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Books Ba - Bo

by M. A. Tedstone                     

Almost a century has elapsed since the Barry 'Red Funnel Line' steamers disappeared from the Bristol Channel excursion scene, and although Barry Pier has gone, as has the railway that served it, the remains are yet visible, and so the memory of the handsome fleet of paddle-steamers that were based there lingers on. The recollections of those that travelled on the former Barry vessels that survived until World War II have been the stimulus to ask why it was that the White Funnel Fleet of Bristol was so challenged, at a key time of the evolution on the British paddle-steamer, by the upstart South Walian Barry Railway Company.

To understand the story of the so-called 'Barry & Bristol Channel Steamship Company' it is necessary to consider - on the one hand - the origins of the parent Barry Railway Company and - on the other - how P. & A. Campbell Ltd of Bristol with its 'White Funnel Fleet' became the dominant excursion-steamer operator in the Bristol Channel by the 1890s, the era in which this story starts.

The Barry Railway was very much a company created to serve a docks complex for the export of coal. Here, passenger train operations were somewhat secondary to the primary purpose of moving minerals traffic down from the various valleys. The company had succeeded in gaining access to numerous valleys already served by other railways in order to tap the abundant minerals traffics of the South Wales coalfield for export through its large new Barry Docks.

The White Funnel Fleet of the Bristol-based company of P. & A. Campbell Ltd had its origins as a purely excursion-steamer business trading in the Bristol Channel without any particular railway interests or involvement. The Campbell brothers saw how their rival Cardiff-based company Edwards, Robertson developed valuable links between its 'Yellow Funnel Fleet' and the powerful Taff Vale Railway for through ticketing between South Wales valleys towns and resorts in Devon and Somerset, via Cardiff and Penarth. But by the late 1890s the White Funnel Fleet of P. & A. Campbell Ltd had taken over the vessels of its Cardiff-based competitors, and the supremacy of the Bristol ships was clear to see.

Perhaps it was only natural that the Barry interests should seek to challenge those that were perceived as threatening. As the Barry Docks complex had taken shape, it was a relatively straightforward matter to extend passenger railway operations from Barry across to Barry Island for leisure traffic, and then to push further through tunnel to what was to become Barry Pier station, immediately adjacent to the main entrance lock to Barry Docks.

Although the Barry Railway thought in terms of controlling its own steamship operations from the outset, it was realised that this would meet with opposition from Campbells at Bristol with its large fleet, and so the Barry company initially settled for an alliance whereby the White Funnel Fleet of steamers served Barry Pier when it opened in 1899. But it was to be an uneasy alliance, and so the point was soon reached where the Barry company would feel obliged to go it alone. The struggle that followed was to be both litigious and complicated and the structure of this book is thus based on four distinct periods in the life of Barry Pier, in order to present a comprehensive picture of the passenger shipping activities of the Barry Railway Company. The first period covers the years up until 1904, before the railway company opted to purchase its own fleet The second period, which comprises the larger part of this account, spanned the years 1905-1909 when this new fleet was operated directly in connection with the Barry Railway, and when the head-on competition between red and white funnel interests was intense, and the legal battles were high-profile. A third, brief period came after the railway sold its three remaining vessels to a wholly separate undertaking who operated in the two seasons, 1910 and 1911. After this the red funnel disappeared from the Bristol Channel excursion passenger scene and the fourth and final period takes the story forward from 1912. This was when P. & A. Campbell Ltd took control, and ended in the 1970s, after services at Barry Pier had dwindled and were finally given up, and the pontoon dismantled.

This book is to A5 format with a laminated card cover with square-backed spine, 224 pages, including 4 pages of colour, with 128 illustrations. A 520mrnx395mm pull-out plan of the steam ships Gwalia and Devonia is also included.


ISBN 0 85361 635 3
ISBN 978 0 85361 635 1

£ 14.95

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LAWSON BILLINTON, A career cut short
by Klaus Marx

Lawson Billinton, the last of the London, Brighton & South Coast Railway's locomotive engineers, proved a fine craftsman over the 12 years of his reign at Brighton. Unfortunately, World War I intervened drastically to restrict his output to just 34 new build locomotives.

But it was his period of military service abroad that revealed the true character of the man who was able to meet every challenging situation, whether Bolshevik bullies or agitators amongst his own company's workforce.

Arriving at a promotional dead-end at the 'Big Four' Grouping in 1923, he elected in retirement to live the life of a country squire and devote himself to his family and friends, even building his own garden railway.


