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Books D, E

DAD HAD AN ENGINE SHED - Some childhood railway reminiscences of a North Wales shedmaster’s son
by Anthony J Robinson

Railways were very much ‘in the blood’ John Eric Robinson (dad), born in Crewe in 1902, the second child and the eldest son of John Robinson, assistant chief electrical engineer to the London & North Western Railway. John Robinson was in turn the eldest son of the redoubtable (and famous) Ben Robinson who had enjoyed the distinction of having driven the Royal train more frequently than any other man of his era and he was at the controls of No. 790 Hardwicke on its record-breaking run during the ‘Race to the North’ in 1895.

Around about 1910 John Robinson moved the family to Wembley following a promotion to the head office at Euston. On leaving school in 1919 J.E. Robinson gained a position in the LNWR workshops which were part of Willesden sheds. It was the start of a career on the railway that was to span more than 45 years.


Most of those years were spent in North Wales on sheds associated with the Chester & Holyhead Railway. He moved to Llandudno Junction in 1925 as a fitter and remained there for 20 years. In 1945 he was promoted to leading fitter at Rhyl and another promotion, in 1948, saw him achieve the position of shedmaster at Sowerby Bridge in Yorkshire.

Keen to get back to North Wales, early in 1952 he applied for the shedmaster’s job at Mold Junction. The importance of Mold Junction shed was essentially in its freight engine stud and what was for the area one of the finest locomotive handling facilities available.

Who today could image someone in charge of over 200 men and 60-odd locomotives living in a council house and going to work on a bicycle! Working five full days a week plus Saturday and Sunday mornings and having to be on permanent standby day and night for breakdowns and, yes, for no extra pay at that! It has been written elsewhere that a typical shedmaster had to have the powers of judgement of Solomon, the ingenuity of Trevithick, the stubbornness of Stephenson, the leadership skills of Patton, the negotiating powers of Kissinger and the memories of several elephants! Well, J.E. Robinson would probably would have failed on the last one, so to counteract this he meticulously kept a diary of all his work activities from 1922 right through to 1965. His selfless devotion to duty was not unusual to men of his ilk, a job well done usually the only reward. This leadership by example imbibed similar qualities in others responsible for the smooth running of the various departments within an engine shed. To say that he was a hard working man would be an understatement in the extreme!

A5 format, 184 pages with 138 illustrations. The book has a laminated card cover with a square-backed spine.


ISBN 978 0 85361 707 5

£ 12.95
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DAVINGTON LIGHT RAILWAY - A World War I Narrow Gauge Railway in Kent - New Enlarged Edition
by M. Minter Taylor

The story of this little known narrow gauge (3 ft 3 in.) railway was first published by the Oakwood Press in 1968. This new edition has been expanded to twice its original size. Secrecy surrounded the railway’s construction and operation during its brief existence. Newspapers were not allowed to publish articles or photographs of the railway, and the public were not permitted to travel on the line.


The recipe for the story of the Davington Light Railway is unusual, its ingredients – war, gunpowder and people. The railway only had a short life, but on a normal working day more than 2,600 workers journeys were made. This was the time of the Great War, and here is the history of a railway which grew from war’s appetite.

Much has happened since the first edition of this title saw the light of day. Two of the three Manning, Wardle locomotives, Nos. 2 and 3, were found in Santa Caterina, Brazil, in 1971. Then owned by the Compania Docas Imbituba, this dock company later donated these engines to the planned railway museum at Tubarao, Santa Caterina. Extraordinarily those are not the only locomotives associated with Davington that have survived into preservation. Ruston, Proctor No. 51168, which was built to operate on the internal munitions factory railways at Uplees, was sold to a china clay works near St Austell in Cornwall where it lay dormant for many years.

Preface and Introduction
Gunpowder: A Napoleonic Backlash
   Davington and Faversham
   The Faversham explosives industry
   Events leading up to the opening of the Davington Light Railway

The Railway
   The route described
   The timetable
   Fares and tickets
Rolling stock
   Contractor’s locomotives
   Main line locomotives
   Factory engines

Lost and Found in Brazil

A5 format, 48 pages, with 47 images.

ISBN 978 0 85361 734 1

£ 7.95

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DERBY DAYS - Memories of a Midland Railwayman
by John Weston

Unlike many other railwaymen John Weston did not come from a family steeped in generations of railway service. Early chapters evoke memories of what it was like to grow up in rural Derbyshire. It was a tough life, and the author’s father worked an 84-hour week in a limeworks and also had a 14-acre smallholding to manage.

