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Books Sa - Sn

by J. I. C. Boyd

The second volume of James Boyd's reminiscences of his life-long enthusiasm for railways is told in his own inimitable style. The earliest of these stories date back as far as the 1930s. Most railway enthusiasts of the day were drawn towards the impressive standard gauge steam-hauled expresses of Britain's major railways. Fortunately for us, Mr Boyd's tastes were rather more eclectic and obscure and so in this volume we discover the delights of such interesting and diverse systems as Altrincham Gas Works, Eaton Hall, Manchester Ship Canal, Snailbeach District, Woodhead Reservoirs and Whittingham Hospital railways.

Those familiar with Mr Boyd's narrow gauge railway history books will be unsurprised to see tales of travels to the Corris Railway, Welshpool & Llanfair Railway and the Isle of Man, and of experiences in the early days of railway preservation in Wales.

Mr Boyd also turned his attention towards some standard gauge lines - predominantly in North-West England and the Welsh borders. The author was sent to school for a time to Bryanston, in Dorset, in the 1930s. Being shown how to drive a Somerset & Dorset Joint line 2-8-0 while on shunting duties at Blandford turned out to be not just a memorable moment but a life-changing experience. Evocative stories of a bygone age.


Snailbeach District Railways

Electrification of the MSJ&AR

Oakeley Slate Quarry

Woodhead Reservoirs Tramway

A Ride on the Welshpool & Llanfair Goods

Shunting Instructions on S&DJR 2-8-0s

Gravity Run: Moelwyn Tunnel - Tan-y-BwIch

Interrupted by the Military, Portmadoc, 1940

The Whittingham Railway, May 1948

Water Troubles on PRINCE, Festiniog Railway

Little Help in High Places, IOMR

Of Choirs and Places Where They Sing

A Musical Interlude, Portmadoc

Orbit Oswestry

Digging for Clues, Portmadoc Wharves

Uncle Joe

Bryanston Railway Society, 1933

Ducal Visits

Manchester Ship Canal

Last Days on the Corris Train

To Scotland and Back!

Talyllyn Working Party Reminiscences

A Sleeping Compartment on the Isle of Man Railway

A First Visit to Eskdale

Luggage in Advance


A brand new title from James Boyd. A5 format, 192 pages, 230 illustrations.


ISBN 978 0 85361 663 4

£ 14.95

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by J. I. C. Boyd
James Boyd’s love of Irish railways began in the 1930s. These are his reminiscences of his visits. He concentrated his attention on the narrow gauge railway systems, but did not neglect the main line 5 ft 3 in. lines which he came across. Little of the subject matter of this book can be experienced today; accordingly, these accounts have taken on a historical significance. As time has gone by his knowledge of those early subjects has been enhanced by later fact-finding; this extra material has been incorporated into the text to give it more substance. Readers who expect to find some gems of research herein will be disappointed but to counter this there will be others who will read this with a certain amount of envy. For this is how it was.
James Boyd writes:  ‘I am often asked to set down something about my lifetime’s interest in railways; it is a reminder of my age and of opportunities which some people wish they could have experienced themselves. Herein I bow to their wishes. It must be understood that I had no conception that in later life notes begun when I was a teenager would be interesting to many today. Similarly, that photographs taken with a simple camera might become a rarity. Some things I saw I did not fully appreciate on the first occasion. My field notes and drawings began in 1933 and were made in a rather expensive Sketch Book from Reeves which I obtained through the school Art Room so that it might appear under ‘Extras’ on my father’s termly bill rather than deplete my pocket money. I soon learnt that a Woolworth’s penny note pad was sufficient for the rough and tumble of rucksack, bicycle bag and railway environment!’


Author's Note
Portadown - A First Visit, August 1933
Beyond Portadown - A Second Visit, August 1939
Into Donegal, August 1939
To the Farthest North-West,
     Letterkenny to Burtonport, August 1939
North Donegal Anthology, Part One
     West Donegal, County Donegal Railways
North Donegal Anthology, Part Two
     A Hurried Finale, 26th March, 1953
North Donegal Anthology, Part Three -
     From Rail to Road, November 1961
A Visit to Ireland Replaces Wales, June 1962

A Long Walk in West Cork,
     The Schull & Skibbereen Railway, April 1953
Political Intrigue in Bantry,
     The Cork, Bandon & South Coast Railway, April 1953
The Cavan & Leitrim Railway - A Remote Delight, March 1949
The Cavan & Leitrim Railway - Revisited, July-August 1951
The Cavan & Leitrim Railway - Arigna Extension, May 1955
Just Passing By - Ballinamore Again, May 1958
Antrim and the Ballycastle Line
Once Daily and Once Monthly, The West Clare and Tralee &
     Dingle sections of the CIE, 27th-30th September, 1950
Kerry Again! 29th May-2nd June, 1952
Footplate in County Cork, August-September 1962

A5 format, 288 pages, 295 illustrations.


