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Railway Pictorial & Reference Books

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Aberllefenni A Slate Landscape

Peter & Ginny Barnfield, Wes Magee    64 pages    Softback    2017

A visually stunning photographic record of the quarry at Aberllefenni, recorded by Peter Barnfield in the hot summer of 1976. At this time the narrow gauge railway was still being used to transport slate down to the cutting shed in the village, trains being hauled along the line by an old tractor. Peter was quite taken with this and there are a lot of pictures of both the railway operation and the rolling stock and trackwork used, all of which will appeal to enthusiasts and modellers of the narrow gauge. The book also features poetry from Wes Magee, written at the time and not suffering from "tweeness" - a first for Wild Swan I think?

Birmingham New Street LMS Days 1923 to 1947

Richard Foster    126 pages    Softback    1997

Including the earlier "Curzon Street" station, latterly used as a goods station, this is a readable and wide ranging description and examination of the railways and their operation in and around Birmingham. Photographic coverage is excellent and nearly forty pages are devoted to the freight operation, a fascinating subject in its own right but especially so in Britain's "second city". This is an under rated book I think, also including a section on train control.

Camp Coach Holidays On The GWR

Mike Fenton    218 pages    Hardback    1999

A really beautiful book, a superlatively well illustrated record of the Great Western's camping coach scheme before the war. The author has undertaken an enormous amount of research to produce this account, meeting and getting to know many folk who took such holidays in this period, and the result is a warm and personal record of life in the 1930s. The photographs are largely from personal collections, and contain a surprisingly large amount of detail and information of railway interest. I think that this is railway publishing at its very best, and all credit is due to the author and his publishers for producing such a valuable and charming book.

D.J. Norton's pictorial survey of Railways in the West Midlands Part One

R.J. Esssery    144 pages    Softback    2008

The first of three volumes, published simultaneously, which record the railway scene in the West Midlands as seen through the camera of Dennis John Norton. Possessing an official lineside pass, his rather liberal interpretation of "lineside" resulted in an outstanding and unusual record of the subjects he chose to photograph. This apart, he was one of the relatively few railway photographers who recorded infrastructure as well as the trains, often at times of significant change or unusual activity. This first volume covers the LMS western division lines, starting with Coventry and New Street and going through to Dudley and Lichfield.

D.J. Norton's pictorial survey of Railways in the West Midlands Part Three

R.J. Essery    112 pages    Softback    2008

The final volume of three, which record the railway scene in the West Midlands as seen through the camera of the late Dennis John Norton. Possessing an official lineside pass, his rather liberal interpretation of "lineside" resulted in an outstanding and unusual record of the subjects he chose to photograph. This apart, he was one of the relatively few railway photographers who recorded infrastructure as well as the trains, often at times of significant change or unusual activity. The time period covered is up until 1965 when he sadly died prematurely from an asthma attack. This final volume covers the Birmingham and Gloucester Railway and the later lines connected to it.

D.J. Norton's pictorial survey of Railways in the West Midlands Part Two

R.J. Essery    112 pages    Softback    2008

The second of three volumes, published simultaneously, which record the railway scene in the West Midlands as seen through the camera of Dennis John Norton. Possessing an official lineside pass, his rather liberal interpretation of "lineside" resulted in an outstanding and unusual record of the subjects he chose to photograph. This apart, he was one of the relatively few railway photographers who recorded infrastructure as well as the trains, often at times of significant change or unusual activity. This second volume covers the former Birmingham and Derby Junction Railway lines and later lines connecting to it.

Didcot Engineman

Bernard Barlow    264 pages    Hardback    1994

Beautifully assembled and presented, as you would expect, but more importantly a very well written and intelligent account of one man's career on the footplate, based mostly at Didcot, as the title suggests. The photographs accompanying the text are of a very high quality, and are very relevant to the narrative, astonishingly so in several cases. Spanning the War years, with all its attendant upset and disruption, Bernard's amazingly detailed recollections provide us with a fascinating insight into a lost way of life.

Diesel Hydraulics a Colour Retrospective

Andrew Vines    128 pages    Hardback    2021

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.

Edwardian Enterprise GWR

Norris, Beale and Lewis    208 pages    Hardback    1987

A collection of well illustrated essays describing and illustrating a period of great expansion on the Great Western Railway, the time when the network was finally completed by the construction of high speed or more direct routes and cut offs all over the system. Many other developments are featured, from electric suburban workings through "auto trains" to major new freight facilities. Canons Marsh goods depot in Bristol is shown when new and in use, very different to its current rather strange appearance as part of a recent redevelopment.

