Narrow Gauge, England & Isle of Man

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Caillet's Patent Mono-Rail System

John L Townsend    [Publisher:  Narrow Gauge Railway Society  2016]    Softback    42 pages

Apparently the subject of this book was the most widely used of several ground level monorail systems, fully illustrated and explained through the original patents, drawings and even some photographs!

The Cliffe Hill Mineral Railway

M.H. Billington    [Publisher:  Plateway Press  1997]    Softback    78 pages

The story of a narrow gauge line serving a granite quarry in Leicestershire, and surviving up until 1948 and replacement by road transport. This is a well put together book including track plans, a map and scale drawings of locomotives, two of which survived into preservation - the Bagnalls "Peter" and "Isabel".

The Dalmunzie Railway

Roderick Dingwall    [Publisher:  Stenlake Publishing  2017]    Softback    48 pages

In this publisher's usual "small landscape" format, this is a delightful account of a 2 1/2 mile long Scottish estate railway, laid out using industrial equipment on the two foot gauge in order to facilitate the shooting of Grouse. Closed as late as 1978, this book includes a location map and extensive photographs of the operation.

Hampshire Narrow Gauge

Mitchell & Smith    [Publisher:  Middleton Press  2004]    Hardback    96 pages

Although there is a higher proportion of pleasure lines featured here than in most other titles in this series, the quality and scale of at least two of them, coupled with their relative obscurity, sustains one's interest. Dean Hill is also extensively illustrated, as are several industrial and contractors lines, together with a preserved brickworks line at Bursledon which I knew nothing about. Other lines which haven't been illustrated have been listed in the front of the book, including loads on the Isle of Wight - slightly odd but then we are in the land of Middleton - God bless 'em!

Ireland's Largest Industrial Railway The Guiness System

Hugh Oram    [Publisher:  Stenlake Publishing  2017]    Softback    48 pages

A nice pictorial account of the Guiness railway system in Dublin, which was a comprehensive and ingenious system of narrow and broad gauges with a number of novel features. Broad gauge operations ceased in 1965 and the narrow gauge followed in 1975, but significant reminders remain both in preservation and on the ground in Dublin.

The Isle Of Man Railway Colour Photographs 1963 - 1971

Eric E. Bird    [Publisher:  Peco  2013]    Softback    106 pages

An interesting collection of images, spanning the period between the "old company" and the new hope represented by the management of Lord Ailsa and his associates. Then a young enthusiast who was resident on Man, the author spent a lot of time on the two lines that were destined to be torn up shortly after his pictures were taken and also managed to capture the railway "out of season". An attractive and quite "different" view of the railway.

Light Railway Construction

E.R. Calthrop    [Publisher:  Plateway Press  1997]    Softback    34 pages

An attractively laid out reprint of an 1897 paper extolling the virtues of the narrow gauge for commercial railway use. The writer is best remembered for the Leek and Manifold, but this book describes the applications of his principles to the Barsi Railway in India.

The Lincolnshire Potato Railways

Stewart E Squires    [Publisher:  Oakwood  2017]    Softback    160 pages

A very welcome reprint of the 2005 edition of this fascinating account of the narrow gauge lines used in potato growing in Lincolnshire. Slightly less welcome is the use of a coated cartridge paper which doesn't equal the art paper quality of the Oakwood books of the last 20 odd years, let's hope Mr Stenlake doesn't repeat this unfortunate penny pinching in future Oakwoods.

Manifold Valley Railway: An Anthology

Eric Leslie    [Publisher:  Oakwood  1998]    Softback    64 pages

Uniform with this publishers Lynton and Barnstaple anthology and just as charming. The writings about this lost line and its secret valley came from an informal society that grew up around a common interest - this is a really lovely and evocative book.

Narrow Gauge Steam Locomotives Of Great Britain & Ireland

Peter Nicholson    [Publisher:  Platform 5  2014]    Softback    80 pages

A complete guide to all the narrow gauge steam locomotives known to exist in Great Britain and Ireland, listing manufacturer, class, brief historical notes and details of current status and location. The book contains a good number of illustrations and lists a large number and variety of locomotives, made all the more fascinating in recent years owing to various new build projects and the surprisingly numerous repatriation projects.

Northamptonshire Narrow Gauge Railways in the 1960s

Sydney A Leleux    [Publisher:  Oakwood  2021]    Softback    96 pages

A large format photographic survey of the author's own photographs covering the various narrow gauge lines that have operated in Northamptonshire. Well produced on art paper and featuring excellent photographic coverage, a useful location map and informative captions from a knowledgable author, this is a very pleasing visual record. Ironstone predominates as you would expect, but there are many other smaller operations included too.

