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SOUTHERN RAILWAY HALTS: Survey and Gazetteer
by R.W. Kidner
64 pages of text including 47 photographs of stations, all on art paper. Maps and full alphabetical history of Halts (description, opening and closing dates, etc). A5 format. Two-colour Linson cover.





LP156 ISBN 0 85361 321 4
ISBN 978 0 85361 321 3

£ 3.90

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by William J, Hatcher
The SSMWCR was originally built as a mineral branch serving a coal mine on the North-East coast, and this it did successfully for almost a century. Indeed here is where the story could have ended, for at face value this was no different from the hundreds of other branches which served pits in this industrial corner of the country.
Scratch beneath the surface however and it soon becomes apparent that there was much more to the SSMWCR than the humble coal truck. The railway has its own passenger service which (although not unique for a colliery branch line) nonetheless boasted well-equipped termini and block signalling. Passenger trains were capable of taking the public back in time, leaving Westoe Colliery at one end of the branch, with its 20th century electric railway, and travelling down to Whitburn Colliery at the other end, firmly set in the 19th century with steam the staple power.
Then there was the rolling stock. This bewildering menagerie was raked in from all corners of the land, mostly via the second-hand market and spent a twilight existence on the branch line long after similar main line stock has been dragged to the scrapyards. The locomotives (and there were 40 of them) represented a full cross-section of early mineral designs from tiny Manning, Wardle industrial tank engines up to the hefty ex-North Eastern Railway 'C' class tender engines which were so indigenous to County Durham.

The most remarkable aspect of the railway, however, was the state of almost constant change it underwent throughout its history. It was built under wayleave as a mineral line, re-opened by Act of Parliament as a railway in the full sense of the word, and re-opened yet again at a later date as an official Light Railway. The original stations were demolished and rebuilt, signal boxes appeared on the railway, only to disappear again and be replaced by other boxes, while at one stage, even part of the railway itself was lifted and re-aligned. In fact so frequent were the changes that an enthusiast visiting the railway could return within a decade and find little to remind him of his previous visit.

The book is to A5 format, and consists of 128 pages with more than 99 photographs, drawings etc, it has a full colour laminated card cover.


ISBN 0 85361 583 7
ISBN 978 0 85361 583 5

£ 9.95

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THE SOUTH STAFFORDSHIRE RAILWAY - Volume One: Dudley-Walsall-Lichfield-Burton (including the Black Country Branches)
Bob Yate
At the time of the inception of the South Staffordshire Railway (SSR), rail traffic across Birmingham was seriously impeded by the restrictive nature of the route arrangements around Curzon Street and Lawley Street stations. This new railway was intended as a through route for traffic to and from Southern England and South Wales to Northern England, that would bypass this bottleneck. Its route northwards from the Oxford, Worcester & Wolverhampton Railway at Dudley, would provide links to the Great Western Railway at Wednesbury (then under construction) and the London & North Western Railway at Bescot and Lichfield, reaching the Midland Railway at Wichnor Junction, with running powers onwards to Burton.

However, the intention was not entirely achieved. In the first place, the sprawling industrialization of the West Midlands area that the line traversed proved to yield so much traffic, that its capacity was fully taken up in servicing these needs.

Secondly, the amount of through freight traffic was only ever minimal, mostly because the early routes were soon revised to virtually eliminate the bottleneck. Through passenger traffic over the SSR never materialized. Nonetheless, this line was successful with the more modest nature of its traffic, which with the development of the Cannock Chase coalfield reached enormous proportions in the first half of the 20th century. Local passenger traffic grew to acceptable levels, but was destined to be eventually withdrawn from the South Staffordshire Railway main line and its branches. The exception was the Walsall to Birmingham commuter service, which however, mostly used the LNWR lines.

The promoters, owners and lessees of the line had numerous other local business interests which not only complemented the railway, but provided employment and betterment of the local populace. The individuals involved earned the respect and gratitude of the local communities, although such is the nature of mankind that this has not been entirely remembered in any lasting form.

The mostly local traffic drew on a number of interesting operating procedures, as well as a wide variety of locomotives from those of the original South Staffordshire Railway, through a miscellany of LNWR and MR types and onwards through the standard LMS and British Railways types, well into the modern diesel era.

Eventually, the middle portion from Walsall to Anglesea Sidings (Brownhills) was closed entirely in 1984, and onwards to Lichfield City in 2001. The southern half of the route, from Dudley to Bescot was closed entirely in 1993, although its future as part of the Midland Metro system appears to be secure.

In this volume, we look at the construction and development of the main line, as well as the small branches to Dudley Port, the Darlaston Loop, and the Princes End branch, plus those mineral lines extending eastwards. A second volume will follow, which will examine the line from Walsall through Cannock to Rugeley, together with the numerous mineral lines that made up the railway complex serving the Cannock Chase coalfield.

