connected to it.
R.J. Essery [Publisher: Wild Swan 2008] Softback 112 pages
The second of three volumes, published simultaneously, which record the railway scene in the West Midlands as seen through the camera of Dennis John Norton. Possessing an official lineside pass, his rather liberal interpretation of "lineside" resulted in an outstanding and unusual record of the subjects he chose to photograph. This apart, he was one of the relatively few railway photographers who recorded infrastructure as well as the trains, often at times of significant change or unusual activity. This second volume covers the former Birmingham and Derby Junction Railway lines and later lines connecting to it.
Norris, Beale and Lewis [Publisher: Wild Swan 1987] Hardback 208 pages
A collection of well illustrated essays describing and illustrating a period of great expansion on the Great Western Railway, the time when the network was finally completed by the construction of high speed or more direct routes and cut offs all over the system. Many other developments are featured, from electric suburban workings through "auto trains" to major new freight facilities. Canons Marsh goods depot in Bristol is shown when new and in use, very different to its current rather strange appearance as part of a recent redevelopment.
Brian Hart [Publisher: Wild Swan 2015] Hardback 300 pages
A much enlarged edition of an early Wild Swan title, Brian's usual delightful mix of social and railway history, recounting the fascinating story of a by now obscure line that was built as a main route along the battle lines between two warring Victorian railway companies. Subsequently settling down into a single track existence it then burned bright in the last World War (literally) before closing in 1946. Beautifully illustrated and containing extraordinary detail at this great remove in time, this lovely book is a real "tour de force" even by Brian's high standards.
Brian Hart [Publisher: Wild Swan 2002] Softback 94 pages
Another superlative production from this most reliable of publishers, beautifully put together and laid out, and a real pleasure to handle and read. The author has a deep knowledge and affection for the Folkestone and its railways, being born there in 1949 and getting to know the steam age railway and its personalities well. This book details the story of the railway's construction and development up until 1960, and covers the harbour branch and main line developments equally well. The photographic content is excellent, with much of Pre-Grouping interest being evident in addition to a few charming snaps from the Hart family album - wonderful.
Ian Pope and Paul Karau [Publisher: Wild Swan 1992] Hardback 234 pages
A major work of reference and a beautifully illustrated book, covering the Newnham to Cinderford lines of the Great Western and all the associated industrial sidings, quarries and coal mines. The pictures are frequently stunning, and the coverage of coal mining in the area is very well done, including underground photographs, details of coal workings and of course all of the railway facilities and organisation.
Ian Pope and Paul Karau [Publisher: Wild Swan 1997] Hardback 200 pages
Continuing on from volume 1, this beautiful book covers the Great Western's routes north of Bilson and the Churchway and the Whimsey branches. Extensively illustrated with a wide range of photographs, it includes comprehensive coverage of the coal mining and other industries which led to so much railway development in this small area. There are comprehensive plans and maps, including full signalling diagrams of stations and sidings.
W.H. Smith [Publisher: Wild Swan 2002] Softback 136 pages
A most welcome reprint of one of Wild Swan's best ever books, first published in 1993 and out of print shortly thereafter. The subject was highly photogenic and consequently quite well covered by photographers of the day, but what sets this book apart are the photographs taken by the late Charlie Smith. Charlie was a driver on the line who sometimes took his camera to work, and the details and character that he captured with it are truly remarkable. The author and his collaborators have done a superb job of presenting the material and also include the whole story of the line's promotion, construction and demise, building upon and paying due tribute to Mowat's earlier history. This is an inspiringly beautiful book and a model of just how very good a branch line history can be.
Geoff Goslin [Publisher: Wild Swan 2002] Softback 112 pages
Much has been written about passenger train operation over the years, whilst the less glamorous goods side of things has been rather overlooked, despite being the prime source of income to most railways in the days when they "paid their way". For the LNER at least, this book seeks to redress the balance, although the coverage has had to be selective owing to the large size of the subject. Starting with a survey of locomotive types, contrasting geographical goods areas and their traffics and services are then examined in more detail. Well illustrated throughout, the result is a reminder of the enormous scale of the operation in the days when everything went by rail.