The Pentewan Railway

M J T Lewis    [Publisher:  Twelveheads  2018]    Hardback    128 pages

A beautifully produced record of the quirky Pentewan Railway in Cornwall, which ran more or less alongside the busy road that leads down from St Austell towards Mevagissey. The line existed in different "phases" from an early horsedrawn era, through a major period of steam locomotion (including the use of the distinctive "Fell" locomotives) before a partial renaissance around a concrete works at Pentewan. A fascinating story well told and exquisitely laid out and illustrated. This is a new edition of the author's 1981 book on the same subject and also benefits from the inclusion of John Henry Drew's recollections of working the line, previously published by Twelvheads as "Rail and Sail to Pentewan", long out of print.

The Pretenders

Lawson Little with Dave Holroyde    [Publisher:  Mainline & Maritime  2018]    Softback    52 pages

A pictorially pleasing large format softback reviewing and detailing steam outline internal combustion powered locomotives in the UK. Invariably built for pleasure line operation, the range of outlines and ideas illustrated in this book is impressive. I was pleased to find that the three extraordinary locomotive creations for the Festival of Britain's "Far Tottering and Oystercreek Railway" are featured, one of which still exists, albeit in slightly more conventional form. Whilst not pretending to be definitive, this is a very good guide to the main builders of these machines, and an appendix lists and illustrates additional examples.

Railways of the Channel Islands a Pictorial Survey

C. Judge    [Publisher:  Oakwood  2018]    Softback    80 pages

A welcome reprint of a classic "Oakwood", the first of their "portrait" series published in 1992. New owners Stenlake are to applauded for taking Oakwood on and trying out new formats, this new edition for example being to a slightly larger 165 by 235 format which sits well and shows the pictures to better effect. This is an attractive book and a great account of a quirky set of railways. One slight carp though, I do wish that Stenlake would use art paper rather than their coated cartridge type, which doesn't in my opinion bring out the best in the images.

The Rye and Camber Tramway

Laurie A. Cooksey    [Publisher:  Plateway Press  1995]    Hardback    160 pages

The larger and definitive book on this subject, nicely produced in a large format and with a wide selection of photographs illustrating every aspect of the line, its stock and even the personalities surrounding it. A particularly obscure item of rolling stock featured in several views is the "row boat" permanent way trolley - very nautical!

Saga By Rail: Great Britain and The Isle Of Man

J.I.C. Boyd    [Publisher:  Oakwood  2007]    Softback    192 pages

A really nice pot pourri of well illustrated reminiscences covering James Boyd's encounters with a catholic selection of railways, the majority of which are either narrow gauge or very minor outposts of the standard gauge. From school day encounters with the Somerset and Dorset through youthful wartime encounters with the Snailbeach and Festiniog to delights such as the Welshpool and Llanfair and Corris before preservation and closure. Some fascinating industrial railways are also explored, including an in depth look at the Whittingham Hospital Railway, the Isle of Man, Altrincham gasworks, Eaton Hall, Manchester's Ship Canal railway, the Tanat Valley, Talyllyn and Ravenglass and Eskdale, amongst much else. The photogaphs, mostly taken by the author, are extremely pleasing and cover the subjects very comprehensively. A super book and proving deservedly popular.

Stone To Build London Portland's Legacy

Gill Hackman    [Publisher:  Folly Books  2014]    Hardback    312 pages

A fabulous book, a large format production on quality art paper and profusely illustrated with both colour and black and white photography.This is the story of Portland stone and its industry and quarrymen, taken from the earliest workings up until the present day. London and its buildings are well illustrated, but the greater part of the book explores the actual industry itself, including the Merchants Railway and the Admiralty Railway, through plans old maps and photography both historic and contemporary.

Surrey Narrow Gauge

Mitchell & Smith    [Publisher:  Middleton Press  2003]    Hardback    96 pages

The usual format from Middleton Press, covering a fascinating collection of narrow gauge operations most of which are historic industrial operations rather than modern pleasure lines. There are some unusual and attractive locomotives featured, my favourite is a distinctive Bagnall 0-4-0 pictured on a siding in the gasworks that once occupied the site of the Millenium Dome. The system of the Hampton water works was immaculate, contrasting with the many contractors lines illustrated, one showing the Guildford by-pass construction - quite fascinating.

A Tale of Many Railways History of Alan Keef Ltd

Alan Keef    [Publisher:  Lightmoor  2008]    Hardback    192 pages

An illustrated autobiography of one Alan Keef, well known in narrow gauge circles as both a dealer and constructor of narrow gauge railway equipment. Given the timescale over which Alan built up his business, this extremely well illustrated book provides an interesting commentary on the changing role of narrow gauge railways over the last few decades. From industrial grime through to "tourist twee", Alan has had an involvement in much of what has gone on in this fascinating world. A good read, although if I was forced to a criticism it might be that the story is in places a bit too "Keef-centric", I could have done with a bit more detail on the projects and organisations in which Alan has got involved.