ISBN 0 85361 651 5
ISBN 978 0 85361 651 1

£ 16.95

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Andrew Hajducki, Michael Jodeluk & Alan Simpson          
The five mile branch line from Leuchars Junction, situated on the main line from Edinburgh to Aberdeen a short distance south of the Tay Bridge, to the ancient university city and home of golf, St Andrews, was but the first link of the coastal railway that eventually encircled East Fife. Built entirely by local interests and with local capital, the small and independent St Andrews Railway was a pioneer of the cheap railway movement, a reaction against spiralling costs, over-elaborate engineering and rapacious landowners. It prospered as its terminus attracted an increasing amount of traffic and eventually was absorbed by Scotland’s largest company, the North British. Carrying goods to St Andrews and the substantial traffic associated with the Guardbridge papermill, this single track branch line also carried considerable numbers of passengers, including joyful holidaymakers, expectant golfers, distracted academics, demure schoolgirls and reluctant servicemen.

Surviving Grouping, Nationalisation, and, in its last years, dieselisation, the Leuchars to St Andrews branch finally succumbed to closure in an era of hollow promises and unfulfilled hopes; even now, more than a generation later, there are still those who hope to resurrect the line and restore its fortunes.

The book is to A5 format, 288 pages, with more than 200 photographs, maps and illustrations.


ISBN 978 0 85361 673 3

£ 16.95

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ST HELEN'S RAILWAY: Its rival and successors
by J.M. Tolson                  
LAST FEW COPIES AVAILABLE - Order now to avoid disappointment
100 pages of text plus 12 pages of 25 photographs on art paper, and including 16 maps. A5. Linson covers.

ISBN 0 85361 292 7
ISBN 978 0 85361 292 6

£ 4.80

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by Peter Tatlow            
On 4th December, 1957, W.J. Trew, as he had done on many occasions previously, was driving the 4.56 pm steam-hauled express passenger train through south-east London from Cannon Street to Ramsgate conveying city workers and Christmas shoppers back to their homes, on this occasion, as so often at the time of year, in a thick London fog. His failure to locate and hence respond to two warning colour light signals led him to approach the final red signal, requiring him to stop his train, at a speed estimated at 30 mph or more. This was much too close to prevent him crashing heavily into the crowded stationary suburban electric train ahead of him. By stroke of misfortune the impact took place under a heavy steel flyover carrying other tracks and the derailed tender of his locomotive knocked out one of the overbridge’s supports causing it to fall on the leading coaches of his own train. By better fortune, another crowded commuter train about to cross the collapsed flyover was alerted in time to stop. Nonetheless, the casualty toll at 90 souls was the third worst in the country, to which suffering must be added the many injured some very seriously.

The emergency and voluntary services were soon on scene and their exploits were remarkable in recovering the injured and treating them in nearby hospitals. The Police coped with the bodies, identifying them and informing the bereaved, while the traumatised were comforted and consoled by the caring services and pastoral bodies over the coming days.
During the rescue stage, the stability of the partially-collapsed flyover was of concern. Apart from some shoring, only once the injured were removed, could the work of temporarily supporting the delicately-balanced structure begin. The four tracks of the main line were opened eight days later, but this still left the line carried by the flyover to be dealt with. Even before the main line was reopened, a start had been made to construct the trestle bases for a temporary replacement flyover, which was completed and double line opened for traffic in seven weeks.
A  Ministry of Transport’s Inquiry was started, soon after which the Inquest returned a verdict of accidental death. In the meantime, proceedings were instituted against the driver on the charge of manslaughter. The first jury were unable to agree and at the retrial, the prosecution declined to offer any evidence and Trew, by then a broken man, was discharged.
Over a period of more than six months an investigation of the train’s speed, braking equipment, signalling and sighting distance pertaining at the time of the accident was carried out. Despite the conclusion that it was not possible for the driver to see the necessary signals when seated on the left-hand side of the locomotive, the Inspector deemed that he should have either crossed over the cab or interrupted his fireman from his duties to ask him to look out for these signals. As a result, the driver was held solely responsible for the accident.
Looking back at this conclusion after 50 years, one has to wonder whether, in the light of recent events on the railways following similar disasters, it might not be those who were responsible for signal sighting that might be feeling the force of the law.
The book is to A5 format it consists of 160 pages with more than 100 photographs, maps plans and illustrations including a large pull-out diagram of the signalling arrangements at Lewisham St John’s. It is has a laminated card cover with a square backed spine.