John Hodge [Publisher: Wild Swan 1999] Hardback 92 pages
Definitely one for the Great Western fans amongst us, a classic album of trains, mainly taken during the zenith of steam on the South Wales and West of England main lines. There is particularly good coverage of South Wales, and train compositions are shown to good effect.
Sue Sterndale [Publisher: Wild Swan 2006] Hardback 102 pages
Tony Sterndale worked in the drawing office of Swindon Works in the late 1940s and photographed locomotives old and new, both in the works and on the nearby main lines. The result is a unique insiders view of much of the locomotive changes taking place at the time together with the wider activities undertaken at Swindon Works. The images are all of high quality and well printed, generally "loco-centric" but depicting their subjects, many of which are delightfully humble and obscure, in wonderful detail.
Tony Atkins [Publisher: Wild Swan 2007] Softback 180 pages
A much more pictorial book than part one which introduced the subject, and surely the best yet published pictorial reference of the era when railways were true common carriers. In detail the book first covers depots and their work in general terms, wagon categories and transfer before going on to describe London area depots in detail. There are any number of really interesting and informative views in this book, personal favourites include the Park Royal estate railway, the Guinness works and the incredible system of wagon turntables under Smithfield Market. An invaluable reference for those interested in the handling of freight in the railway age, whatever one's company prefences may be.
Tony Atkins [Publisher: Wild Swan 2010] Softback 199 pages
This, the third of a series of three, cover goods yards and their operation and is far and away the most pictorial of the series so far. It covers all of the Bristol, Birmingham and Cardiff area depots in detail in addition to Ross on Wye to represent one of the many smaller depots. A final chapter details various improvements across the system and features very good detailed pictures of improving and evolving freight facilities. These include two cracking views of the new (1906) facilities at Bath and loading china clay directly from lorry to wagon at St Austell in 1931, amongst much else. Details of station truck working over several time periods and also direct wagons being run on a regular basis in 1923 further illustrate the complexity of freight operations being run - and all done without computers.
Tony Atkins and David Hyde [Publisher: Wild Swan 2000] Softback 142 pages
As this is the first book of what will be a series, covering the subject in considerable detail, it is a little more "wordy" than one might expect. Do not let this put you off however - it is well worth reading. It sets out the historical background and technical details of the subject before moving on to describe the different sources of traffic across all of the company's goods districts. The photographs included are of considerable interest, showing many facilities and aspects of goods handling in great detail and, amongst other views there is an "Aberdare" hauled goods (including an LSWR van) passing through Bath before Oldfield Park halt was built. It is strangely uncredited as such and appears on page 59. I am very much looking forward to future volumes, and the publisher and authors are to be applauded for shedding light into a fascinating but neglected part of british railway history.
Brian Hart [Publisher: Wild Swan 2000] Hardback 252 pages
An immaculately well written and beautifully presented book on an exceptionally pretty branch line which ran for thirteen miles or so across the Weald from Paddock Wood on the Kent Coast main line. The whole story is recorded in exquisite and minute detail, from surveying and construction through the inaugural train to the "last rites", and there is even a chapter devoted to the hop - pickers and their special trains. Full scale drawings and plans of all buildings are included, as are track and signalling diagrams and the wonderful photographs cover every conceivable detail of the railway line - this is as good as it gets.
Brian Hart [Publisher: Wild Swan 1987] Hardback 168 pages
A beautifuly written and produced book on one of the shortest branches on the South Eastern Railway. Built with double track and Continental aspirations, it was latterly truncated and singled and closed as early as 1951. Comprehensive photographs, track plans and scale drawings are included and there is a fascinating "bonus section" covering the Hythe and Sandgate Tramway and its travails.
Brian Hart [Publisher: Wild Swan 2009] Hardback 282 pages
A well researched and well written account of the development and operation of Colonel Stephens' favourite railway up until closure by BR in 1961. It is also a beautiful record of an era and world that has entirely vanished - a real light railway publishing tour de force.
Roger Carpenter [Publisher: Wild Swan 1988] Softback 48 pages
Still in print after 10 years, this little book is worth a second look. Photographs taken by a platelayer called Thomas Hinckley, the subjects are mainly locomotives photographed at Bescot, Walsall and New Street. There are some lovely shots, I particularly liked the Special tank on page 13, no cab but a bent footplate, and the saloon and carriage truck on page 45, both of them wonderfully archaic looking vehicles.
