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Books  Ha

by A.M. Hajducki
The three railway branch lines which served the landward areas of East Lothian were an unusual trio and were all worked by the North British Railway. Each line had its own distinctive and often eccentric character and the first to be built was the Haddington branch which carried agricultural produce and commuters to and from the county town surviving into the diesel age and narrowly escaping preservation. The Macmerry line was a different affair whose raison d’etre was the product of many small pits on the periphery of the Lothians coalfield. The third line was the Gifford & Garvald Light Railway, a curious enterprise which barely reached the former village and was destined never to reach the latter. The traffic on this branch included potatoes, pit props, strawberries and that most Scottish of cargoes, malt whisky. All three lines have now passed into history but they deserve to be remembered for the way in which they efficiently served this most beautiful part of the country.

248 pages of text with over 160 superb photographs, supplemented by 21 maps, 5 drawings, 2 gradient profiles. Casebound with two-colour glossy laminated jacket, printed endpapers. A5 format.

‘thoroughly researched, clearly written, precise in detail and beautifully illustrated’
Railway Correspondence & Travel Society


ISBN 0 85361 456 3
ISBN 978 0 85361 456 2

£ 18.50

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by Peter Paye                                                          

The Suffolk town of Hadleigh, at one time famous for its clothing industry, was a political pawn on the chessboard of railway development in East Anglia. The Eastern Counties Railway, incorporated in 1836 to construct a line linking London with Yarmouth, had by 1843 only reached Colchester. Despite difficulty raising capital a northern extension was envisaged, linking up with the Norfolk Railway at Brandon, and with the Suffolk county town of Ipswich served by a branch line from Hadleigh. Businessmen at Ipswich were infuriated and promoted their own Eastern Union Railway, incorporated in 1844 to link Ipswich with Colchester. The ECR plans failed to materialise and the traders of Hadleigh were in a dilemma, their own town now isolated seven miles from the nearest railhead.

The solution came with the proposal for a nominally independent branch line to Bentley, but the railway was quickly absorbed by the EUR and the line was subsequently opened in September 1847. In the ensuing power politics the line was taken over by the ECR, and from 1862 became one of the many branches lines of the Great Eastern Railway.

The new company encouraged trade and passenger and goods traffic developed so that by 1901 there were plans to extend the line as a Light Railway from Hadleigh to Long Melford, there to join up with the Mark Teys to Bury St Edmunds and Cambridge cross country line. Unfortunately this scheme failed after World War I retrenchment came to the Hadleigh branch as local competitive bus services removed much of the passenger traffic from the line.


Advent of the Railway
Union Takeover and Opening
Eastern Counties Railway
Great Eastern Operation
LNER Control
Nationalisation and Closure
The Route Described
Permanent Way, Signalling
     and Staff
Timetables and Traffic
Locomotives and Rolling Stock
Acknowledgements and

Despite the introduction of conductor guard working and rationalisation of operating methods and infrastructure, receipts continued to fall and passenger train services were withdrawn from the Hadleigh branch as early as February 1932. Freight traffic, however, continued to prosper accentuated during World War II by military consignments, but after hostilities the ever-encroaching motor lorry took much traffic from the line and the branch was closed in April 1965. Today the trackbed between Raydon Wood and Hadleigh can still be followed as part of the Hadleigh Railway Nature Trail.

The complex story of the scenic Hadleigh Branch is fully documented in the latest of Peter Paye's accounts of East Anglian branch lines.

The book is to A5 format, 208 pages with more than 170 photographs, line drawings and plans showing every aspect of the line.


ISBN 0 85361 650 7
ISBN 978 0 85361 650 4

£ 13.95

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by Peter Paye

A gentle sea breeze cools the heat of an August summer Saturday, gulls wheel in the azure blue sky and shore birds rummage for food on the mudflats, as yachtsmen take advantage of any wind available to negotiate their vessels within the confines of Langstone harbour. Two bridges, one road and the other rail, span the sparkling water of the haven, both connecting mainland Hampshire with the island of Hayling situated east of Portsmouth and within view of the Isle of Wight across the Solent. The tranquil scene is shattered by the blast of an engine whistle as a small 0-6-0 tank locomotive, with tall chimney, hauling five relatively elderly coaches negotiates the timber viaduct and rumbles over the iron central swing section, the train en route from the junction at Havant to Hayling Island. The procession rumbles effortlessly on to its destination and soon the sound of the train diminishes and calm returns.

The scene will be repeated four times every hour, two trains heading to the coast bearing expectant parents with their luggage and children with buckets and spades looking forward to a day by the sea or their annual holiday, whilst those trains returning north convey crowds complete with cases, ‘kiss me quick’ hats and the like who will have happy memories of time spent in hotels, boarding houses, holiday camps and on the beach.