A5 format, 312 pages with 290 illustrations. The book has a laminated card cover with a square-backed spine.


ISBN 978 0 85361 700 6

£ 19.95

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THE SOUTH STAFFORDSHIRE RAILWAY - Volume Two: Walsall to Rugeley (including the Cannock Chase Colliery Lines)
Bob Yate
Volume One of this work dealt with the South Staffordshire Railway (SSR) ‘main line’ from Dudley through Walsall and Lichfield to Wichnor Junction, along with the branch lines to the south and east of Walsall (see overleaf). This second volume examines the story of the line from Walsall to Cannock and onwards to Rugeley, together with the complex of lines serving the collieries on Cannock Chase.

The line from Walsall to Cannock was opened in 1858 and from Cannock to Rugeley the following year. The first of many lines serving the established coal mines on Cannock Chase followed quite quickly, and over the course of the following 30 years were added to, as new mines opened. Several other companies, notably the Great Western, took an interest in the area and attempted to gain access to the rich coalfield. However, all attempts were driven off by the London & North Western Railway.

The line from Walsall to Rugeley was of primary importance for the coal traffic, and its passenger services never really developed a satisfactory level of traffic. Nonetheless, the line became of strategic importance as a diversionary route for main line expresses, as a result of bottlenecks at peak times and interruptions on the Trent Valley and Stour Valley routes. Consequently, a considerable variety of locomotives were to be seen on the line over the years, on both local and long distance passenger and goods workings. Because of this strategic importance as a diversionary route it was spared complete closure. All of the collieries in the area closed, but coal traffic continued to be of importance on the line, albeit serving the power station at Rugeley. With the introduction of ‘park and ride’ facilities at each of the stations, passenger returned. Coal is still conveyed to Rugeley power station although much of it is imported. The line also sees some long distance freight passing through.


John Robinson McClean, His Life and Times
Involvement with the Furness Railway, the Birmingham Wolverhampton & Dudley Railway, South Staffordshire Waterworks Company, Cannock Chase Colliery Company and overseas ventures. Relationships with Francis Stileman, John Brogden and Richard Chawner.
Walsall to Cannock Origins
The initial proposals and subsequent changes. Construction and opening of the line.
Rugeley to Cannock Origins
Ambitions of the original company, and its efforts to find a partner. Change of name and moving forward. Construction and opening of the line.

LNWR Links across the Chase
History and description of mineral lines opened or operated by the LNWR: the Norton Branch, Norton Branch Extension Railway, Littleworth Tramway, Littleworth Extension Railway, Cannock Chase Railway (1862).
Further Links across the Chase
History and description of independent lines: the Cannock Chase Railway (1856), Cannock Chase & Wolverhampton Railway, Cannock & Rugeley Collieries.
A Direct Line from Cannock to Wolverhampton
Unsuccessful schemes put forward to link Cannock Chase directly to Wolverhampton,and how these influenced the last railway built in the area.

Description of the Line
A detailed examination of the line, lineside features, and local history from Walsall to Rugeley.
Working the Line
Review of passenger and goods services 1858 – 1965, and the locomotives used. A look at the North Staffordshire Railway passenger services, and excursion traffic. Incidents occurring on the line.
Modern Times
Efforts to restart the passenger services, their reintroduction in 1989, and subsequent development. Freight services from 1965 to the present. A review of the line today and future prospects.
Industrial Locomotives

A5 format, 208 pages, 204 images, printed on art paper, with a glossy card cover and a square-backed spine.


ISBN 978 0 85361 717 4

£ 15.95

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by  B.J. Elliott

The author’s interest in the South Yorkshire Joint Railway and the coalfield it serves, stems from a childhood spent in Doncaster and Rotherham, frequently walking and cycling close to the line and through the villages it served. The line opened as late as 1909, had withdrawn its regular passenger service as early as 1929, but is still a very important mineral line. All this stimulated the author’s interest and led him to write the first history up to 1970. This revised and much enlarged edition brings the story to 2001.

The SYJR kept very detailed operating and financial records, separate from those of its five (later two) parent companies. These enabled the early management committees to keep accurate records of the large profits (coal traffic) and small losses (passenger traffic) of the single branch line, which unlike others (at least until 1940) were not totally submerged within the accounts of a parent company.

Thus it is possible to record in detail the unsuccessful struggle to operate a profitable passenger service, leading to its eventual and early withdrawal. This experience clearly indicates that unprofitable passenger services existed even in the so-called ‘golden age’ before 1914.  