ISBN 978 0 85361 669 6

£ 12.95

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by Peter Marshall
The Scottish Central Railway was opened in 1848 as part of the Scottish railway system being established during the years of the ‘Railway Mania’. It was proposed as an essential part of the West Coast route from London to Aberdeen, which made it a target for larger neighbours as they fought to dominate Central Scotland. Essentially a locally promoted line less than 50 miles long, the Scottish Central became the centre of many hard fought battles. One, between the Caledonian and the Edinburgh and Glasgow Railway companies, and so between Scottish and English share-holders, saw the Caley take the line over in 1865.

Another battle was fought over the South Inch in Perth. As four separate companies approached the city, a dispute emerged over the location of the station there, with personalities such as the Lord Provost of Perth opposing a site on the public space.

Concentrating on the early years, this book covers the promotion, construction and operation of the company. Later years of the Grampian Corridor to Aberdeen and steam’s finale, the three hour express trains of the 1960s, are also featured. The company’s works, rolling stock, the influence of Alexander Allan and the relationships with its branches and neighbouring lines, both major and minor, are covered in the text and illustrations.

The book is published as a celebration of 150 years of rail travel on the main line through Stirling and Perth.

The book consists of 248 pages with more than 120 photographs, maps and plans etc. It is casebound with a gold-blocked spine, printed endpapers, and a two-colour dust jacket, and is printed on art paper throughout.


ISBN 0 85361 522 5
ISBN 978 0 85361 522 4

£ 19.95

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SHAKESPEARE'S AVON: The History of a Navigation
by Dr Jamie Davies
Perhaps it could be claimed, that what the Talyllyn Railway was to railway preservation, the River Avon was to waterways restoration! This great success story is told here. The beautiful River Avon, which threads its way from Tewkesbury through Pershore and Evesham to Stratford, had largely fallen into disrepair as a navigable route by the end of World War II. Tourists have enjoyed the river through the years, particular daytrippers from the industrial West Midlands and Black Country known colloquially as ‘The Dudleys’. The river is once again navigable thanks to the heroic efforts of preservationists. Since 1974 the river has formed part of the Avon Ring, an extremely popular route with waterways enthusiasts. Jamie Davies traces the history of the river as a trade route from the 15th century, to the aspirations of the 21st century, when hopefully the navigation will be completed to Warwick and the Grand Union Canal. Was the Avon the birthplace of the world’s first steam ship? Jonathan Hulls vessel was said to have been built at Evesham in 1737 where its ignominious failure was witnessed by an excited crowd.
A5 format, 152 pages with 98 photographs/plans, square-backed Linson cover.
C9 ISBN 0 85361 490 3
ISBN 978 0 85361 490 6

£ 8.95

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THE SHROPSHIRE UNION RAILWAY - Stafford to Shrewsbury including the Coalport Branch
by Bob Yate

Several canal companies converted their canals into railways during the early 19th century, and others were purchased by railway companies and subsequently converted. However, the Shropshire Union Railway running from Stafford to Shrewsbury, was unusual in that it was one of the few public railways in Britain to have been built as such by an erstwhile canal company. Around one-third of the route mileage of the SUR was a joint line. Its partner, the Shrewsbury & Birmingham Railway never reached their destination of Birmingham, and was inevitably involved in the competitive struggle for railways around Wolverhampton. As the London & North Western Railway not only operated the SUR from its opening, but also oversaw its construction, it was perhaps inevitable that the forceful character of its General Manager, Captain Mark Huish, would be evident in its dealings with the S&BR, and with its successor, the GWR.

These troublesome times eventually gave way to a more relaxed period in the railway's history, when it gave good service to its customers and constantly sought ways to improve its services. The area was rich in mineral resources, as well as manufacturing enterprise, and the railway played its part through both peacetime and wartime in promoting these activities. Its location meant that although it was never a congested traffic route, it was a very useful diversionary route during emergencies. In the 1960s, there was an air of inevitability of closure for the line from Stafford to Wellington. However, electrification work on the West Coast main line once more brought new life to the line, as it again played its valuable role as a diversionary route. But although this just delayed the inevitable, the line closed in very gradual stages, not completely between Stafford and Wellington until 1991. The future for the remaining section, the joint line from Wellington to Shrewsbury, appears assured, even if the intermediate stations have gone. Little trace remains of the one branch line, to Coalport, but its history is rooted in the industrial revolution, and is told here.

A5 format, 224 pages, with more than 250 photos, maps, etc. It has a full colour laminated cover with a square-backed spine.