Appointed Locomotive Engineer
   Lawson Billinton's continuing career
The Early Years
   Assuming the regulator
   The 'E2' 0-6-0Ts
   The 'K' class Moguls
   The 'L' class Baltics
   Modifications to existing Stock
   Maintaining the infrastructure
The Years up to 1917
   The War Effect
   The Role of Newhaven
   The Company's general involvement
Relations with the Workforce
Military Service
   Destination Unknown
   The Russian Revolution
   Journey to Romania

   State of the Romanian Railways
   The situation in Romania deteriorates
   Transfer to the Caucasus
   The Fall of Rostov
   The Mission continues
   The Road to Vladivostok
   Return to Romania
   The First Interregnum
   Ambulance Trains
   Helping the war effort
   Jackson and the workforce
   Billinton back at the helm
   The Second Interregnum

The LB&SCR's Final Years
   Billinton back for good
   Winding down after the Armistice
   Updating the Plant

   Resumption of Electrification

   Attention to the Locomotive Fleet

   Resumption of the Locomotive Building

   The 'B4x' 'Greybacks'

   The run up to the Amalgamation

   A Career cut short

The Later Years

   Family and Farm

   The 'K' Class Model

   A Rare Appearance


Bibliography and Sources

A5 format, 192 pages with more than 150 photographs/plans etc., it has a glossy laminated cover with a square-backed spine.

ISBN 978 0 85361 661 0

£ 13.95

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ROBERT BILLINTON - An Engineer Under Pressure
by  Klaus Marx 

Robert Billinton strode the London, Brighton & South Coast Railway like a colossus, managing an elephantine department as Locomotive, Carriage and Wagon Superintendent with a brief to overview the Marine Department, the company’s engineering equipment, and 101 other matters that impinged on his expertise and required his attention.

He was the last of the autocrats to run his empire in true Victorian style and discipline, but times had changed with the new century as his successor, Marsh, found to his detriment. Robert’s widespread brief had its wings clipped by the new generation of company managers, who tightened up the laid back fashion in which things had been done, and he was a broken man in his final years. The demands on his attention were prolific and, despite a good staff team under his direction, the pressures on the man must have been immense.

Influenced by his experience with the Midland Railway, he nevertheless continued within the framework of practice set by Stroudley. To his credit he moved with the times, displayed a willingness to experiment and introduce new ideas, and kept the company abreast of modern developments. However, in many respects he was striving against a huge handicap, the cramped situation of the workshops at Brighton which were unable to keep up repairs of an expanding locomotive fleet. All too frequent breakdown of locomotives and lost time on services left Directors and public deeply concerned and with no immediate remedy in sight. Though the responsibility was his, the blame lay with the circumstances and a lack of forward planning by the company.

The book is to A5 format, it consists of 152 pages with 120 illustrations. It has a full colour gloss laminated cover and is perfect-bound.


ISBN 978 0 85361 676 4

£ 12.95

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by Dennis Herbert    
Dennis Herbert’s earliest childhood memories recall growing up on one of the many sprawling housing estates which were built in the Birmingham area in the 1920s and 1930s. We learn of his family members and also friends and neighbours on the estate. Dennis was a schoolboy during the war years, and by 1949 he was ready to seek employment. There was never much doubt where he would be working.

In those early years Dennis had discovered a life-long passion for railways, or perhaps he was brainwashed - his father was a locomotive fireman for the Great Western Railway at Tyseley. Occasionally, Dennis and his brother would be taken to Tyseley station to see their dad working on the shunting engine that worked in the goods yard adjacent to the station. As a small boy, the close proximity of this little locomotive became an ogre. With the locomotive wheels towering over him, it was little wonder that it took some time for his apprehension to pass.

Once on the footplate with his dad, however, the heat from the fire, combined with the smell of hot oil, the cab became narcotic. Meanwhile, Dennis’s poor mother was left to shiver on the exposed bridge!

On leaving school he was very disappointed to find that it was the locomotive department’s policy not to accept employees at less than 15½ years of age - he was five months short of this target. After a visit to Birmingham Snow Hill for the usual tests, eyesight,  colour blindness, etc., etc., Dennis was offered a job as lad porter at Acocks Green. By the end of 1949 he had transferred to the locomotive department at Tyseley. So started a career on the footplate which, over the course of its 40-plus years, was to see many changes on the railway.

Dennis worked his way through the ranks from humble engine cleaner to fireman, and in 1965 he was promoted to driver as the steam era was drawing to a close. Cutbacks, modernization and rationalization became the order of the day and for a while he became a ‘Put back driver’ before transferring to the former LMS shed at Saltley to resume driving duties once more.