The losses from the passenger service were far outweighed by the profits from coal, which were the line’s raison d’etre. Since the last great coal dispute in 1985, this industry has contracted considerably. Of the eight collieries using the SYJR in the 1930s, only Maltby, Harworth and Rossington were open in 2001, but the last has almost ceased to use the line. The prosperity of the SYJR, if not its very survival, is still closely bound up with Maltby and Harworth. By reason of this mutual inter-dependence, both the rail and coal industries have been given virtually equal study and analysis here.

A5 format, 208 pages, 165 photographs, maps and plans, perfect bound, full colour card cover.


ISBN 0 85361 595 0
ISBN 978 0 85361 595 8

£ 13.95

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SIR WILLIAM STANIER - A New Biography   
by John Chacksfield         

Sir William Stanier has had many books written about his locomotives plus two previous biographical accounts of his engineering career in the railway sphere.

This new biography has become possible largely by the unearthing of material (some of it collected by Sir William and his immediate family) previously unused, which has enabled the author to include many personal anecdotes of an illustrious career and the associated family life. This has permitted a deeper insight into his dealings with his many professional and civic responsibilities and with those-close to him, both at work and at home. The unique feature which enabled some personal quotes of Sir William to be used in the 21st century was the receipt of a tape-recording, made in 1962, of an interview with H.A.V. Bulleid. Without all this, some of Stanier's dealings with specific matters could not have been covered in such detail. Also, much of Sir William's comparatively rare writings have been unearthed which most certainly .indicate how strong the impact of Churchward's forward thinking was in his design approach throughout his life, particularly on the LMS.

His travels were extensive in the latter part of his life, with much of the journeying being to the USA and India. .Detailed accounts of these foreign trips have been included to show how wide his influence became within the Worldwide railway sphere. It is hoped that this new biography will complete an account of the life of a great engineer.

Produced to A5 format, it consists of 168 pages of art paper with over 150 illustrations. The book has a laminated colour card cover with square-backed spine.


ISBN 0 85361 576 4
ISBN 978 0 85361 576 7

£ 11.95

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STEAM, DIESELS AND ON-TRACK MACHINES - From Colwick to Derby via the East Coast Main Line
by John Meredith
When John Meredith left school at the age of 15 in 1954 he began a career on the railways with a six-year apprenticeship as a junior apprentice fitter at Colwick motive power depot, on the eastern outskirts of Nottingham.

The work at Colwick was physically hard and involved long hours in conditions which would not be allowed under today’s Health & Safety regulations. After his apprenticeship was completed in 1960, he was moved as a qualified fitter to a new diesel depot at Finsbury Park and then to Hitchin where he stayed for six years.

He then spent three years as a fitter in the Plant & Machinery Department at Derby. In 1969 John became shift supervisor at Beeston Freightliner terminal, but in 1971 he moved back to Derby to the post of Nottingham Divisional on-track supervisor.

John’s time spent on the on-track machines offers us a rare insight on what it was like to work as part of a team on these machines. This is a subject that up until now has been somewhat neglected by railway authors. Just over seven years later he made his last move on the railway to be statutory engineering inspector in the Chief Mechanical and Electrical Engineer’s Department at Derby, but based at Nottingham.
In Steam, Diesels and On-Track Machines John describes the hard life that he led as a fitter, often working at night and at weekends but shining through it is his determination to get the job done as quickly as possible, often showing great resourcefulness and determination in undertaking difficult jobs himself on the spot, while others wanted to send for a breakdown crew. He also brings out the camaraderie and the good humour of his fellow workers, not to mention the practical jokes some of them liked to play on each other.

A5 format, 240 pages, 196 images, printed on art paper, with a glossy card cover with square-backed spine.


Starting a Life on the Lines
Doncaster Works (The Plant)
Back to Colwick
Colwick and its Locomotives in the 1950s
Travelling on a Free Pass
Finsbury Park - The Learning Curve
Happy Days at Hitchin
Early Days at Derby
Working on the old C&HPR
Back to Derby
A Few Characters
Relief Work at Toton
Working on the CCE On-Track Plant
Living with a Tamping Machine
A Pioneer for Freightliners
Back to Happy Days at Derby
Working for the CM&EE


ISBN 978 0 85361 718 1

£ 15.95

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Vol 1: Transport around Oldham in the 1930s, Locomotives at Gorton in the 1940s and Leeds trams in the 1970s.

by Geoffrey Hilditch

Very few road passenger transport professionals, and especially those involved in the now almost vanished municipal sector, have ever taken the trouble to write down for publication a record of their activities which would include an outline of the engineering, operation and financial/administrative problems that came their daily way, and what a story so many of them could have told.

Just what must it have been like to set up and then run a brand new circa 1900s electric tramway system or to cope later with the vagaries of those temperamental 1920s buses, or in the 1930s to start to abandon tramcars for motor or trolley buses or to engage in the initial and quite unprecedented traffic court battles? 