Folkestone's Railways

Brian Hart    94 pages    Softback    2002

Another superlative production from this most reliable of publishers, beautifully put together and laid out, and a real pleasure to handle and read. The author has a deep knowledge and affection for the Folkestone and its railways, being born there in 1949 and getting to know the steam age railway and its personalities well. This book details the story of the railway's construction and development up until 1960, and covers the harbour branch and main line developments equally well. The photographic content is excellent, with much of Pre-Grouping interest being evident in addition to a few charming snaps from the Hart family album - wonderful.

Goods Traffic of the LNER

Geoff Goslin    112 pages    Softback    2002

Much has been written about passenger train operation over the years, whilst the less glamorous goods side of things has been rather overlooked, despite being the prime source of income to most railways in the days when they "paid their way". For the LNER at least, this book seeks to redress the balance, although the coverage has had to be selective owing to the large size of the subject. Starting with a survey of locomotive types, contrasting geographical goods areas and their traffics and services are then examined in more detail. Well illustrated throughout, the result is a reminder of the enormous scale of the operation in the days when everything went by rail.

Great Western Pictorial No 2 The Hubback Collection

John Hodge    92 pages    Hardback    1999

Definitely one for the Great Western fans amongst us, a classic album of trains, mainly taken during the zenith of steam on the South Wales and West of England main lines. There is particularly good coverage of South Wales, and train compositions are shown to good effect.

Great Western Pictorial No 3 The Tony Sterndale Collection

Sue Sterndale    102 pages    Hardback    2006

Tony Sterndale worked in the drawing office of Swindon Works in the late 1940s and photographed locomotives old and new, both in the works and on the nearby main lines. The result is a unique insiders view of much of the locomotive changes taking place at the time together with the wider activities undertaken at Swindon Works. The images are all of high quality and well printed, generally "loco-centric" but depicting their subjects, many of which are delightfully humble and obscure, in wonderful detail.

GWR Goods Services Part 2A Goods Depots and Their Operation

Tony Atkins    180 pages    Softback    2007

A much more pictorial book than part one which introduced the subject, and surely the best yet published pictorial reference of the era when railways were true common carriers. In detail the book first covers depots and their work in general terms, wagon categories and transfer before going on to describe London area depots in detail. There are any number of really interesting and informative views in this book, personal favourites include the Park Royal estate railway, the Guinness works and the incredible system of wagon turntables under Smithfield Market. An invaluable reference for those interested in the handling of freight in the railway age, whatever one's company prefences may be.

GWR Goods Services Part 2B Goods Depots and their Operation

Tony Atkins    199 pages    Softback    2010

This, the third of a series of three, cover goods yards and their operation and is far and away the most pictorial of the series so far. It covers all of the Bristol, Birmingham and Cardiff area depots in detail in addition to Ross on Wye to represent one of the many smaller depots. A final chapter details various improvements across the system and features very good detailed pictures of improving and evolving freight facilities. These include two cracking views of the new (1906) facilities at Bath and loading china clay directly from lorry to wagon at St Austell in 1931, amongst much else. Details of station truck working over several time periods and also direct wagons being run on a regular basis in 1923 further illustrate the complexity of freight operations being run - and all done without computers.

GWR Goods Services: An Introduction

Tony Atkins and David Hyde    142 pages    Softback    2000

As this is the first book of what will be a series, covering the subject in considerable detail, it is a little more "wordy" than one might expect. Do not let this put you off however - it is well worth reading. It sets out the historical background and technical details of the subject before moving on to describe the different sources of traffic across all of the company's goods districts. The photographs included are of considerable interest, showing many facilities and aspects of goods handling in great detail and, amongst other views there is an "Aberdare" hauled goods (including an LSWR van) passing through Bath before Oldfield Park halt was built. It is strangely uncredited as such and appears on page 59. I am very much looking forward to future volumes, and the publisher and authors are to be applauded for shedding light into a fascinating but neglected part of british railway history.

LMS Lineside Part One

V. R. Anderson & H. N. Twells    112 pages    Softback    2007

Subtitled "An LMS Journal Handbook", this covers the multiplicity of stations and station styles that the LMS inherited, with sub sections covering footbridges, lamps and station nameboards. A treasure trove of architectural styles and great modelling inspiration.