John’s working life started in 1934 as a gardener at a country house. He first joined the railway in 1937 with around 30 young men who had started work as engine cleaners at Derby No. 4 shed at the same time, but after nine months, two or three were made redundant without the option of transferring away, but John was one of half a dozen who were sent to Camden shed in London. After a mere two weeks, he too was made redundant. He returned to the Derbyshire countryside, working in a team with a traction engine and threshing machine.

By May 1939 the London, Midland & Scottish Railway in Derby was recruiting again and John was back on the railway - he went on to give more than 40 years of service to the LMS and its successors.

Starting off as engine cleaner, hoping one day you would reach the position of fireman, working with men who would be anything from 20 to 40 years older than himself. There were many experienced and highly competent engine drivers, which is what he aspired to be one day, able to work any class of train over any section of the line. Main line duties included working between Manchester Central and London St Pancras, plus services in the Peak District and to Bristol (on the Lickey Incline), and Chester as well as on many other routes. However, some men preferred to work on local trips, shed or shunting duties. 

At a big locomotive depot, which Derby No. 4 shed certainly was, the young engine cleaners recruited in the Autumn of 1937 had a hard and slow journey in their path to becoming a driver. Some fell out along the way, but most who came back to No. 4 shed after a period of redundancy stuck it out right through to retirement.

A long journey, but what a journey! It was one that spanned the years when the steam engine was the king of the road, to the days when it was shunted into the breakers yard, to be replaced by the more efficient, but less loved diesel traction. Thousands of enginemen served their time at Derby No. 4 shed in the steam era. This is the story of one of those engineman, of all the highs and lows, of a journey through a career spanning the hard times of the 1930s, World War II, post-war austerity, nationalization and the ultimately demise of the steam locomotive. 

Living Off the Land
Home and Hearth
All in a Day’s Work
The Tramp of Many Feet
A Job for Life?
Up the Smoke
A Return to my Roots
Back to No. 4 Shed
Shunting and Marshalling Yards
Homes from Home
Some Personalities
Whatever the Weather
Travel by Rail
Blacker than Night
The Class of ‘41
All Change
Life with the Lubricator
Fit for Heroes?
Cold Comfort
Jolly George
It isn’t the Money, It’s the Principle
Another Kind of Union
The Driving Test
From Fireman to Driver
Going to Town
The Tracks of My Years
‘Can I Cab it Mister?’
The Beeching Years
End of the Line

To A5 format, the book consists of 208 pages, with 117 images. It is printed on art paper throughout and has a laminated card cover with a square-packed spine.

ISBN 978 0 85361 724 2

£ 15.95

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by J. E. Chacksfield

The Drummond brothers were notable amongst Scottish engineers in that both of them became Locomotive Superintendents. Dugald, the eldest, has always been lauded as an outspoken and very capable engineer, so much so, that his brother Peter has been somewhat overshadowed. Strangely, their life stories have never appeared in biographical form. This book is intended to put that right. They began by working closely together for almost 20 years in Scotland before an opportunity in Australia came Dugald's way. After this event, which turned out abortive, their careers followed separate paths, Dugald for a short while as an industrialist in Scotland followed by a return to the railway scenario in England and Peter climbing the ladder to the top in Scotland. Their respective careers are treated separately after coverage of their times together and their locomotive achievements on both sides of the Border covered along with their individual family lives to give a comparative picture of English and Scottish pre-Grouping railway life.

Researching this biography has flushed out several hitherto unpublished facts which give a good account of the brothers respective backgrounds. Dugald comes across as not only outspoken and blunt but with a strong streak of humanity and understanding when needed. Peter was a disciple of his brother's ways but not afraid of going his own way once the strong influence of Dugald had faded.

It is hoped that this biography will plug a gap in railway history associated with a pair of very capable Scottish engineering brothers.

A5 format, 168 pages, 150 illustrations.


