Pictorial Albums

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Colour of the North Wales Main Line

Larry Goddard    [Publisher:  Foxline  2002]    Hardback    88 pages

An all diesel album, covering the rail blue era up until the present day, with a good proportion of contemporary views and llustrating the changes along the line very well. The line retains semaphore signalling and there is not a single view of a "sprinter" to be seen in this book, so it could be worse. This book is a new style from Foxline, a squarish landscape format with all photographs printed in full colour on thicker than usual art paper.

Diesel Hydraulics a Colour Retrospective

Andrew Vines    [Publisher:  Wild Swan  2021]    Hardback    128 pages

A large landscape format all colour pictorial book covering all of the distinctive classes of diesel hydraulic locomotives that were built for the Western Region of British Railways. Andrew started photographing in the 1970's when the "Westerns" still reigned more or less supreme on the Berks and Hants. He went out with his father, himself a photographer, and from these early experiences grew a great interest in and passion for the "Westerns" and their companion classes. Using his own and his Father's images, together with many others purchased over a number of years, in this book he takes a pictorial look back at the locomotives, the trains they hauled and the routes over which they operated. The captions are well informed and well written, and the whole book provides arguably the best collection of pictures and review of the "hydraulic era" that has so far been published.

The Early Years of London Diesels

Michael Welch    [Publisher:  Capital  2002]    Softback    80 pages

The author turns his attention to more modern forms of motive power in this volume, which charts the introduction of an extraordinarily diverse collection of types to British Railways. All the images were captured in and around the capital, and range from the earliest days of diesels up until the mid 70s and rail blue. A favourite image is a rather careworn blue "Magpie" captured at Kensington, and a surprise was the incredibly dirty condition of many diesels early on in their careers, just look at that "Hymek" on page 7!

The Final Decade The 1960s Steam Railway

Kevin Robertson    [Publisher:  Transport Treasury  2021]    Hardback    96 pages

A lovely book, images from the camera of Paul Hocquard, selected by Kevin Robertson from the large number held by the Transport Treasury. Not all locations or dates of the images are known, but many have been worked out and all are worth looking at. As the introduction explains, Paul set out to record the steam era in imaginative and striking compositions that feature much more then "just" locomotives and the results are in many cases stunning. It is surprising that his name is not much better known, I have to confess that I was unaware of it. One of the loveliest images is number 64, featuring a cat sitting on the arrivals platform at Bath Green Park - magic!

Gloucestershire Steam Finale

Stephen Mourton    [Publisher:  Runpast  2000]    Softback    72 pages

An all colour album as per the title, in a square format and size reminiscent of the Atlantic colour books, but with the pictures produced to a good size, many taking a full page. The quality of colour is not half bad, and there are some excellent images, most of which are unfamiliar to my eyes. I particularly liked the views of Cheltenham Malvern Road, but the whole thing is very good indeed.

Michael Mensing Railway Photographer Volume 1 An Introduction

David Bird and the RCTS    [Publisher:  RCTS  2021]    Softback    112 pages

Produced to a large landscape format to fully exploit and display the pictorial contents, this is a great collection of full colour images captured by the late Michael Mensing, whose excellent photography has graced the pages of many books. A native of Solihull, these photographs cover the period from 1957 to 1979 and while views from Birmingham and the West Midlands are in the majority, a very wide range of other locations are also captured, including Scotland. Tyneside and a few in the West Country. The pictures are universally appealing, Michael was able to stand back from his subject and include settings and the landscape and so this book shows us much more than the railway. A rare shot included is Metrovick D5701 in blue on and oil train near Grange Over Sands in 1968 - terrific stuff and well done to the RCTS in making all of these images available to a wider audience.

Ryde Rail A History of Tube Trains on the Isle of Wight

Richard C Long    [Publisher:  Crecy  2019]    Hardback    144 pages

A really interesting and visually pleasing book, the story of how and why ex London Transport Tube trains came to be used on the remains of the once extensive Isle of Wight system after the withdrawal of steam in 1966. The illustrations are first class and well reproduced, many being in colour, covering the very end of steam services and the demise of the pier head tramway. This unusual story is well told and at the end of the book there is a very cogent description and discussion of the issues now facing the Wight railway, together with the various options being considered. A really interesting and well produced book and worth every penny of its reasonable price tag!

Steam In The English Landscape

Michael Welch    [Publisher:  Capital  2018]    Hardback    112 pages

Michael Welch is a picture editor par excellence and his selection of images coupled with the usual high standards of colour repro work from this publisher has resulted in an outstanding album of colour images of the British Steam Railway in operation. Fifty years after the end of steam it is surprising how new and fresh looking images can still be found fore publication, this book certainly has a few of them!

Steam Trails Cotswolds and South Midlands

Michael Clemens    [Publisher:  Ian Allan  2007]    Hardback    96 pages

A new series from Ian Allan, drawing on the photographs of the late Jim Clemens and his son Michael. I already knew Jim's name from the excellent series of Videos and now DVDs produced by B&R from his extensive cine film collection, and I am pleased to say that my resultingly high expectations of this book were exceeded on all fronts. The Clemens family lived in Pershore and the photographs in this book, which are predominantly colour, depict the fascinating collection of main and secondary lines that once existed in the counties around Worcestershire. Jim set out to record scenes and lines that he knew would be swept away and the result is a truly superb photographic record. Particular pleasures for me were the stations along the "Worse and Worse" including a lovely colour shot of Wyre (Piddle) halt and the various freight only byways featured. A beautiful and in some ways quite moving book, artfully taken photographs of interesting railway subjects.

Surrey Steam

Michael Welch    [Publisher:  Capital  2001]    Softback    80 pages

Another excellent colour album from this publisher with the quality of photographs being well above average for the period - the cover shot of Betchworth is simply beautiful. One might be forgiven for thinking Surrey dull from a steam point of view, given electrification, but the variety of locomotives and trains depicted is very broad. A poignant shot is "Bude" at Woking in August of 1966 still showing signs of the "bulling up" it received for its last rites duty on the S&D in March. Merstham before the M25 is a revelation and there is a gem of a shot of "Baxter" at the Dorking Lime Company's works. This is a really good book.

Western Glory

Chris Chapman    [Publisher:  Waterfront  2002]    Softback    112 pages

A pleasing and well rendered collection of all colour views of the "Western" locomotives in their last few years of operation, mainly captured in locations west of Bristol and Westbury. The photographs were all taken by the author and his late father, working as a team, and a friendly relationship with signalmen up and down the routes has resulted in views of unusual workings as well as scheduled workings, all informatively captioned and with many views taken from unusual locations. The most unexpected must be "Western Fusilier" with a single wagon delivering coal to the signal box at Blatchbridge Junction, with a shovelful caught in mid air!

The Western Way Western Region Steam in the Sixties

Terence Dorrity    [Publisher:  Irwell Press  2020]    Hardback    128 pages

An above average collection of colour images, reproduced in a large scale landscape format and with universally good and natural colour repoduction throughout. The photographer lived in Stratford on Avon and so the photographs are "Midlands based" but they also cover very many other locations and the book features chapters on Pannier Tanks in all sorts of interesting locations! This is a very nice collection of images which does not disappoint on any level.