Gerry Beale [Publisher: Wild Swan 2000] Hardback 220 pages
A comprehensive and fully illustrated history of this delightful branch line, mainly as developed and operated under the auspices of the Great Western and British Railways. Being a picturesque line in a popular holiday area, the branch has attracted the attentions of various photographers over the years and this book is consequently very well illustrated. The earlier years and mineral workings north of Moorswater are also touched upon and illustrated, as are the various items of rolling stock used over the line. There are also a number of useful scale drawings together with detailed maps and track plans of use to modellers.
V. R. Anderson & H. N. Twells [Publisher: Wild Swan 2007] Softback 112 pages
Subtitled "An LMS Journal Handbook", this covers the multiplicity of stations and station styles that the LMS inherited, with sub sections covering footbridges, lamps and station nameboards. A treasure trove of architectural styles and great modelling inspiration.
V.R. Anderson & H.N. Twells [Publisher: Wild Swan 2009] Softback 102 pages
This volume covers railway signage, timetables, poster boards platform numbering, seats and trolleys. Numerous photographs from across the whole LMS system and dimensioned drawings of each sort of fitting will enable modelers to detail their miniature worlds in appropriate style, whilst others will be entertained by a slightly "sideways" look at the old LMS. Fittings covered are not just the LMS designs but also those of the constituent companies, even down to a few bits on the S&D.
Mike Fenton [Publisher: Wild Swan 1990] Hardback 258 pages
This magnificent book is the result of years of research by the author, including interviews with many railwaymen and their families. Apart from being complete in every railway detail, it is an excellent account of life and times as they once were in rural Wiltshire. This was the line which was cut back from Dauntsey to Great Somerford in a most unusual way prior to closure, owing to the late development of the Great Western's direct route to South Wales coupled with an early recognition of the need for economy. I have had a new dust jacket printed and so the unjacketed copies I found when I acquired Wild Swan have now become available again.
Paul Karau & Chris Turner [Publisher: Wild Swan 1987] Hardback 216 pages
A comprehensive and beautifully produced history of a the short branch line running from Marlow to Bourne End, complete in every respect including scale drawings, timetables, locomotive allocations and signalling details Unusually for a Wild Swan book this last section extends into the contemporary period, as signalling of sorts survives on the line in its present form. Auto trains ruled in the latter steam period and are very well illustrated, as are all other aspects of this line and its operation. An appendix also details the sawmill and its siding installed during World War 2 in glorious detail.
Peter Barnfield [Publisher: Wild Swan 2017] Softback 112 pages
The third of Peter's books of memories of railway journeys, this one covering south and mid Wales and largely covering lines and routes which are no longer available to rail travellers. Nostalgic and funny by turns and accompanied by a superb photographic record of everything, every picture bar one being taken by Peter himself. I really enjoyed all of it, if I had to pick a favourite section it would probably be that which describes the "Seven Mile Bank" on the Brecon and Merthyr - what a railway that was!
David Bartholomew [Publisher: Wild Swan 1982] Hardback 238 pages
Just found, a few new copies of volume one of David Bartholomew's lovely history, covering the whole line in great detail. Unmissable if this is a line that is of interest to you.
Peter Paye [Publisher: Wild Swan 1988] Hardback 152 pages
An unusually laid out branch line in East Anglia, crossing a second railway route halfway along its length and with a number of interesting private sidings connected directly to its own route. Constructed relatively late, it was part of an unrealised Great Eastern contingency plan, but passenger services nonetheless lasted into the era of dieseliation, finally succumbing in 1962 with freight services lingering until 1965.
John Minnis [Publisher: Wild Swan 1985] Softback 40 pages
A selection of the best photographs taken by A.F. Selby, which came to John Minis in the form of two albums of photographs in 1983. Not just locomotives, carriages are well featured in addition to some interesting steam railmotor views and the general lineside scene.
John Hodge [Publisher: Wild Swan 2007] Hardback 154 pages
The first part of a detailed exploration of the railway route from Shrewsbury to Newport, copiously illustrated and featuring detailed maps and plans of the numerous installations. Traffic from the other lines feeding Shrewsbury are also considered in this beautifully produced record of the age of steam.