ISBN 0 85361 632 9
ISBN 978 0 85361 632 0

£ 12.95
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DUNDEE & NEWTYLE RAILWAY including the Alyth and Blairgowrie Branches
by Dr Niall Ferguson
The Dundee and Newtyle Railway (the first railway north of the River Tay) obtained its Act of Parliament before Stephenson’s ‘Rocket’ ran at Rainhill, yet its important place in the early history of the railways of Scotland in particular, and the United Kingdom in general has received little recognition. The line was originally built to 4 ft 6 in. gauge, with rope worked inclines en route. The inclines were eventually eliminated and the route converted to standard gauge. It is impossible to write a history of the Dundee and Newtyle Railway without also describing the branches to Blairgowrie and Alyth, whose operations were intimately linked with the Dundee and Newtyle, so their history from construction to closure is also covered. A5 format with 248 pages of text including 53 maps, plans and drawings, plus 64 pages of art paper containing 125 photographs, with endpapers and casebound with a gold-blocked spine and a laminated dust jacket.

ISBN 0 85361 476 8
ISBN 978 0 85361 476 0

£ 19.50

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by Andrew Hadjucki, Mike Jodeluk & Alan Simpson                                                
The East Fife Central Railway, perhaps better known to all and sundry as the ‘Lochty Line’, was a rural byway with an interesting but somewhat sad history and, although it never lived up to the expectations of its promoters, it nevertheless managed to hang on to life until the era of Beeching and economic reality. From a junction with the Leven and East of Fife line near to the Haig distillery at Cameron Bridge, this most obscure of country railways valiantly climbed at a steady but taxing gradient through Kennoway and into that area of little known upland known as the Rigging of Fife. The line, having exhausted the meagre traffic possibilities of the village of Largoward and the farms around it then managed to end its 14½ mile wanderings by petering out near to the farm of Lochty, a place that was of little consequence and lay literally in the middle of nowhere. Such industrial potential as the line might have had was lost early on and for 50 years or more the lightly loaded thrice-weekly trains that served this unimportant limb of the North British managed to carry an ever-decreasing
amount of coal and agricultural produce to the scattered communities of this beautiful inland area of the part of the county better known for its nearby seaside resorts and harbours of the East Neuk.

A brief service of workmen’s trains for the colliers of Largobeath carried the only regular passengers on the line and the branch had become well and truly forgotten long before its final demise in the summer of 1964. Then, in an unexpected coda, the last mile or so found a new life a couple of years later as the Lochty Private Railway where a totally out of place ‘A4’ express locomotive trundled up and down with a sole coach – a far cry from the days when it was the pride of the East Coast main line from Kings Cross to Edinburgh. Other stock followed but a quarter of a century later fate took another turn and what was Scotland’s pioneer heritage railway line finally closed to all traffic in 1992 and from then on the rolling countryside of the Rigging once again resumed its quiet slumbers uninterrupted by the railway engine and clanking wagons of a previous era.

Over the Hills and Far Away:
   The Genesis of the East Fife Central
Rapid Progress:
   The Building of the East Fife Central
Not as Expected:
    The Early Years of the East Fife Central
Coal to the Rescue?:
    The North British Era Continued
Through the Buffers:
    The London & North Eastern Railway
Infrequent Appearances:
    The British Railways Era
A Picturesque Piece of Country:
    The East Fife Central Described
Train Staffs and Traffic:
    Working the Lochty Branch
The Phoenix on the Farm:
    The Lochty Private Railway 1967-1992
Sources, Acknowledgements and Bibliography

In this, the final volume of our railway rambles around the east of Fife, we take our leave and can only hope that, once the Galashiels line has re-opened, the Scottish Government will turn its pro-railway endeavours to two of the Fife lines that certainly deserve similar considerations, the branches to Leven and St Andrews. Alas, however, it is too late for the Lochty line to benefit from such largesse and to those who feel that this now forgotten lonely branch line should never have been closed there are undoubtedly more who think that, in retrospect, it should never have been built in the first place!

A5 format, 104 pages, 100 images.


ISBN 978 0 85361 738 9

£ 10.95

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THE EAST KENT RAILWAY - Vol. One: The History of the Independent Railway
by M. Lawson Finch & S. R. Garrett                                                 
It must be said that, for the light railway enthusiast and to the many who find pleasure in the unusual or eccentric, the East Kent Railway was a delight. For many it was a last link with the disappearing relics of a bygone age; an age of benevolent gentry in high wing collars and drooping moustaches, each and every one of whom was endowed with the capacity, obvious from the straining buttons of their waistcoats, for enjoying numerous celebratory luncheons. It was an age when ordinary people were much nearer to nature than they are today and if it was a beautiful day everyone knew it and the guard would most likely comment upon it. It was also an age when individual contribution seemed to count for something, if the carpenter-painter put the wrong markings on a carriage door it remained good subject for conversation for a lifetime.
For many the passing of the 'East Kent Light' has closed forever the door to a retreat where, for a shilling or so, one could shed many burdens and return fortified against the tedium of modem existence. Without such sanctuaries many of us are lost indeed.

