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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.
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.
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.
J.H. Lewis M.E.M. Lloyd R.C. Metcalfe N.R. Miller [Publisher: HMRS 1980] Softback 56 pages
Out of print for quite a few years now, I have just discovered a small stock of this treatise on the well known and much modelled "Iron Mink" of the Great Western Railway. I love this book, and considering it is a simple history have found myself going back to it several times over the years that I have owned my copy. One reason is the inclusion of really good quality scale drawings and a lucid account of the types development, including numbering, service records and details of their use as gunpowder vans. The rear cover includes a glorious picture of an iron mink bodied "Ferrocrete" van, which Ratio made such a nice model of in 4mm scale.
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.
R.J. Essery [Publisher: Crecy 2010] Softback 180 pages
A very welcome reprint of one of the OPC "standard works" that so changed the face of railway publishing thirty odd years ago. This has been a consistently hard to find title second hand and contains detailed information on the brake vans, vans and open wagons that formed the backbone of freight operations on the steam railway. The drawings, all reproduced to 4mm scale, are taken from diagram books and so generally show details of bodywork but not underframe detail but the photograhic coverage of each type is very well done. This doesn't match the quality current generation of wagon books by Wild Swan, or example, but is nonetheless an invaluable source for modellers and those interested in the subject and well worth the cover price.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Ian Pope [Publisher: Lightmoor 2006] Hardback 240 pages
Covering the private owner wagons operated by businesses and coal merchants north of Bristol, this terrific book takes us on a logical tour around the county along its various railway routes, starting from the city of Gloucester. Owners include the Gloucester Railway Carriage and Wagon works itself, the Corporation and even a beehive manufacturer, amongst many others. The illustrations are very well reproduced and alongside the wagons themselves reveal fascinating details of businesses, their premises and railway infrastructure. A further volume is being prepared for South Gloucestershire.
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.
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.
David & Claire Williamson [Publisher: North Eastern Rly. Association 2014] Softback 88 pages
Well produced, well illustrated and with several very good general arrangement drawings, this is an excellent reference work on a hitherto neglected subject. Perfect for modellers but also a record of the deployment and operation of snow fighting equipment in the North East.
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!
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...
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.
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.
David Larkin [Publisher: Santona 1999] Softback 96 pages
Large format clear photographs of BR wagons in revenue earning service, together with copious notes and backgrounds to all the wagon types illustrated. Still a very traditional scene in the period under review, although a lot of the older pre nationalisation wagon types had by now gone. An enjoyable bonus in this book is the personal and amusing account of Davids interest in the subject and the techniques he employed to pursue wagons up and down the country - we are fortunate that he was so determined and successful.
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.
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".