OL129 ISBN 0 85361 613 2
ISBN 978 0 85361 613 9

£ 14.95

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by G.A. Pryer
In the signal box we have what was perhaps the first ‘true’ railway building.  A station might look like a country vicarage and its adjacent goods shed like a tithe barn, but seldom, and never on the London & South Western Railway, was there any attempt to blend the signal box into the general style of the other structures, and it looked like exactly what it was.  There are several reasons for this.  By the time signal boxes became widespread the public were familiar with railways and there was no need for confidence-boosting.  Furthermore, they were private buildings, so ostentation was considered pointless.  They also had to embrace many practical considerations, such as affording the signalman a good view of the tracks and signals under his control and providing enough room beneath him to house the mechanical interlocking.  There had never before been the need for such a building, except possibly the relay stations erected in the previous century in connection with the Admiralty semaphore telegraph. 
It is also fairly certain that no professional architect got anywhere near them. Indeed, it is not clear who did design signal boxes, as surviving drawings are either unsigned or signed illegibly.  What is certain is that on the LSWR the task devolved upon the Chief Civil Engineer’s staff, perhaps because they were thought best qualified to assess the suitability of sites for different types of building.  Some were undoubtedly ‘off the peg’ structures straight out a contractor’s catalogue, but most of the early boxes appear to have been designed from within the railway company, as were all those after 1878 except for a few ground-level boxes.  This work attempts to outline the development in signal box design from the earliest years to the end of the LSWR as an independent company.  It does not set out to be a history of railway signalling as such, although of course some mention of  it is unavoidable.  The task has been a complex one, for unlike its Southern neighbours the London, Brighton & South Coast Railway  and South Eastern & Chatham Railway, or even the GWR with whom it shared so much territory, the ‘South Western’ never adhered rigidly to sets of standard drawings, and produced a lot of variants of so-called ‘standard’ structures.  They also put up completely non-standard boxes for no apparent reason, and sometimes harked back to an obsolete design when installing new signalling, making it impossible to ‘date’ anything according to its style of architecture.  The book contains more than 150 photographs and drawings with extended captions, it is to A5 format, and consists of 176 pages of art paper, the book has a glossy laminated full colour card cover with a square-backed spine.

ISBN 0 85361 565 9
ISBN 978 0 85361 565 1

£ 11.95

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by C.E.J. Fryer


The ‘slipping’ of coaches from moving trains, seems in today’s more safety conscious world, an incredible practice. But it was once performed by some of Britain’s most respected railways, sometimes from their most prestigious expresses. More than 35 years since the last coach was slipped from the rear of a British main line train, it is surely time for some connected account to be written about this century-long phenomenon, before records of its use and frequency vanish from libraries and archives as the paper on which they were printed crumbles away. There was a story, long current among railwaymen though never officially confirmed, that the practice of slipping carriages from trains in rapid motion originated by accident. It was said that on a certain occasion in the early days of rail travel, before continuous brakes would have ensured that a train which broke apart would at once start to slow down and eventually come to a halt, a highly-placed railway official, wishing to travel from a terminal station to an intermediate one, mistakenly boarded, on the wrong side of a departure platform, a train due to run a considerable distance before its first booked stop.
He discovered his mistake when the train ran through one of the stations at which he had expected it to stop, and resigned himself at having to alight beyond his intended destination and then retrace his journey. His surprise was great, therefore, when the coach he was in began to slow down on approaching the station where he had meant to alight, and eventually came to a halt at the platform. His astonishment was even greater when, having stepped out of his compartment, he saw the front part of the train disappearing into the distance!

A5 format, 96 pages of art paper with 46 photographs/drawings and a Linson cover with square-backed spine.

X60 ISBN 0 85361 514 4
ISBN 978 0 85361 514 9

£ 6.95

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by Peter Paye
Snape Maltings, located on the banks of the River Alde in Suffolk, are famed as the venue for the internationally acclaimed Aldeburgh Festival of Magic and Arts, held annually each June in the famous concert hall and surrounding galleries. In addition thousands of people visit the complex all year round for river trips, painting and craft courses, and exhibitions, as well as browsing in the quality retail outlets and enjoying a drink in the local Plough and Sail public house. With such a success story it is easy for the visitor to overlook that the Festival would never have been held at Snape had not a certain entrepreneur, Newson Garrett, taken over an area of huts at the navigable head of the River Alde in 1840 and developed the site into a vast maltings, which ultimately continued as an active industry for almost 120 years. Although Garrett initially relied on water and primitive road transport, much of the imports and exports were conveyed by rail along short branch line opened in 1859. 
To ensure his commodities reached as wide a market as possible Garrett had, with great foresight, negotiated with the East Suffolk Railway to the building of the branch, and for just over a century the Eastern Counties Railway, which worked the ESR, and later the Great Eastern Railway, London and North Eastern Railway and British Railways (Eastern Region) operated a weekdays only goods train to serve the maltings and surrounding area. The railway thus had a great part to play in the development of Snape and its maltings, ensuring the complex can be enjoyed by present and future generations. This book tells the fascinating story of this relatively unknown Suffolk goods line from inception to closure, with details of the route, civil engineering, staff, timetables, traffic, and locomotives and rolling stock used on the branch.
The 120 pages of text include115 photographs, line drawings and

ISBN 0 85361 641 8
ISBN 978 0 85361 641 2

£ 8.95

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