The book is to A5 format, it consists of 232 pages, with 110 illustrations. It is printed on art paper throughout and has a laminated card colour cover, perfect bound with a square-backed spine.

ISBN 0 85361 608 6
ISBN 978 0 85361 608 5

£ 14.95

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THE EAST KENT RAILWAY - Vol. Two: Nationalisation, the Route, Rolling Stock and Operation
by M. Lawson Finch & S. R. Garrett                                 

Volume Two of The East Kent Railway documents the final years, and then offers a comprehensive survey of the railway's various routes using maps and plans as well as numerous photographs.

The locomotive and rolling stock on the East Kent Railway was just one of the features that set the EKR apart from other railways and offered rich diversity. It is studied here in great detail.  The operation of trains is examined as we look at timetables, signalling, permanent way, tickets, staffing and profit and loss.

The book is to A5 format, it consists of 240 pages, with 210 illustrations. It is printed on art paper throughout and has a laminated card colour cover, perfect bound with a square-backed spine.


ISBN 0 85361 609 4
ISBN 978 0 85361 609 2

£ 14.95

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THE EDEN VALLEY RAILWAY  - New Enlarged Edition
by Robert Western
This railway was the first to serve the beautiful verdant and fertile Eden Valley. The line connected the Cumbrian town of Penrith with the Westmorland market towns of Appleby and Kirkby Stephen. At Kirkby Stephen it formed a junction with the North Eastern Railway’s Stainmore Route giving access to Darlington and the North-East. The Midland Railway’s Settle & Carlisle line came to the Eden Valley later, and the two railways crossed (and became physically connected to each other) at Appleby.

The first regular passenger trains ran in 1862 and these continued for almost a century. But this was not the end of the story - the section between Appleby and Warcop was used into the 1980s to serve the Ministry of Defence depot.

First published in 1997, this title has been long out of print. At the time of the book’s original publication, the first signs of a railway revival in the Eden Valley were emerging.


This new enlarged edition brings the story up to date and records the activities of both the Eden Valley Railway Trust (at Warcop) and Stainmore Properties (at Kirkby Stephen) and the return of trains to both locations in a new chapter ‘Revival’.


A5 format, 128 pages, with 122 images.

That Other Eden
Ideas and Proposals (1854-1858)
The Prospectus
Cutting the First Sod (1858)
Construction (1858-1866)
Further Developments
Enter the Midland (1876-1893)
The Middle Years (1893-1952)
Operational Procedures and Motive Power
The Fight for Survival (1952-1962)
The Aftermath
Some Significant Dates in the History of the EVR
Author’s Note
Sources and Locations


ISBN 978 0 85361 735 8

£ 9.95

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by A.A. Maclean                 

The Edinburgh Suburban line was the Victorian equivalent of today’s ring road, designed and built to relieve congestion on an overburdened yet still developing urban transport network. Starting life as a legally independent company, its prime function was to provide a through route for freight around the capital, passenger potential being negligible, but the city was slowly expanding in its direction.

A passenger service was introduced shortly after opening, the number and location of stations being defined by assessed viability. As the city expanded, the stations became surrounded by domestic, commercial and industrial buildings and became centres of their respective communities. As ‘town offices’ for the NBR, they functioned as ‘rail shops’ between trains, revenue and statistics being perhaps artificially inflated by bookings from Waverley with no suburban railway element. Passengers on return portions of tickets were also discounted!

Early local freight was buoyant and diverse but mainly cattle, agricultural, or from collieries. Brewery sidings came later. Decline of these basic industries after the Great War and the advent of the ubiquitous electric tramcar seriously affected local revenue - freight and coaching. Unfettered road competition grew after 1919, and although passenger traffic declined, the line survived several withdrawal threats until production of inadequate statistical interpretations led Edinburgh Councillors to sign its death warrant in 1962 shortly before Dr Beeching’s report was published.

Since then, apart from blaming Dr Beeching - who was not involved - there have been several clamours for reinstatement, but population shifts and city southern expansion makes this unlikely - at least as most of the former station locations have no car parking sites nearby! The ‘sub’, having faced challenges which it has met and adapted to over the years, is now reduced to almost ‘plain line’ but continues to function in the capacity for which it was intended 125 years ago - a city bypass.