The location remains but the scene changes to a bitterly cold winter’s day, snow is threatening and the sky is a dull forbidding grey. Gulls still wheel in the air but few shore birds forage, and there is precious little sight of any movement on the water save for the wind across the surface. Again a whistle is heard and again the diminutive locomotive, leaking steam in the cold air makes for the bridge but this time all she has in tow is a solitary brake/composite coach bearing few passengers. The service is sparse and the observer might have to wait for more than an hour before the return working.

Such scenes register the two extremes of passenger traffic handled on the Havant to Hayling Island branch where many thousands of passengers were conveyed during the summer months and comparatively few in the winter. The line was famous for the fact that, except in the early years, the London, Brighton & South Coast Railway (LBSCR) Southern Railway (SR) and British Railways Southern Region operated the line with Stroudley-designed ‘A’, then ‘A1’ and later as rebuilt ‘A1X’ class ‘Terrier’ 0-6-0 tank locomotives necessitated by the weight restrictions imposed by the respective civil engineers on Langston viaduct, ensuring a place in the annals of railway history. The combination of the infamous Beeching Report, the deteriorating condition of the viaduct and the ageing locomotives brought closure of the branch on and from 4th November, 1963, the last train running the previous day.

The publication of this book coincides with the 50th anniversary of the closure of the erstwhile Hayling Railway linking Havant in east Hampshire with Hayling Island. Before the coming of the railway Hayling Island was sparsely populated by fishermen, agricultural workers and gentry who had established residences near the south coast of the island.

After the opening of the London & Brighton & South Coast Railway (LBSCR) main line from Brighton to Havant in March 1847, extended to Portsmouth in June 1847, and the later ‘Portsmouth Direct’ connection in 1859 operated by the London & South Western Railway, local factions pressed for a railway to the island from Havant. After many trials and tribulations the Hayling Railway opened in 1867. From 1872 the Hayling Railway was leased to the LBSCR, but remained nominally independent until absorbed by the LBSCR in 1922. The new operator set about making important changes, including an ill-fated train ferry service operating between Langstone Quay and St Helen’s to join up with the Isle of Wight Railway from 1882 until 1888. Around the turn of the century improvements were made at South Hayling, renamed Hayling Island from 1892, but to all intents and purposes the railway was operated as one of the many LBSCR minor branch lines. The line became part of the Southern Railway from 1923 and the new regime carried out substantial work on Langston viaduct, the major infrastructure on the branch, completed in 1931, and the reconstruction of Havant station in 1937/38. Development in the locality was sparse and substantial growth was not achieved until the late 1920s and 1930s, and then primarily near the south and south-eastern corner of the island.

The establishment of holiday camps both before and after World War II and paid holidays encouraged many to the coast and increased passenger traffic receipts especially during the summer months. After nationalization in 1948 few changes were made and, except for an improvement in coaching stock and wagons, motive power remained the same. As the years progressed it became obvious that the timber viaduct required substantial remedial work after decades of exposure to the elements; modernization was the watchword on BR and the ancient ‘Terrier’ 0-6-0 tank locomotives were increasingly costly to maintain. Revenue, except during the summer months although still covering operating costs, was declining. The rebuilding of the parallel road bridge to the island in 1956 allowing increased weight limit for vehicles, especially buses, and the later abolition of tolls for road traffic in 1960 weighed heavily against retention of the branch railway, which proved an expensive luxury that the cost-conscious BR could ill afford.

This then is the fascinating story of the Hayling Railway from conception to closure. The story of the Hayling Railway was first told by Peter Paye, and published by the Oakwood Press, in 1979 as 32 page booklet, it has been long out of print. This Second Edition is to A5 format, and consists of 160 pages, with more than 100 illustrations.


ISBN 978 0 85361 730 3

£ 11.95

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HALIFAX PASSENGER TRANSPORT, From 1897 to 1963 - Trams, Buses, Trolleybuses
by Geoffrey Hilditch

Geoffrey Hilditch’s earliest childhood recollections involved his first ever visit to Halifax in 1931 when he watched as a steady procession of trams and buses passed. After dusk his attention was drawn to a series of lights slowly climbing up into the night sky. They came not from some vintage spacecraft but from a tram or bus making its way to Southowram against the pitch black backdrop of Beacon Hill.

In later years, he came to know the area rather better. The post-war aroma of Halifax bus exhaust was decidely off-putting, but in those later days when open staircase double-deckers were still to be seen in some quantity, he never imagined that in not too many years he would be professionally involved with Halifax Passenger Transport. That involvement began late in 1954 when he was appointed head of the Engineering Department.

He quickly discovered two things: firstly, the undertaking had a fascinating history and, secondly, things happened to passenger vehicles in and around Halifax that just did not seem to occur elsewhere.