Although steam power was no longer part of the daily scene Dennis was taken aback but delighted when, in 1973, he saw his name on a roster sheet to drive Sir Nigel Gresley’s Green Arrow and ‘A4’ Pacific No. 4498 Sir Nigel Gresley. As the years rolled by diesel locomotives which had been introduced in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s were subsequently replaced meaning that these engines too became the attraction for enthusiasts’ special trains and Dennis was to be rostered as a driver for the ‘Farewell to the Fifties’ railtour too.

This is the story a long and varied career which saw Dennis working on everything from the little tank engines that worked in and around Tyseley shed right through to top link driver on Royal Train duty.

A5 format, 272 pages with 105 illustrations and is printed on high quality art paper. It has a glossy colour card cover.


ISBN 978 0 85361 670 2

£ 15.95

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by Peter Paye

Peter Paye, eminent author on East Anglian branch line matters, turns his attention to the Bishop’s Stortford, Dunmow and Braintree branch, a railway he first wrote about almost 30 years ago. Here he presents, in much expanded and revised form, the story of the Bishop’s Stortford to Braintree branch. The line, nearly 18 miles in length, traversed a route across the undulating mid-Essex countryside running mostly at right angles to the river valleys with the result that the line had a veritable switchback of gradients.

The Bishop’s Stortford, Dunmow and Braintree Railway was initially the brainchild of East Hertfordshire businessmen, but their idea was quickly taken over by the Eastern Counties Railway as part of a political gamble to block opposing railway schemes from entering East Anglia. Even after the opposition withdrew, the ECR and later the Great Eastern Railway were undecided as to the future of the railway and legal wranglings with the contractor delayed the opening of the line for three years.

On opening to traffic the railway was absorbed by the Great Eastern and during the halcyon days before the advent of the motor vehicle, business was good and the branch provided an essential service to the local community.

As roads and motor vehicles improved, the parallel main road from Bishop’s Stortford to Braintree quickly attracted passengers away from the railway and trade rapidly declined to the extent that services were withdrawn in March 1952, a decade before the Beeching era.

Freight continued for a further period and then declined rapidly. The condition of the viaduct near Dunmow effectively led to the closure of the central section of the branch and thereafter the remaining sections at each end remained open for short periods before closing. Now all is silent, many fixed assets are gone.

Essex County Council has transformed the route of the railway into the ‘Flitch Way’, with warden centres using the former Takeley and Rayne stations, so that ramblers and equestrians can enjoy the delights of the countryside. However, with the further possible development of Stansted Airport, the section between Braintree and Takeley might yet revert to being an operational railway, but that will be for future historians to report.

352 pages    293 illustrations

Formative Years
Construction and Obstruction
The Great Eastern Takeover
Nationalization and Closure
The Route Described
Permanent Way, Signalling and Staff
Timetables and Traffic
Locomotives and Rolling Stock
Level Crossings


ISBN 978 0 85361 708 2

£ 19.95

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by P.H. Abell & I. McLoughlin

Taking 30 years of research, and three years to write, this is the first book to give a full detailed history of the early Blackpool tram fleet covering all trams built, from the conduit days (1885) to the year before the ‘Streamliners’ first arrived (1932). For the first time there are detailed notes on all liveries carried by the trams. The ‘Standard’ tram history is broken down to each individual tram. There is also a complete record of all works and illuminated cars constructed or converted from the 1885-1932 fleet. This book is an essential new work for the tramway and transport historian and tramway modeller alike. Illustrated with almost 200 photographs, maps and plans etc. A5 format, 224 pages, art paper throughout. Casebound, with a gold-blocked spine, printed endpapers and a full colour laminated colour.


ISBN 0 85361 503 9
ISBN 978 0 85361 503 3

£ 18.95

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by David Gould
A detailed history of the bogie carriages on the ‘Brighton Line’. From the grandeur of the Brighton’s Royal Train to the every day carriages used on the LB&SC lines, they are all covered here. The story of the LB&SC’s overhead electric service and the stock which worked it is also told here. 208 pages of text, plus 90 photographs on art paper 119 plans. A5 format, Linson cover.
X54 ISBN 0 85361 470 9
ISBN 978 0 85361 470 8

£ 12.90

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by David Gould

Covering the stock from the formation of the SE&CR until the last coaches went out of service in 1962, using official registers and carriage working notices and the author’s great knowledge of the subject. 208 pages text and diagrams, with 103 photographs on 48 pages of art paper. A5 format, two-colour Linson cover.

ISBN 0 85361 455 5
ISBN 978 0 85361 455 5

£ 10.95

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by S. Jordan
96 pages which includes 64 photographs, 14 maps and 15 plans making this book a thorough history of this Southern branch. A5 format. Two-colour Linson cover. Art paper throughout.






ISBN 0 85361 393 1
ISBN 978 0 85361 393 0

£ 4.95

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