A5 format, casebound, full colour dust jacket and end papers, 320 pages, with 228 illustrations.


ISBN 0 85361 645 0
ISBN 978 0 85361 645 0


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by C.W. Judge                                                                        
New Edition                                          

When the famous Elan Valley reservoirs were built the railway helped to transform this beautiful part of Wales to the sight known and loved by so many holiday-makers and day trippers today. The story of how the dams were built and why, is beautifully told here There is a fascinating insight into the men who built the dams and the village that was constructed for the navvy community. For all those interested in this part of Mid-Wales, railways and social history this book makes compelling reading.

Back again due to popular demand, and this time with a full-colour laminated card cover.  232 pages, A5 format, with 110 photographs plus plans, etc., printed on art paper. A pull-out map of the system is also included.


ISBN 0 85361 517 9
ISBN 978 0 85361 517 0

£ 12.95

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Peter Paye
Travellers enduring the ride between Cambridge and Ely on elderly Great Eastern Railway coaching stock or later LNER replacements in the late 19th and early 20th century, often complained of the monotony of the landscape through which they passed. This vast tract of treeless alluvial black fields, famed for the cultivation of root crops and stretching in each direction to the horizon, was part of the southern area of the fens. The fens were not, however, uniformly flat for there were several fen islands where higher land allowed settlements to develop above the flood plain. The magnificent Ely Cathedral was established on one such island and the edifice majestically appearing out of the mist on a dank winter morn or against the blue sky of a summer day. With all eyes on the splendid building little attention was paid to the single-track railway, which meandered away to the west from the main line, a mile or so south of the city. This line following a winding course between fen islands served a number of communities. After crossing the Old and New Bedford rivers near Earith, the branch railway emerged to join up with the Cambridge to March line a little north of the town of St Ives.
The Ely, Haddenham & Sutton Railway, was opened in 1866 and worked from the outset by the Great Eastern Railway. With the threat of infiltration into the locality by other embryonic railways it became imperative to counteract such competition and the EHSR with GER backing finally extended to St Ives in 1878. The re-titled Ely & St Ives Railway remained nominally independent until it was incorporated into the GER in 1898. Built essentially as a farmers line to get crops and cattle to and from local markets, passenger traffic was always of a secondary nature. In the years to World War I both passenger and freight traffic prospered but with the encroaching development of motor transport, and in particular local bus services from the early 1920s, a service of only a few trains a day could not compete – inevitably the wholly uneconomic passenger train service was withdrawn in 1931. Freight traffic continued to thrive, especially between June and October, when much fruit traffic was dispatched and then, from the mid-1920s, from October to January when every goods yard was full with wagons being loaded with sugar beet for forwarding to the sugar processing factories at Wissington, Ely and Peterborough. World War II brought additional military traffic and the line was used on occasions as a diversionary route for freight trains from the Midlands. Peacetime and the end of fuel rationing sounded the death knell and the central section of the route from Bluntisham to Sutton was closed in 1958 to leave truncated sections at each end. As road transport went from strength to strength so the operation of these short sections of line for dwindling traffic became totally uneconomical and the Ely to Sutton section closed in July 1964 with St Ives to Bluntisham succumbing in October of the same year.
The line was an essential link in the evolution of the fenland settlements before the coming of the internal combustion engine. The full fascinating story of the Ely to St Ives Railway from opening to closure is told here.

The first edition of this book was published over 30 years and consisted of just 44 pages - this vastly enlarged new edition has 176 pages and 158 images and is to A5 format.

A Railway from Ely to Sutton
Extension to St
Great Eastern Takeover.
Grouping and Nationalization
The Route Described
Permanent Way, Signalling and Staff
Timetables and Traffic
Locomotives and Rolling Stock
Acknowledgements & Bibliography


ISBN 978 0 85361 732 7


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ELY VALLEY RAILWAY Llantrisant - Penygraig   
by Colin Chapman
Until the end of 1951 Llantrisant, midway between Cardiff and Bridgend on the South Wales main line, acted as a junction station for three branch line passenger services. To the casual observer each of these appeared to be typically ex-Great Western Railway with that company's characteristic auto-trains or, in the case of the Cowbridge line, one of its distinctive diesel railcars, connecting with the main line stopping trains. However, beneath this superficial gloss each branch had its own distinctive character and background. Two had been part of the Taff Vale Railway untill 1922: that to the south of the station had been built by the Cowbridge Railway, an impecunious rural concern promoted by local interests, initally with TVR support ; while trains from Llantrisant ran to Pontypridd over the metals of the Llantrisant and Taff Vale Junction Railway, a nominally independent offshoot of the TVR intended to tap the iron ore and coal produce of the area.

