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The Acquired Wagons of British Railways Vol 1 Fleet Composition and Brake Vans

David Larkin    [Publisher:  Crecy  2018]    Hardback    150 pages

A large format and well produced hardback, generally set out with two images per page, allowing photographs of individual items of stock to be reproduced to a good size. A general account of freight wagon developments on British Railways is followed by a detailed examination of brake vans from the big four companies as operated under the auspices of BR. The early sidelining of brake vans without duckets is explained and whilst several views I have seen before, there is sufficient new material to make me want to add this book to my collection. If I had a criticism, I think that a bit more work could have been put into the captions, for example the images from the late Ted West are invariably dated, but not so in all cases that they are used in this book. In fact, most captions are undated and maybe the whole production process has been a bit too relaxed, or perhaps I am just expecting too much.

The Acquired Wagons of British Railways Vol 2 All Steel Mineral Wagons

David Larkin    [Publisher:  Crecy  2019]    Hardback    144 pages

Following on from the brake vans in Volume 1, David here explains the origins and development of the various all steel mineral wagons that British Railways inherited at Nationalisation. An interesting collection of designs, including a large number of higher capacity wagons, many of which survived until late on the traditional railway. The illustrations are well chosen and show detail well, perfect for modellers I would say.

The Acquired Wagons of British Railways Vol 3 13 Ton Wooden bodied Minerals

David Larkin    [Publisher:  Crecy  2021]    Hardback    144 pages

In this very welcome third volume, David tackles the 1923 RCH spec mineral wagons, both railway company owned and private owner, including the vehicles built for coke traffic. As in previous volumes he goes through the different wagon types describing their uses and origins, giving BR numbers for each type and illustrating everything with good quality photographs. For me, the particular joy of this series are the images that show the types in BR service with increasingly faded liveries, part repairs, patch re numbering and so on. David also observes that the chalk marks added to some of the subjects photographed by Roye England, put there to highlight faded livery details, would be legitimate graffiti on models of the subjects. A tiny and detailed footnote to history but a great thought for us modellers! It is great to have another book from David, who has done so very much to record and make available information on a fascinating subject. His original Bradford Barton books are still sought out by readers and were in part the inspiration that led me to produce "Twilight Of The Goods" with Don Rowland for Wild Swan. Long may he continue, there are certainly future volumes planned in this excellent series from Crecy.

The Acquired Wagons of British Railways Vol 4 Vans Containers and Cattle Wagons

David Larkin    [Publisher:  Crecy  2022]    Hardback    144 pages

Eagerly awaited, David Larkin's review of the wagon types most beloved of modellers - the general merchandise wagons or "box vans" as we used to call them. The book also covers containers, special purpose vans and cattle wagons, all of which types are well illustrated with plenty of "in service" photographs from various sources. David describes the differing types and design developments for each of the "Big Four" companies, giving numbering sequences and examples for each type. The text also including a lot of additional information and all photographs are well reproduced to a decent size, the early LMS types featuring several impactful full page images.

Barry Railway Drawings

Trefor Jones, Mike Morton Lloyd and Rhobat Bryn Jones    [Publisher:  Welsh Rlys. Research Circle  2019]    Hardback    144 pages

A nicely produced hardback with glazed board covers, pretty much all there is to be known about Barry Railway rolling stock, including locomotives, coaches and wagons. Extensive numbering and numbering records, many photographs and an introduction to and system maps of the railway complete an interesting and attractive book.

Highland Railway Carriages And Wagons

Peter Tatlow    [Publisher:  Crecy  2014]    Hardback    200 pages

Produced in association with the Highland Railway Society and otherwise written by an established author with a lifelong interest in the subject, this book is likely to be both authoritative and definitive. I don't know enough myself to really judge, but reference in the text is properly made to earlier author's efforts and the book itself is a very fine piece of work. Apart from being a very well reproduced and well illustrated record as per its title, including the provision of comprehensive and clearly reproduced scale drawings, it is a very attractive book in its own right. As a great fan of wagons and an occasional builder of gauge one models of examples, I have to say that there are some really appealing subjects in this book - and that's coming from a Somerset and Dorset Railway enthusiast.

Non-Pool Freight Stock 1948-1968 Volume 2

David Larkin    [Publisher:  Crecy  2016]    Softback    90 pages

Covering privately owned and european vehicles, this second volume takes subjects alphabetically from I to Y and completes the review started with volume 1. The subject wagons are quite a varied collection, although tank wagon types probably predominate. The book is greatly enhanced by the inclusion of a number of superb images taken by the late Ted West, whose collection of photographs is now held and curated by Mike King. This book will form an excellent addition to the library of any self respecting wagon enthusiast.

