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The Blue Pullman Story

Kevin Robertson and Mike Smith    [Publisher:  Crecy  2020]    Hardback    392 pages

A much enlarged, revised and updated version of Kevin's earlier books on this iconic train. A fantastic piece of work, absolutely full of facts, thoughts and feelings about the "BP" as it is referred to in the text. Mike is co-author I think and it is my impression that he has written quite a lot of the text. He is clearly an enthusiast and writes with great feeling and has unearthed lots of information and photographs. Being a little bit critical, this is an enormous book and would really have benefitted from a bit of editing, there are quite a lot of value judgments and opinions contained in the text, lots of bonkers details some pictures that will only really appeal to the die hard enthusiast. But all that said it is a fantastic cornucopia of Blue Pullman-ery that will bring pleasure to many and it really is good to see so much information set out in a printed book in these Internet driven days. Who knows what the future holds, a re-engineered Blue Pullman based on redundant HST vehicles or a second edition of this book?!

The Book of the A3 Pacifics

Peter J. Coster    [Publisher:  Irwell Press  2003]    Hardback    164 pages

This is different to the other books in this series in that there is not a complete set of detailed biographies for the class. An appendix shows tabulated key dates and details for all class members, but mostly this book is a spectacular pictorial celebration of a truly great locomotive class. The text recalls their exploits drawing on the personal observations of the author as a lineside enthusiast and also the experiences of engineers who worked with the locomotives.

The Book of the Ivatt Class 2 2-6-2Ts 41200 - 41329

John Jennison    [Publisher:  Irwell Press  2020]    Hardback    352 pages

The usual format, a good description of the genesis of the locomotive's design, clear descriptions and photographs of different design features and in this case a pictorially pleasing review of the wide ranging lines and services that they were used on. The bulk of the book then takes each member of the class in turn, with two photographs and detailed records for each locomotive.

The Bulleid Merchant Navy class original and rebuilt

Hector Maxwell    [Publisher:  Transport Treasury  2020]    Softback    112 pages

A really classy collection of images of Bulleid's wartime mixed traffic design, all taken from the extensive photographic archive of the Transport Treasury. Superbly reproduced and printed, the locomotives are largely shown in their numerical order. The author writes with enthusiasm and includes much detail about the locomotives and quotes his references too, but I find it strange if not a little irritating that for nearly all of the images we are not told who the photographer was. Being hyper critical, the text is a bit verbose and gushy in places and the whole thing could have done with some editing for meaning and sense, but for all that it is far better to have this book in the world than not I think.

Diesel Shunters

Hugh Llewelyn    [Publisher:  Amberley Publishing  2014]    Softback    96 pages

Another surprisingly good book from this rather general publisher, an all colour album of shunting locomotives, the strength of which is the coverage of the smaller and more obscure classes and manufacturers.

F. W. Webb's Three Cylinder Compounds

Peter Davis    [Publisher:  L&NWR Society  2020]    Hardback    268 pages

A detailed examination and description of the three cylinder compounds that Webb built for the London and North Western Railway from 1882. This at the time novel concept and design created locomotives with subtle complexities, which as this book explains gave rise to various issues when it came to their operation. They were a successful design nonetheless, as the many pictures of these locomotives in top link service in this book show. As with anything novel, the design attracted criticism and over the years various myths and distortions of the locomotives' qualities were perpetuated, all of which this book sets into their proper context. This is a wonderful book, beautifully produced, well researched and containing a wealth of technical information and drawings, together with very many superb photographs.

French Railways Locomotives & Multiple Units 6th Edition

David Haydock    [Publisher:  Platform 5  2016]    Softback    240 pages

A complete listing of all French locomotives and Multiple Units, complete with good quality colour photographs, a detailed and colour coded series of maps of French railways and brief descriptions of individual lines.

LBSCR Atlantics

Jeremy English    [Publisher:  Ian Allan  2014]    Hardback    128 pages

A nicely produced and well illustrated book describing the Atlantics in some detail, works drawing are included as is a small but effective section on the project tobuild a new example.

LNER Pacifics Remembered

Peter Townend    [Publisher:  Irwell Press  2014]    Hardback    160 pages

A well produced and very comprehensively illustrated book, a collection of experiences and memories of working in and around Gresley's pacific locomotives. Written by men with distinguished railway careers who mostly started in work before the last War, this is a great read and confers upon its readers an incredible insight into the operation and management of the steam railway, I think.

Locomotive Testing On Britain's Railways 1901 - 1968

Dave Peel    [Publisher:  Kestrel Publishing  2013]    Softback    74 pages

A non technical but interesting account of locomotive testing on British Railways using dynamometer cars and indicator shelters, work which preceeded the establishment of the Derby test centre in 1967.

Locomotives Of The Great Northern Railway

G.F. Bird    [Publisher:  Amberley Publishing  2014]    Softback    160 pages

A reprint of a book published as long ago as 1910, but with a modern introduction. Lots of well known names, Sturrock, Stirling and Ivatt and mainly illustrated by line drawings.

Locomotives Of The Isle Of Wight Railways

Cooper, Faulkner Maycock and Silsbury    [Publisher:  Crecy  2021]    Hardback    192 pages

A great subject for a book, the various locomotives that have been used on all of the railways on the Isle of Wight from the inception of railways on the Island in 1862 up until the present day. As the authors describe, this is in fact a "descendant" of the earlier RCTS book on the subject by the late Don Bradley, which although based upon solid research was in some ways flawed. Just the account of what Bradley achieved with his series of books and then how this book came about is interesting in its own right. Although the authors state that few of the photographs in the book have not been seen before, the whole effect is very pleasing and covers a wonderful variety of types and styles, including the obscure railcars and the Ryde Pier Head tramcars. All of the images in the book are well reproduced to a good size and selected old photographs have been "colourised", adding a great deal to the story and overall effect I think. There are no scale drawings, but there are a lot of tabular details covering many aspects of the subjects covered, including shopping records for the fleet of 02s in BR days. The locomotives of the wonderful modern day preserved operation are properly featured and the ex LT undergrounds types also get a mention, including the latest ex D78 stock, pictured on page 139 on a test run approaching Ryde's up distant signal at line speed in great light. A great book and well worth adding to the library for any Island line enthusiast I would think.

Locomotives of the LNWR Southern Division

Harry Jack    [Publisher:  RCTS  2001]    Hardback    300 pages

An account of locomotives as used from opening onwards on "unquestionably the greatest public work ever executed", the London and Birmingham railway, which went on to become the major constituent of the LNWR. The subject was last written about in 1890 or thereabouts and this author has unearthed a wide diversity of primary sources to produce this interesting and thoughtful book. Given the antiquity of the subject the photographic content is impressive and there are side elevations of most classes provided together with more detailed plans of a few locomotives. The whole is well presented and printed on to art paper, and the book also includes a lot of history of Wolverton works, the early railway and the locomotive engineers.

Mainline To Industry

Frank Jones    [Publisher:  Lightmoor  1998]    Softback    112 pages

A really fascinating book, profusely illustrated and detailing all the locomotives which were sold out of the ownership of mainline companies into industry. A very wide variety of types were involved and several unique preserved locomotives owe their existence to the phenomenon, for example the Furness Railway Sharp Stewarts, one of which has just been rebuilt into its original form.