LMS Lineside Part Two

V.R. Anderson & H.N. Twells    102 pages    Softback    2009

This volume covers railway signage, timetables, poster boards platform numbering, seats and trolleys. Numerous photographs from across the whole LMS system and dimensioned drawings of each sort of fitting will enable modelers to detail their miniature worlds in appropriate style, whilst others will be entertained by a slightly "sideways" look at the old LMS. Fittings covered are not just the LMS designs but also those of the constituent companies, even down to a few bits on the S&D.

LMS Lineside Special offer

Andersen & Twells    214 pages    Softback    2009

A limited offer for both parts one and two. Individual copies remain available at their original prices only.

Memories of Railway Journeys In Wales 1961-1964

Peter Barnfield    112 pages    Softback    2017

The third of Peter's books of memories of railway journeys, this one covering south and mid Wales and largely covering lines and routes which are no longer available to rail travellers. Nostalgic and funny by turns and accompanied by a superb photographic record of everything, every picture bar one being taken by Peter himself. I really enjoyed all of it, if I had to pick a favourite section it would probably be that which describes the "Seven Mile Bank" on the Brecon and Merthyr - what a railway that was!

Memories Of The Withered Arm

Peter Barnfield    96 pages    Softback    2016

Recollections and beautiful pictures of a lost railway network, the landscape it ran through and the people who used it. This is a new edition of a booklet Peter published 20 years ago, this book including Peter's own photographs from the period. Most of the images presented in this book are photographs that Peter took on the journeys described and relate directly to them, while others are from other visits made to the locations in the same period. It is a huge privilege to have been entrusted with publishing Peter's material, a lot of which hasn't been seen in print before, and it gives me great pleasure to see his wonderful images together in one book. The book also includes a chapter from Peter discussing the background to the story and his approach to photography, including details of the cameras used.

Memories of West Country Railway Journeys 1960-1962

Peter Barnfield    120 pages    Softback    2017

Railway journeys on ex GW lines in the West Country, recalled from notes made at the time and profusely illustrated with the author's own photographs, taken on the journeys described but also on other dates too. Having said this is all ex GW, the book includes a particularly delightful journey from Evercreech to Burnham on Sea which takes us all the way from page 48 to page 73. Unlike Peter's earlier "Withered Arm" book, with which this volume is physically uniform, this book includes a number of views of diesels and multiple units, which had started to operate over Western lines by the time of these journeys.

New Century On The South Eastern & Chatham Railway

John Minnis    40 pages    Softback    1985

A selection of the best photographs taken by A.F. Selby, which came to John Minis in the form of two albums of photographs in 1983. Not just locomotives, carriages are well featured in addition to some interesting steam railmotor views and the general lineside scene.

The North & West Route Volume 1 Shrewsbury

John Hodge    154 pages    Hardback    2007

The first part of a detailed exploration of the railway route from Shrewsbury to Newport, copiously illustrated and featuring detailed maps and plans of the numerous installations. Traffic from the other lines feeding Shrewsbury are also considered in this beautifully produced record of the age of steam.

The North & West Route Volume 2 Shrewsbury & Hereford

John Hodge    170 pages    Hardback    2008

The second volume in this very pleasing pictorial series which covers the 50 mile joint GWR and LMS line between the towns in the title in BR steam days. A well informed text and large scale OS map sections are given for each location and the whole gives a very full impression of a fascinating route which carried a wide variety of both through and local trafffic.

The North & West Route Volume 3A Hereford to Abergavenny Jct.

John Hodge    140 pages    Hardback    2011

A continuation of John Hodge's journey down the North and West route, this volume taking us from Hereford with its complex of junctions and connections down as far as Abergavenny Junction. Although this route remains largely manually signalled in the 21st Century the scenes depicted in this beautiful book are from a completely different age.

The North & West Route Volume 3B Abergavenny Brecon Road To Maindee Junction

John Hodge    148 pages    Hardback    2011

From the northern approaches to Abergavenny down to the main line Maindee junction at Newport in glorious black and white detail. The complex of lines and yards around Pontypool Road are very well covered, an astonishing contrast to what's there now.

Off Northampton Shed - The Reminiscences of an LMS Fireman

Derek Mutton    186 pages    Hardback    2006

A well written account of a footplate career, starting in the War years and stretching for thirteen years until 1956, when the author left to join the Metropolitan Police. Covering the late War years, the ensuing austerity and "culminating" in the ASLEF strike and the consequent bitterness, this is a perceptive and interesting account of the railway industry. The publisher worked very hard to get photographs to accompany Derek's book and the result is an extraordinarily good visual record of the railway landscape in which the book's story is told.

