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Books Gres -Gw

SIR NIGEL GRESLEY - The Engineer and his Family  
by Geofrey Hughes 
As well as a comprehensive account of the professional achievements of the eminent engineer, Sir Nigel Gresley, this informative book throws new light on his personal life and family history. The Gresleys can trace their ancestry back to 1066, when Robert de Toeni fought under William the Conqueror and was rewarded for his zeal and courage by grants of land in the Midlands. Subsequently the family acquired the name de Gresley, and became established at Drakelow and Netherseal, in Derbyshire, where Nigel Gresley spent his youth. Educated at Marlborough, he became an apprentice under Francis Webb at Crewe and a pupil to John Aspinall at Horwich, before receiving rapid promotion which saw him join the Great Northern Railway as Carriage & Wagon Superintendent at Doncaster when he was only 28. Six years later he succeeded Henry Ivatt as Locomotive Superintendent, reaching the peak of his career in 1923, when he was appointed Chief Mechanical Engineer of the newly formed London & North Eastern Railway, until his death in 1941. 
He married Ethel Fullagar, who died tragically in 1929, and they had four children, whose lives provide a source of personal interest.

Sir Nigel¹s enquiring mind and grasp of techniques were such that as an innovator in steam locomotive practice he was outstanding among the engineers of his day. This can be seen in the range of locomotives for which he was responsible, notable for their power and elegance. In his streamline trains of the 1930s, the LNER led the way in passenger service and railway technology. Fortunately, engines such as the world famous Flying Scotsman, the well-known Sir Nigel Gresley, bearing his name, and Mallard, holder of the speed record for steam of 126 mph, have been preserved. 

The author, who is well-known for his books and articles on the history of the LNER and the work of Sir Nigel Gresley, has drawn on many original sources for research into the Gresley story. The result is a comprehensive record and analysis of Sir Nigel's contribution to the advancement of the steam locomotive, with much new material, as well as a fascinating account of his family. The Foreword has been written by Tony Roche, himself a railway engineer, and President of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers in 2001, a position occupied by Sir Nigel 65 years before. 

A5 format, 216 pages with 170 photographs and diagrams, perfect bound.


ISBN 0 85361 579 9
ISBN 978 0 85361 579 8

£ 14.95

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by M.R.C. Price
In its final form the Gwendraeth Valleys Railway (GVR) was a line of the utmost simplicity - 2½ miles of track running north from the South Wales main line at Kidwelly to serve the quarries of Mynydd-y-Garreg, and the tinplate works in the valley below. Away from Kidwelly there was no signalling, and ‘one engine in steam’ operation prevailed. All this belied the line’s long and intricate history. This book endeavours to explore that history. In doing so it has been necessary to delve not only into the story of railway promotion and politics in Carmarthenshire, but also into the story of the several industries served by the line. If there is a recurring theme it is one of brave ideas brought low, either by want of finance or by some element of dishonesty. The mineral wealth of Mynydd-y-Garreg was certainly useful, but it was never really the El Dorado that some imagined. With more careful and sustained investment it is possible that it might have done more for the local economy. The nearby tinplate works was always undercapitalised in the 19th century, and struggling for survival.
The arrival in the 20th century of some able industrialists gave the works its one period of slight success. With their departure its fortunes declined, leaving the line once again to the mineral traffic which had inspired its construction.  By the 1960s it was all over, and the railway was swept away, save for the locomotive Margaret which remained in its shed at an amazingly intact tinplate works until 1974. A5 format, 136 pages of art paper, with 90 photographs and drawings with a two-colour Linson cover square-backed spine.