When he returned to Halifax in 1963 as General Manager, he decided to try to piece the history together before it was too late, for the surviving records were sketchy and the number of men who had been involved in the early days were becoming ever fewer. It was hoped to produce something for the 70th anniversary but in the event time did not allow. Only now is publication possible after rather too many years of delayed effort. Halifax presented the transport engineer with a considerable challenge. It was always a source of some wonder how Messrs Escott and Spencer and their confrères with virtually no previous experience could bring a fully operational tramway system into being and then, with an equally unskilled staff, keep it operational.

For the drivers and conductors there was no sick pay, few holidays and long hours. Just how long those hours must have seemed to the driver of an open-fronted car on, say, the Queensbury route who for nine hours at a stretch might have had to brave arctic-like conditions in mid-winter with poor protective clothing can now be hardly imagined. But, in addition to needing stamina, such men also needed a high degree of physical strength for those trams, which weighed up to seven or eight tons laden, were stopped on average five to six times a mile by hand brakes that required more than a little effort to apply. This book is dedicated to those men who served their townsfolk so well, for they deserve to be remembered.

This book is lavishly produced and is to A5 format, 336 pages, 220 illustrations, casebound with a gold-blocked spine with printed endpapers and a laminated dustjacket.


ISBN 0 85361 647 7
ISBN 978 0 85361 647 4

£ 27.50

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by Sue & Geoff Woodward
The Nickey Line’s fame seems to extend much further than most branch lines of similar importance. There are a number of factors which could contribute to this. It has seen some most unusual train formations/locomotives over the years. Amongst these were the use of Pullman cars on normal branch line trains, hauled by the 4-4-0Ts imported for the task from the Midland & Great Northern Railway in their attractive ‘Yellow’ livery, or the use of steam railmotors, or in the 1970s, the use of one of the last class ’17’ ‘Clayton’ types. These interesting workings elevate it above many otherwise similar Midland Railway branches. The principal stations served on the line were Redbourn and Hemel Hempstead itself. The line formed a junction with the Midland main line at Harpenden, and for all but a very brief period in the line’s history stopped just short of the LNWR main line at Boxmoor.
The line was also used for demonstrating the Karrier Ro-Railer vehicles. These could be converted to run on road or rails. Passenger trains ceased in 1947 although the last excursion train ran in 1960. However part of the line was to remain in use for freight from Claydale Sidings until 1979. The Nickey Line lives on however, as a footpath and cycleway which is now known as the ‘Nicky Way’.

The book is to A5 format and consists of 160 pages with 147 photographs, plans/maps, documents etc. It is printed on art paper throughout and has a square-backed Linson cover.


ISBN 0 85361 502 0
ISBN 978 0 85361 502 6

£ 11.95

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by Peter Tatlow                      NEW ENLARGED EDITION

A new and enlarged edition of this title which was first published in 2002. This appalling accident took place on 8th October, 1952, 112 people were killed and 167 passengers were taken to hospital for treatment, making it the second most serious railway accident in the United Kingdom. It came about when the overnight sleeping car train from Perth to London Euston in patchy fog overran the signals and collided with the rear of a crowded local train from Tring to Euston standing in Harrow & Wealdstone station. This had no sooner happened, when a double-headed express passenger train from Euston to Liverpool and Manchester ploughed into the wreckage. Rather than concentrate on the causes of, and steps taken following the accident to avoid recurrence, this work also looks at the huge task of mounting the rescue operation, managing the disruption to railway operations and clearing up the aftermath.

The response of the police; fire and ambulance service; civil defence teams; local community and voluntary organisations; national and local press; churches; as well as the railway authorities are considered, together with the help given by and lessons learnt from our allies in the form of the medical teams from the United States Air Force.

The book is to A5 format, 128 pages with over 60 illustrations, it has a laminated card cover with square-backed spine.


See Book Review


ISBN 978 0 85361 680 1


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by W.J. Hatcher
The Harton Electric Railway (located in South Shields on Tyneside) must surely be one of Britain’s most remarkable railways! Built to transport coal from pits to staiths on the River Tyne for shipment, using overhead electric traction, this highly successful system operated for more than 80 years. Although the railway has been covered in numerous magazine articles over the years this is the first major history to be written about this unique railway. The book covers from 1908 when the line was first electrified, using German-built Siemens overhead electric locomotives until the system’s closure in 1989. There are drawings of the locomotives and rolling stock, along with maps, 10 track plans and other ephemera. 144 pages of text, plus almost 100 superb photographs reproduced on 56 pages of art paper, A5 format, with a fold-out map of the system, printed end papers, casebound, gold blocked spine and a four-colour laminated jacket.

ISBN 0 85361 457 1
ISBN 978 0 85361 457 9

£ 14.95

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