Raymond Williams' LMS Steam in the Thirties

Peter J. Boswell and R. J. Essery    90 pages    Hardback    2002

A rather nicely produced "traditional" photograph album of LMS engines, mainly taken on the Western and Midland divisions between 1935 and 1939. What distinguishes this book is the quality of the photographs, there are some very fine locomotive portraits included..

Somerset and Dorset Swansong

Bob Bunyar    96 pages    Softback    2016

The first of a new format of book from Wild Swan, the same size as the old "Bradford Barton" books, but produced as a sewn softback and printed to high standards by Amadeus. This first is a recollection of the last weekend over the Somerset and Dorset by Bob Bunyar, which includes a chapter on the years leading up to the end and selected events following the closure. Copiously illustrated in both black and white and in colour, and featuring many views that have not been published before.

The Somersetshire Coal Canal A Second Pictorial Journey

Roger Halse    56 pages    Softback    2011

Originally published by Millstream, this is a delightful collection of images of the Somersetshire Coal Canal, built at the beginning of the Eighteenth Century and closed by railway competition by 1900. The course of the canal was subsequently used by both the Somerset and Dorset Railway's Bath extension of 1874 and the Great Western's Camerton Branch, opened in 1911. Forty years later Monkton Combe station on the GWR branch was immortalised as Titfield in the Ealing Studios film "The Titfield Thunderbolt".

The South Wales Main Line - Part One - Cardiff

John Hodge    100 pages    Hardback    2000

A high quality pictorial album illustrating the railway and traffic of the 1950s and 1960s in an area of great importance to the Great Western and later Western Region of British Railways. Includes large scale OS map extracts which show the huge scale of the steam age railway in this busy area.

The South Wales Main Line - Part Two - Severn Tunnel to Newport

John Hodge    116 pages    Hardback    2002

Further coverage of this main line from the busy yards of Severn Tunnel Junction to Ebbw Junction on the West of Newport. Superb photographs coupled with large scale OS map extracts to the same high quality as part 1.

The South Wales Main Line Part Five Swansea to Llanelly

John Hodge    112 pages    Hardback    2015

We continue our pictorial journey along the South Wales main line, travelling from Swansea to Llanelly, via both the main line and Swansea District lines. As in previous volumes, John Copsey has provided extensive information on train workings which add much to the value of these books.

The South Wales Main Line Part Four Bridgend (West) to Swansea

John Hodge    171 pages    Hardback    2005

The fourth part of John's photographic survey of the Great Western's South Wales main line, covering the line as it sweeps West and then North West from the rural landscape of South Glamorgan through to the heavy industries along the coastal strip and on into Swansea.

The South Wales Main Line Part Three Cardiff (West) to Bridgend

John Hodge    100 pages    Hardback    2004

More superb photography as John describes and illustrates the section of main line closest to his home, from west of Cardiff (covered in part 1) on through St Fagans to Bridgend. As with all the books in this series, the traffic and trains running off the main line onto branches and industries are also well featured.

Swindon Engineman

Gordon Shurmer & Mike Fenton    246 pages    Hardback    2006

The culmination of many conversations between the two authors, this magnificent book is both a celebration and chronicle of the life and railway footplate career of Gordon Shurmer and a record of Swindon's locomotive shed. The relevance and quality of the extensive photographs accompanying these parallel stories are most impressive, all with informative and relevant captions, and the whole book is thoroughly researched and well presented. Along the way the book also brings back to life numerous services and stations on the lines through Wiltshire, including a number of workings at Chippenham and along the strangely neglected (from a publishing pint of view) original main line through Wiltshire.

The Titfield Thunderbolt The story of a much loved film

Simon Castens    192 pages    Hardback    2023

Newly reprinted, at the same price and in the same format as the original book, but including a number of minor corrections together with a new photograph. Beautifully laid out by Steve Phillips and well received, this is a well produced quality hardback book, which tells the detailed story of where how and why the film was made. It includes details of all of the railway stock and locations featured in the film and forms a great source book for modellers, drawing upon numerous sources and including 321 photographs and 9 plans. Beautifully produced and touching upon numerous subjects and stories, including anecdotes and information on the key people involved in the filming, this is a book that will appeal to both enthusiasts and also anyone with an interest and affection for the optimism and hope that once existed in this beautiful country of ours.