The third branch - the Ely Valley line - appeared to be the most modern, with double track and stations dating from around the turn of the century. Appearances were deceptive, however, as this was, in fact, the oldest of the three branches, having been opened in 1860 as a single track, broad gauge mineral line by the Ely Valley Railway Co. Extensively modernised in connection with the doubling of the line and the subsequent introduction of passenger trains , it remained an independent concern (although leased by the GWR) until amalgamation with the larger company in 1902.

The Ely Valley line passenger trains clung on until 1958, their departure leaving Llantrisant with only the main line stopping service. Closed in 1964, the station was reborn in 1992 with the geographically more correct but to the railway historian rather prosaic tile of 'Pontyclun'.

The book is to A5 format, consists of 144 pages of art paper with more than 130 photographs, maps etc. It has full colour laminated glossy cover with a square backed spine.


ISBN 0 85361 558 6
ISBN 978 0 85361 558 3

£ 9.95

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Mervyn Jones
Following on the success of the ‘Essential Guides’ for France and for Switzerland, this book has been written to appeal to railway enthusiasts, holiday-makers and travellers who are interested in seeing both the beauty of Austria as well as much of its railway activity, new and old. The guide lists a total of 172 locations throughout Austria where railways and tramways as well as related activities can be found. Of these, the author has identified 47 specific routes operated by Austrian Federal Railways (ÖBB) including the world famous Semmeringbahn.

Also identified are 12 museums including the National Transport Museum at Strasshof and ÖGEG’s superb collection at Ampflwang. Five freight companies have been included as have 15 funicular operations.

To conclude, there is a description of the railway links with Austria’s eight neighbouring countries. Many of the organizations listed have safeguarded a wide variety of material much of which has been maintained or restored to full working order and used frequently for excursions both on private as well as ÖBB tracks.

The range of railway activity addressed in this book has been widened when compared with the previous guides as a continuing problem has been what to include and what to exclude. ‘Heritage’ railways are relatively speaking easy to define but when do regular routes become of ‘tourist’ interest?

A5 format, 208 pages, with full colour; 147 photographs and 20 maps; perfect bound with square-backed spine.


ISBN 978 0 85361 674 0

£ 16.95 / 26.00€

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Mervyn Jones
This guide is intended not only to appeal to railway enthusiasts but to those holiday-makers and travellers, francophiles perhaps, who love France and wish to see this beautiful country from a different perspective. The book has identified in every corner of France a total of 160 locations where heritage and tourist railway activity can be found. In summary, identified in these pages is a collection of 81 heritage and/or tourist railways. Of these, the situation at the end of 2005 was that 71 are fully active, four have temporarily (hopefully!) suspended their operations, a further four are active development projects and not yet fully operational and, finally, there are two railways, one of which straddles the border between France and Luxembourg and the other, very close to it just in Luxembourg. The latter, whilst obviously not in France, is so close to the border and is just too good to miss, hence its inclusion.
Also listed are 19 of the most scenic TER-SNCF railway routes and 24 museums, one of which is closed (AMTUIR in the Île de France region) but it does open on special occasions and possibly on request. A further 19 locations and/or organisations have been identified where matériel roulant - locomotives, autorails, carriages and wagons - have been preserved and are exhibited or in some instances are stored. Much of this rolling stock, lovingly restored and maintained, has been approved for excursions on Réseau Ferré France (RFF) - Société Nationale des Chemins de Fer Français (SNCF) tracks, usually on Sundays when regular services are reduced. Included in this number are some other organisations which organise excursions using preserved locomotives or autorails. Seventeen places are listed where vélorail facilities are available. Finally, to clarify the current position in France, a further nine tourist railways have been briefly listed (not part of the total of 160 mentioned above) which are no longer in business.