John Hodge [Publisher: Wild Swan 2008] Hardback 170 pages
The second volume in this very pleasing pictorial series which covers the 50 mile joint GWR and LMS line between the towns in the title in BR steam days. A well informed text and large scale OS map sections are given for each location and the whole gives a very full impression of a fascinating route which carried a wide variety of both through and local trafffic.
John Hodge [Publisher: Wild Swan 2011] Hardback 140 pages
A continuation of John Hodge's journey down the North and West route, this volume taking us from Hereford with its complex of junctions and connections down as far as Abergavenny Junction. Although this route remains largely manually signalled in the 21st Century the scenes depicted in this beautiful book are from a completely different age.
John Hodge [Publisher: Wild Swan 2011] Hardback 148 pages
From the northern approaches to Abergavenny down to the main line Maindee junction at Newport in glorious black and white detail. The complex of lines and yards around Pontypool Road are very well covered, an astonishing contrast to what's there now.
Laurie A. Cooksey [Publisher: Wild Swan 2006] Hardback 188 pages
Fully up to Wild Swan's highest standards, this is a well written and fantastically detailed account of a most interesting minor railway. The photographic coverage is astonishing, revealing much more than I have ever seen in print before and all of the line's trials and tribulations are fully explained and illustrated. Laid with incredibly light rail and utilising flimsy rollng stock, the line became part of the Colonel Stephens empire and staggered on until January 1935, after which it was sold off piecemeal as the Southern Railway had sensibly declined to take it over. A second volume details all of the line's hardware and rolling stock, although this book in itself provides a very complete record of the whole enterprise.
Laurie Cooksey [Publisher: Wild Swan 2006] Hardback 146 pages
This second volume describes the line's route and all of the rolling stock and is an ideal source book for modellers. The locomotives that the line used were a fascinating collection of industrial types and are illustrated and described in very great detail, including the very attractive 2-4-2 "Selsey" supplied by Peckett for the opening of the line in 1897. An assortment of internal combustion based railcars were also used and this book is the most detailed record of this type of vehicle that I have yet seen. Scale drawings of the antiquated stock used are included, mostly derived from photographs, together with sketches and details of the private owner wagons that were used on the line. Another lovely book from Wild Swan.
Ian Pope, Bob How & Paul Karau [Publisher: Wild Swan 1983] Softback 158 pages
Reprinted as a softback in 2003, this first part of only two volumes published so far covers the history of the Severn and Wye from early tramroad days up until 1947. The photographic coverage extends into the 1960s but does not cover the later (diesel) years. The line from Lydney Junction to Parkend is explored in great detail and the book concludes with a useful selection of scale architectural drawings. Throughout there are numerous scale and signalling track diagrams and maps which explain the complicated developments of both main line and industrial railways. Industries and collieries along the route are well featured, including Norchard Colliery where the current day preservationists have established their base.
Ian Pope, Bob How & Paul Karau [Publisher: Wild Swan 1985] Softback 200 pages
This second volume continues the photographic exploration of the first volume onwards from Parkend to Cinderford and includes all the minor branches and industries along the way. The collieries are particularly well explored, with photographs taken underground complementing the extensive coverage of the surface works and their railways. Scenes of heavy industy contrast with their rural setting and the charming narrow gauge Bicslade's tramroad. Although this book covers a very specific area it is one of the best available photographic references for the interaction between coal mining and other rural industries with the railways and tramways that served them.
Ian Pope and Paul Karau [Publisher: Wild Swan 2009] Hardback 174 pages
After a very long wait, coverage of the mineral loop - a delightfully obscure piece of freight railway linking Drybrook Road in the north with Tufts Junction in the south. Largely disused from 1940, collieries along the line loom large with extensive photographs showing their features and operation well, less so for the more obscure ones but the whole is nonetheless a great record of a railway backwater from a lost age.
Brian Hart [Publisher: Wild Swan 1992] Softback 104 pages
By the same author as the "Hundred Of Hoo" book and every bit as interesting, this book is complete in every detail, from the articulated coaches used through to the Edwardian seaside scene. Closed in 1950, an unusual feature was a siding into an airfield.