Petroleum Rail Tank Wagons of Britain

R. Tourret    [Publisher:  Author  2009]    Hardback    304 pages

This is the revised and updated version produced by the author in 2009, an absolute mine of information and photographs of a fascinating subject. Produced with railway modellers very much in mind, the book contains a lot of scale drawings and good pictures of the wagons both in service and when built. This much enlarged second edition was published in 2009, but when the author died dropped out of circulation. Stock has only very recently become available again, and now at a greatly reduced price, a real bargain. Well written and definitive, a worthy memorial to the energetic publishing endeavours of Mr Tourrett.

Private Owner Wagons A Fifth Collection

Keith Turton    [Publisher:  Lightmoor  2006]    Hardback    184 pages

A fifth volume of a deservedly popular series, this one returns to presenting a general range of wagons and their operators based upon material which readers of the earlier boks in the series have provided. Over 60 operators represented by 170 photographs, with northern coal wagons predominating. There are also some additional notes and photos relating to earlier volumes in the series.

Private Owner Wagons A Fourteenth Collection

Keith Turton    [Publisher:  Lightmoor  2016]    Hardback    152 pages

Like "James Bond" and that dreadful Potter farrago, this series just keeps on coming. Despite the author's protestation that this is a "final collection" Ian "Cubby" Pope has refrained from adding any such notion to the title and hints at future titles in the series. Perhaps a suitable subtitle is "Never say Never", which leaves me wondering who will be Roger Moore to Keith Turton's Sean Connery. Still, at least it isn't being written by J.K. Rowling, no disrespect, and it all goes to prove you can't keep a good wagon down I still haven't said anything about the book, which is another jolly good collection of PO wagon photographs and information.

Private Owner Wagons A Fourth Collection Welsh Anthracite

Keith Turton    [Publisher:  Lightmoor  2005]    Hardback    184 pages

Anthracite "The King of Coals", a high carbon content, slow burning coal whose lack of arsenic and other impurities made it an essential supply for brewing, malting and food production. Mined in a small area of South Wales, the usually black wagons of anthracite were consequently seen all over the British railway system, often as a single truck consignment to out of the way places. The photographic coverage is excellent, a charming view on p71 shows a single wagon being unloaded on the Sheppey Light Railway whilst the frontispiece is a dramatic view of number taking which shows in incomparable detail the construction and lettering of a typical wagon. I am currently building a Slaters kit which will be lettered with their "Ystradgynlais" transfers for the boiler house of the "National Fruit and Cider Institute" at Butleigh station.

Private Owner Wagons A Ninth Collection

Keith Turton    [Publisher:  Lightmoor  2010]    Hardback    160 pages

Most of the images in this latest volume of this excellent series have come to light through the author's further researches into more obscure sources, resulting in a collection of more than average variety, obscurity and antiquity. A particularly fascinating aspect to me is the inclusion of some contractors' wagons, including a superb shot of "Topham Jones and Railton" wagons on the Swansea East Dock contract.

Private Owner Wagons of Bristol and District

Ian Pope    [Publisher:  Lightmoor  2009]    Hardback    128 pages

The City of Bristol has had a long industrial history so the wagons featured in this absorbing book cover a number of industries beyond the usual plethora of coal merchants. Most notable amongst these are the chemical industries that grew up at Avonmouth and tank wagons of all shapes and sizes are consequently well featured. As ever with this series and publisher, brief notes are as far as possible given for each owner and there are undoubtedly a few photographic gems within the covers of this book.

Private Owner Wagons Of Somerset

Ricard Kelham    [Publisher:  Lightmoor  2014]    Hardback    240 pages

As the author states in his introduction, research for this book started thirty years ago and although work on it can hardly have been continuous I know enough about the subject and localities already to stick my neck out and state that this is a thoroughly researched and hugely informative record of its subject. It is an admirable record and account of actual wagons, including more and better pictures of wagons and their liveries than one could reasonably expect at this remove in time, and the details of the owning and operating companies and individuals are very well done too. As if that were not enough there is also a wealth of detail on the collieries of Somerset, including large scale Ordnance Survey map extracts showing surface plans and connecting railways and a lot of photographs which in some cases show extraordinary levels of detail. Stand out images for me (all reproduced across a full page) are a panorama of the sidings at Radstock S&D (p81) a stunning picture of Dunkerton sidings complete with operating Peckett (p36) and Vobster Stoneworks (p174). Another thing this book illustrates with several pictorially brilliant examples is what private owner wagons looked like after pooling and the Second World War. All in all this book is everything that I had hoped it would be and will without doubt become one of the all time classic works of railway reference.