Many of the railways identified here travel on routes, long and short, invariably through outstandingly beautiful countryside with a few others operating on purpose-built track laid in country amusement parks, thus offering something for all the family. In addition, the vélorail, for example, is a recent phenomenon in France and another facility that has universal appeal to families. There are two basic types of ‘locomotion’ – one form is effectively two pedal cycles (vélos) welded together by a metal frame to which is fitted a bench seat for the non-pedalling passengers or for luggage; and the other, a cyclo-draisine with wheels between 10 and 20 centimetres diameter and is a variation on a traditional self-propelled railcar. Both types of machine require human energies to be expended, but the benefits a vélorail journey brings is a worthwhile form of exercise and a pleasant group activity, as well as an opportunity to appreciate the countryside as viewed from a former local railway route.

A5 format, perfect bound with 192 pages including 93 photographs - colour throughout.


ISBN 0 85361 648 5
ISBN 978 0 85361 648 1

£ 15.95 / 26.00€

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Mervyn Jones

Where was the last foreign invasion onto British soil? Who was the last English king to be slain in battle and which Welsh-born was responsible for his death? Which Welsh church tower formed the model for the Victoria Tower at the Palace of Westminster? Where is the smallest house in Great Britain? Where is longest single-track railway tunnel in the United Kingdom? What is the ‘electric mountain’ and where is it? From where in Wales did flying boats operate during World War II? Where was the worst coal-mining disaster in British history? Where was the single factory employing the greatest number of workers ever in the UK? Where is the largest castle in Wales? What is the longest monument in Britain? What has been described as the ‘largest, most fantastic bird table in the world’?  The answers to these questions and many more, perhaps unexpectedly, can be found in this publication.

Information of this nature is an unlikely subject to feature in a book principally about railways. However, this is a book with a difference. In researching Welsh railways, the author, in addition to information about the prime subject matter, has chosen to include what he hopes are interesting facts about places and events close to where trains pass. In so doing, it is hoped that the book will enjoy a wider appeal than just for railway enthusiasts but should interest and inform the general holiday-maker and the traveller to Wales, a principality steeped in history. The book is the fifth Oakwood Press publication by the author on European railways and fourth in the Essential Guide series. This guide lists a total of 62 locations throughout Wales (including five on the borders in England) where heritage and tourist railways and related activities can be found. A total of 163 photographs support the text. Those five just in England are justified by their close proximity and their relevance to the Welsh railway scene. Of the total locations, the author has identified 57 specific routes of which 28 are operated as heritage/tourist railways, including projects and societies, and 29 as regular rail service routes operated in Wales. Finally, there are five museums including two which are dedicated to the Great Western Railway, one being just over the border in England at Coleford in Gloucestershire and the other, also in England, at Swindon in Wiltshire.

An important question in writing a book such as this is what to include and what to exclude. Heritage and tourist-focused railways are easy to identify. However, where do regular service routes qualify as being of ‘tourist’ or ‘scenic’ interest especially as many areas in Wales were previously heavily industrialized? Fortunately many of these areas have recovered by returning, what was previously derelict land, back to nature. Given the outstanding natural beauty of Wales, therefore, very few routes fail to qualify in some way as is best evidenced perhaps by the photographs depicted in this book. It is hoped that the reader and visitor to Wales agrees. Enjoy the journey!

A5 format, 192 pages, and printed in full colour throughout. The book has a laminated card cover with a square-backed spine.


ISBN 978 0 85361 702 0

£ 16.95

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by C.G. Maggs
For  tens of thousands of holidaymakers and daytrippers their first sight of the beautiful resort town of Exmouth has been the railway station, which has served the town for more than 130 years. The Exmouth branch is an interesting line, being one of the few in the West Country which still features business and holiday traffic in appreciable quantity. It is a commuter line in the best original Southern Railway tradition. The first proposals for a railway to Exmouth go back to the birth of railways in 1825, but it was to take until 1861 before the railway opened. The branch was little affected by either of the World Wars. In 1962 half a million journeys were made on the line, so it was a surprise when the Beeching Report of 1963 threatened closure. The branch has secured its place in railway history as the first line to be removed from the Beeching plan voluntarily - in other cases reprieve only came after the Minister’s refusal to accept closure proposals. The line continues to thrive today and in 1995 it saw the opening of a new station at Digby & Sowton. The book is to A5 format and is printed on 128 pages of art paper; it includes over 120 photographs/ drawings with a Linson cover and square-backed spine.



ISBN 0 85361 430 X
ISBN 978 0 85361 430 2

£ 8.95

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