ISBN 0 85361 505 5
ISBN 978 0 85361 505 7

£ 9.95

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GWR and the General strike (1926)
by C.R. Potts
There have been many books published on the General Strike in the past, this is the first title to look specifically at the impact the Strike had on a major railway company. Using the Superintendent of the Line’s Log a picture of how the management attempted to run trains, is built up in a day-by-day account. The manage-ment focussed their attention on certain services; i.e. the struggle to run the fish train from Milford, eventually becoming something of a coup for the management, in an area where there was solid support from the workforce for the Strike. The fish train had to run the gauntlet through Llanelli, the site of the notorious shooting, by soldiers, of strikers in the first national railwaymen’s strike in 1911, tensions obviously were high. Throughout the strike the management were aided by volunteers, sometimes retired railwaymen, but more often people with no experience in the jobs that they were doing. They were giving elementary instruction in how to do the job (this even included signalling, a small pamphlet of simplified instruction was published). Was there victimisation of the strikers in the aftermath? The author examines the evidence.

The book is to A5 format, with 136 pages, including 33 photographs, 24 maps/documents, with square-backed Linson cover.

‘This is an excellent and important book that should be read by those interested in railway history as well as social and political historians’
Friends of the National Railway Museum


ISBN 0 85361 488 1
ISBN 978 0 85361 488 3

£ 8.95

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by Clive Butcher
In the five years since the publication of the author's previous book, Railways of Stourbridge, he discovered the whereabouts of Stourbridge shed's Local Departmental Committee minutes. He has also been fortunate enough to make the acquaintance of a number of ex-Stourbridge drivers and firemen, amongst them Ray Kendrick whose collaboration and co-operation has been a major influence upon the content of this latest work. With Ray's help, and the help of other ex-Stourbridge railwaymen, he has been able to include material that is only available from talking to, and corresponding with, those who were 'in the know'. This information takes the form of both personal commentaries as well as details that usually cannot be found in the archives or in other published material. The coverage of all sorts of events and incidents by local papers in particular has also provided a great deal of important and interesting material.
The author has endeavoured to record as much as possible about railwaymen themselves, much of it gleaned from these early editions, but even more has come direct from 'the horse's mouth'. Not only do these contributions reflect life on the footplate, but also the work of other grades whose work is so often ignored: the station master; booking clerk; goods clerk; shunter; goods guard; and engine fitter.

Operational and technical elements have of course not been ignored and this book takes a close look at all the installations and facilities within an area bordered by and including Stourbridge Junction, Dudley, Langley Green and Halesowen; in fact all of those yards where Stourbridge men spent their working lives. This sequel therefore represents a broad mix of personal reminiscences; historical developments; operational and technical detail; in fact a body of diverse material which it is hoped will be considered a worthy companion to its predecessor. Volume One looks at the life on the railway at Stourbridge Junction and Town stations, the marshalling yards at Stourbridge Junction and other yards in the area. There is a chapter dedicated to the Halesowen branch, followed by reminiscences of a relief station master in the Black Country. The book concludes with a look at how the national rail strikes of 1911, 1919 and 1924 affected Stourbridge.

The book is to A5 format, and consists of 232 pages with more than 140 photographs, maps and illustrations.


ISBN 0 85361 627 2
ISBN 978 0 85361 627 6

£ 14.95

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by Clive Butcher

This second volume continues with a detailed look at the work and men of Stourbridge shed.  After considering the locomotive stud in the area, the human side of the story dominates this volume, which has numerous reminiscences and tells of the role the trade unions played in the 20th century.  The book also reviews some of the work carried out by Kidderminster shed. Kidderminster lies just six miles to the south of Stourbridge Junction and after 1960 the railway operation at the town came to be closely linked with that of Stourbridge, although long before World War II it was Stourbridge men who would work Kidderminster's class 'C' express freight to Paddington. This freight was one of the GWR's named services of the late 1920s running as 'The Carpet'.  Ray Kendrick recounts his experiences there in his driving days.  The book is to A5 format, and consists of 256 pages with more than 175 photographs, maps and illustrations.


ISBN 0 85361 630 2
ISBN 978 0 85361 630 6

£ 15.95

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