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Ian Pope [Publisher: Lightmoor] Softback
Headlining with a wonderfully detailed delve into Hawthorn locomotives and the Leith Engine Works by Robert Humm, other articles include the early development of Port Penrhyn, an extended and very well illustrated piece on the Harecastle diversion and details of the obscure "Murad" car, which very nearly went into production after the War.
Kevin Robertson [Publisher: Transport Treasury] Hardback
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!
Peter Paye [Publisher: Lightmoor] Hardback
John Mair [Publisher: Oakwood] Softback
Derek Phillips [Publisher: Irwell Press] Hardback
This book describes the whole Somerset and Dorset railway system on a route by route basis, giving scale track plans and signalling diagrams for each location, accompanied by a large number of wonderful photographs. Drawn from many sources, these showing trains, stations, signal boxes, sheds, signals and a really good number of "out of the way" views, all presented with detailed captions and a good historical account of the line itself. There is so much to like in this book, views and scenes I have never seen in print before, a good number of pre BR and earlier photographs and overall an absolute wealth of detail and information on numerous aspects of this legendary railway. Views include classic and beautifully composed shots from the late Ivo Peters and G A Richardson, famous for their own S&D books back in the day, but also a very large number drawn from less well known photographers. Chief among these are the incredible record photographs of the line in its last years taken by the late John Eyers, who photographed views and details of the line that no reasonable person could expect to see in print, especially 55 years after the whole system was extinguished. The book opens with a revealing account of the railway life of Les Willsher from the Second World War on the line up to closure. Told to Derek when he was researching his earlier book in 1990, it is an unusually honest and moving recollection which gives a good sense of the pitfalls and dangers of a railway life in the days of steam. If I was forced to make a criticism, it would only be that some of the Jon Ayers pictures are a little on the grainy side, but this will only be a reflection of the quality of the original material I am sure, the reproduction and printing of this book is very good indeed. In summary, a significant new book on its subject and one that will appeal to all S&D fans and many more besides, I have added a copy to my own book collection.
Laurence Ince [Publisher: Lightmoor] Softback
Andrew Malthouse and Kevin Robertson [Publisher: Transport Treasury] Softback
A sort of cross between Southern Way and Great Western Journal, nicely produced with a wide variety of articles, including some decent earlier material. There is good use of colour and one guesses that all of the images are sourced from the Transport Treasury collection. Accreditation of images varies, I know I'm a boring old fart but I could do with a little more attention being paid to this aspect of the whole business. That said I'm sure this will be welcome and look forward to the production of future editions, there are certainly some great articles in this first edition.