S.C. Jenkins and R.S. Carpenter [Publisher: Wild Swan 1997] Softback 106 pages
Losing its passenger service in 1929, and finally closing to goods in 1960, this minor branch was a GW rebuild of part of the much earlier Stratford and Moreton tramway of 1826. This book is up to the usual high standards of its publisher, and the attractive rural route with its numerous level crossings is well illustrated, as is the terminus and even the tramway north of Shipston which survived until just after the Great War.
Jaye Isherwood [Publisher: Wild Swan 2010] Softback 168 pages
A much enlarged book compared to the original of the same title from this publisher which tells the complete story of how a government vehicle depot with its origins in the turmoil of the First World War became the prototype of a new concept - the trading estate. This is an unusual book in that it covers many themes, commerce and railway communications predominate but the reader also gets more than a glimpse of all aspects of life on the site, including architecture, social history, the A4 and some very well known brand names. The quality and variety of the numerous photographs are first class - this is a singular and stylish book which will appeal to the enthusiast and interested "lay" reader alike.
John Hodge [Publisher: Wild Swan 2000] Hardback 100 pages
A high quality pictorial album illustrating the railway and traffic of the 1950s and 1960s in an area of great importance to the Great Western and later Western Region of British Railways. Includes large scale OS map extracts which show the huge scale of the steam age railway in this busy area.
John Hodge [Publisher: Wild Swan 2002] Hardback 116 pages
Further coverage of this main line from the busy yards of Severn Tunnel Junction to Ebbw Junction on the West of Newport. Superb photographs coupled with large scale OS map extracts to the same high quality as part 1.
John Hodge [Publisher: Wild Swan 2015] Hardback 112 pages
We continue our pictorial journey along the South Wales main line, travelling from Swansea to Llanelly, via both the main line and Swansea District lines. As in previous volumes, John Copsey has provided extensive information on train workings which add much to the value of these books.
John Hodge [Publisher: Wild Swan 2005] Hardback 171 pages
The fourth part of John's photographic survey of the Great Western's South Wales main line, covering the line as it sweeps West and then North West from the rural landscape of South Glamorgan through to the heavy industries along the coastal strip and on into Swansea.
John Hodge [Publisher: Wild Swan 2004] Hardback 100 pages
More superb photography as John describes and illustrates the section of main line closest to his home, from west of Cardiff (covered in part 1) on through St Fagans to Bridgend. As with all the books in this series, the traffic and trains running off the main line onto branches and industries are also well featured.
Mike Lloyd [Publisher: Wild Swan 1990] Softback 112 pages
First class photographs of railway, landscape and details of lineside and operation make this Wild Swan book almost a manual of light railway life. Comprehensive scale drawings of buildings, lineside structures and rolling stock complete this picture of a charming Welsh border branch line. This is one of my very favourite railway books of recent years, and a copy has made its way into my personal book collection. Reprinted 2009.
Nicholais de Courtais [Publisher: Wild Swan 2017] Softback 96 pages
A much enlarged edition of the author's 1981 book describing and illustrating the roadside tramway that ran fron the Great Western main line at Wantage Road to the town of the same name. Indisputably one the most idiosyncratic and delightful of Britain's diverse collection of light railways and tramways, this new edition contains a wonderful collection of images together with a surprisingly large number of recollections of both using and working on the line, collected over a period of years by the indomitable Chris Turner. Hopefully this will prove irresistable to followers of light railways and quaint English institutions alike!
Glyn Williams [Publisher: Wild Swan 2010] Hardback 282 pages
The story of the Welshpool and Llanfair Light Railway before closure and subsequent preservation and regeneration. This is a very well illustrated book containing a large number of widely ranging and beautiful photographs that cover the whole line and every aspect of its life. Given what is left and the nature of the changes that have taken place in more recent years, the section of line through the town and into the Cambrian station is particularly fascinating, although the coverage of the actual operation of the line is also remarkable. If I had any criticism it would only be that the scale drawings of the coaches are not as good as they could have been, given that three replicas have been built in recent years, but this is a carping criticism when set against the magnificence of the whole book, which is simply stunning.