Private Owner Wagons Of Wiltshire

Richard Kelham    [Publisher:  Lightmoor  2021]    Hardback    256 pages

A well researched and comprehensive record of all of the operators of PO wagons in Wiltshire, the result of many years of research and interest in the subject by the author. Wiltshire didn't have coal reserves, but it did have Bath stone, so stone quarries and coal merchants wagons dominate the account. The last 70 pages are given over to additional information on the author's earlier book on Somerset PO wagons by the same publisher - all good stuff and a fascinating look back into a world which is very different to today. Some views have been seen in other books but the majority were new to me.

Southern Wagons In Colour

Mike King    [Publisher:  Crecy  2014]    Softback    112 pages

Drawing largely from the extensive colour photograph collection of Mike Rhodes, this is a first class pictorial record of Southern Railway wagons as they appeared in service with BR. Written and put together by Mike King, a very knowledgeable enthusiast for the subject, the text and captions are detailed and informative. Photographs are largely post 1960 but nonetheless cover a remarkable variety of vehicles from earlier eras and include a lot of useful (for modellers) views of brake gear, bodywork details and methods of loading. The vast majority of views depict wagons in BR service, those that aren't are in "unrestored" preservation or as running on subsequent users lines, for example ports and military establishments. In my opinion this is by far and away the best colour record of (any) wagon stock that has yet been published. The printing and reproduction (importantly including the "naturalness" of the colours) are in my opinion beyond criticism and modellers who wish to weather their rolling stock (of whatever company) will find this book truly useful. I took a copy home for my collection on the day it arrived in the shop - brilliant!

Twilight Of The Goods

Don Rowland    [Publisher:  Wild Swan  2019]    Softback    80 pages

I am very pleased to have published this book, an appreciation of the estimable Don Rowland and the huge amount of work he has done in both recording and publishing information about the humble British goods wagon. With my own enjoyment of Don Rowland's magazine articles and David Larkin's seminal series of wagon books for Bradford Barton in mind, this book contains 80 pages of high quality images of wagons, the vast majority photographed by Don, printed mostly one image per page in order that the subjects and their myriad details of brake gear, lettering, construction and most of all the texture and finish can be fully appreciated. We have endeavoured to make the captions informative and accurate for both the wagons and settings in each case and with a very few exceptions all subject photographs are accurately dated and their locations recorded. Many of the backgrounds are also interesting on various levels, all of which serve to illustrate just how very different so much was at the Twilight of the era of traditional freight working on British Railways. I hope that this book gives half as much pleasure as I have had from those Bradford Barton books of all those years ago and also inspires those of us who model to more accurately portray the wonderful World of Wagons, sorry Don, I couldn't resists that sort of amalgamation of Peco and your Model Railway News series that I liked so much...

Wagons of the Early British Rail Era 1969-1982

David Larkin    [Publisher:  Crecy  2009]    Softback    88 pages

Covering the British Rail era from 1969 which saw the introduction of TOPS, the air braked "speedlink" network and the last throes of modifications to the ageing traditional wagon stock, many of which staggered on incredibly late in the day.

Wagons of the Final Years of British Railways 1962-1968

David Larkin    [Publisher:  Crecy  2008]    Softback    88 pages

The author continues the story of freight wagon development in the same style as in the earlier volumes in this series, here covering the last few years of the building of traditional vacuum braked stock. By 1962 most of the wagons envisaged by the modernisation plan had been completed and much of what was produced was rebuilding and updating of earlier designs, together with a few specialist designs and attempts to adapt rail freight to more modern modes of materials handling. A doomed effort in most cases.

Working Wagons Volume 3 1980 - 1984

David Larkin    [Publisher:  Santona  2001]    Softback    96 pages

The third and penultimate volume in David's review of the freight wagon on British Railways, covering the period from 1980 to 1984. Very clear photographs coupled with an insight into the business behind the wagons remain the hallmark of this series, all well produced in an A4 format on art paper.

Working Wagons Volume 4 1985 -1992

David Larkin    [Publisher:  Santona  2002]    Softback    96 pages

The concluding volume of this knowledgable author's account of British Railways freight wagons takes the story up to privatisation, when the author "put down his camera". The photographs are well taken and clear, providing ideal reference for modelling, and David also gives us an insider's view of the changes in freight on the railways during the last period when the railway system "ascribed to being a public service industry".