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Bournville Steam and Chocolate

Mike Hitches    [Publisher:  Irwell Press  1992]    Softback    32 pages

A slim but nicely produced and illustrated account of the Cadbury's railway system at Bournville in suburban Birmingham, together with the the adjacent railway line and large Midland Railway engine shed. This is now a pleasant suburban backwater, with the canalside wharves being replaced by new housing, although a large girder bridge remains as a solid reminder of the system.

From Bridges To Big 'Uns

Peter Coster    [Publisher:  Irwell Press  2016]    Hardback    176 pages

This is a much better book than I expected it to be, not least because of the superb photography, both black and white and a lot of colour too. To be fair, it is difficult to describe this book, but it is a terrific record of the West Coast main line out of Euston and the significant changes wrought as it underwent modernisation after the war. The book is written from the perspective of one involved in the process on the civil engineering and therefore includes a lot of fascinating detail of this aspect of the railway, from rebuilding bridges to the demolition of the old Euston - all photographed in detail and absolutely fascinating.

Gloucester Midland Lines Part 1: North

Neil Parkhouse    [Publisher:  Lightmoor  2017]    Hardback    280 pages

A mind blowingly comprehensive collection of colour pictures of the Midland Railway and its routes in Gloucestershire, put together with care and thought by Neil Parkhouse who has been collecting images of the railway scene in Gloucestershire for many years. Arranged geographically from North to South from Defford on the main line and Evesham on the "branch", the quality and depth of coverage of the whole railway scene is most impressive. As Neil explains new images continue to appear via Ebay, including some superb shots around Gloucester taken by an unknown railwayman, recording operations, locomotives, special trains, enthusiasts but most of all the wonderful "traditional" railway scene. Although largely steam, there are quite few diesels in green and a few in blue livery. Overall this is a magnificent record, fascinating for the general reader but an invaluable source book of nearly everything for modellers of the railway scene. Of particular interest to me as so many of the locations are familiar, although my observations and travels were generally later than the period covered here.

The Last Years Of Steam Around The Midlands

Michael Clemens    [Publisher:  Fonthill Media  2017]    Softback    128 pages

Michael Clemens conducts us through the impressive and mainly colour photographs of the late Alan Maund. Based in Worcester and blessed with an artist's eye, these photographs give a wonderful impression of the whole steam railway, in addition to recording a number of industrial location and more obscure parts of the network. A really lovely collection of pictures, all well reproduced on art paper and with informative captions.

The Lost Railway The Midlands

Robert Day    [Publisher:  Ian Allan  2013]    Softback    128 pages

Much more interesting than you might think, this is an interesting collection of photographs of the railway in action during the post Beeching era and before sprinters and sectors arrived on the scene. The author is the photographer and he set out, with his late father Ted, to deliberately record the infrastructure and operation of a railway scene that was even then destined for the pages of a history book. Movingly introduced, well written and intelligently put together, this is a very worthwhile record which is full of interesting and sometimes surprising detail. One caveat, the reproduction is well done and clear, but a lot of the photographs are a little grey and washed out looking, a problem with the book's production rather than the photographs I am sure. Terrific nonetheless, I hope that Robert and Ted took enough material to produce another volume or two in the same vein.

The North Staffordshire Railway In LMS Days Volume 3

Basil Jeuda    [Publisher:  Lightmoor  2014]    Hardback    184 pages

This volume is something of a "mopping up" operation, covering various minor lines, the Leek and Manifold. Stoke Works and numerous other detailed aspects of the railway's operation. If that makes it sound less interesting than the earlier volumes it isn't meant to, this is a fascinating record of rolling stock, infrastructure, operations, industry and people.

Sheffield Victoria to Chesterfield Central Part One

Ken Grainger    [Publisher:  Foxline  2002]    Softback    144 pages

An historic photographic album of the "Derbyshire Lines" of the Manchester Sheffield & Lincolnshire Railway, the precursor to the "Great Central". Although this line closed in 1963, it was in fact the first and most northerly part of the ill fated "Last Main Line" to Marylebone, which survived a little longer as a through route before closure in 1966. This is a high quality picture album, with a large proportion of pre-nationalisation views and also much of industrial railway interest.

Stafford to Chester Featuring Crewe

Vic Mitchell and Keith Smith    [Publisher:  Middleton Press  2012]    Hardback    96 pages

The standard "Middleton Treatment" for a busy stretch of the erstwhile Grand Junction Railway, photographic coverage is from the pre grouping up until current times, with the majority covering the diesel eras.

Walsall Routes

Vic Mitchell    [Publisher:  Middleton Press  2013]    Hardback    96 pages

A look at the complex of routes around Walsall, predominantly LNWR with a bit of GWR incursion at the edges. The photographs cover from steam days through to the recent railway history of privatisation and restoration of some latterly freight only routes to passenger use.

William Bradshaw, Leicester Railway Cameraman

John Hurst and Mike Kinder    [Publisher:  HMRS  2002]    Softback    86 pages

A fascinating collection of photographs, all taken before the grouping by one man with real photographic talent. The images presented are more than a collection of locomotive portraits, showing us the infrastructure and staff on both the Midland and Great Central routes. Rarities include a shot of a First World War troop special and a destructive shunting accident at West Bridge. One cannot but be impressed by the clean and efficient looking lines of the scenes and locomotives depicted, and as a bonus the book is also an interesting story of the man and his photographic collections.