Consequently here is the author's attempt to provide present day passenger transport enthusiasts with just a flavour of what it was like to be so involved from the middle of the last century through the next few decades, when almost non-stop change was the name of the game.

Before one reached the dizzy heights of finding the legend 'General Manager' affixed to your office door one had to obtain a suitable start in the industry and thereafter try to make progress as opportunity allowed. If anything, obtaining that first start could be far from easy. Here then is the story of how one interested but uninformed schoolboy tried to attain his early and overriding ambition to see his name on the side, preferably of a municipal tramcar, against those almost magic words 'General Manager'.

A5 format, 168 pages which includes 138 illustrations, the book has a laminated card cover with a square-backed spine.

Volume Two will be published February 2004.


ISBN 0 85361 614 0
ISBN 978 0 85361 614 6

£ 12.95

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Vol 2: A General Manager's Journey: Manchester, Plymouth, Great Yarmouth, Halifax

by Geoffrey Hilditch

Volume One ended at the point where the author had, with some reluctance left Leeds City Transport for what at the time seemed to be a very uncertain future. On the face of things the chances of ever holding the job of General Manager of a municipal transport undertaking were just about nil, but one never knows just what this life is going to bring, and if one is lucky enough to possess ambition, background and appropriate technical qualifications then who knows just what might be possible?
Achieving such a post in those days depended also on a whole series of other factors, when good luck and a wife who never objected to frequent household removals were of paramount importance.
In the event as you will read Geoffrey Hilditch managed to make it, but once the chair was his he speedily found that life was very different to what it had been as a lowly member of staff, or a departmental head, or even a deputy General Manager. The buck really did stop here!

A new General Manager, in a strange undertaking, has to learn as quickly as possible where the buses actually run, what local tribal customs are in respect of union agreements, duty schedules, etc., and just what are the relationships between your outfit and other bus concerns that impinge on your territory, and even more important those that exist or otherwise with other departments in the municipal structure, and their chief officers. Last but by no means least, what do the members of the council come to think about your efforts?
Two things become very obvious in no time at all. A considerable sense of humour is a decided asset, as is a very thick skin, for here the pages of your local newspapers will soon reflect what their readers think of you and your managerial efforts Do you really base your timetables on Old Moore's Almanac or the Liverpool Tide Tables as some correspondents are sure is the case?
Our story starts on the afternoon of Sunday 1st November, 1953, as the author caught a No. 9 bus from Oldham Star Inn to Ashton, and changed there onto a trolleybus that took him to Guide Bridge station wondering all the while just what the future would bring.
A5 format, 184 pages which includes 120 illustrations. The book has a laminated card cover with a square-backed spine.


ISBN 0 85361 616 7
ISBN 978 0 85361 616 0

£ 12.95

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THE STOKE TO MARKET DRAYTON LINE and Associated Canals and Mineral Branches  
by C. R. Lester
This history which began as a study of the Stoke-on-Trent to Market Drayton branch and its canal antecedents, but just as one railway leads to another, so research begets research and the end product includes some account of other 'Drayton' railways, whether constructed or not. Chronologically, however, pride of place belongs to the North Staffordshire Railway or 'Knotty' as it is affectionately known.

Originally published almost 20 years ago and long out of print, this reprint is now reproduced on quality art paper throughout with a four colour laminated card cover with square-backed spine. The book consists of  72 pages with 40 photographs, plans etc.


ISBN 0 85361 293 5
ISBN 978 0 85361 293 3

£ 5.95

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SWANAGE 125 Years of Railways
by B. L. Jackson

The opening of the railway in May 1885 transformed Swanage into a respectable seaside resort with through coaches from Waterloo, it also saw the seaborne trade in Purbeck stone transferred to rail as was a large quantity of the clay traffic. Many military specials serving the summer camps in the area ensured that the Swanage branch was busy during the golden age of railways. This was to change during the 1920s and 1930s with the increase in motor transport and the opening of the Sandbanks chain ferry. World War II and the years of austerity that followed allowed the branch to retain much traffic including through trains from Waterloo until the proliferation in road transport saw a decline.

Although not included in the Beeching Report, British Railways were determined to close the branch and after much resistance from the local community it closed to passenger traffic in 1972 and the track lifted except for the section to Furzebrook, retained for clay and later oil and gas traffic.

Following closure enthusiasts rebuilt the dismantled section over a 30 year period adding three additional stations and today the Swanage Railway is a much acclaimed heritage line.

This work, the first to cover the complete history of the branch from the first scheme in 1847 through the failed schemes of the 1860s, its rise and decline in a changing world and subsequent preservation are all told within 288 pages, supported by more than 240 photographs, maps and illustrations.


ISBN 978 0 85361 696 2

£ 16.95

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