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ACHILLBEG - The Life of an Island
by Jonathan Beaumont


One of Ireland's most scenic roads skirts the southern side of the Corraun Peninsula in County Mayo, giving breathtaking views of Clew Bay and Clare Island. Travelling towards Darby's Point from the Mulrany direction, a view of the southern end of Achill Island will launch into view as you near the point.  Just to the left of this, two low hills may be seen with a small secluded beach in between - at first glance it is another part of Achill Island to the uninitiated, but a closer look reveals that these two hills are separated from the rest of Achill by a narrow channel, the Blind Sound.

These two hills, with the narrow valley between them, make up Achillbeg Island, a small piece of Ireland some 60 hectares in area, and an individual little world in itself The name Achillbeg comes from Acaill Beag, or 'Little Achill' The island's wild and beautiful scenery has been shaped by the wind and strong sea currents, as the Atlantic pounds the exposed rocky coastline

By 1000 BC, Achillbeg was certainly inhabited, as it is from around this era that the spectacular promontory fort at Dun Chill Mhor may be dated. Before the ravages of the Great Famine the island's population was almost 200, but by the early 1960s barely a sixth of that number remained and the school enrolment was down to single figures. Despite the recent introduction of electricity and a phone line, the end was in sight, and the remaining inhabitants moved out in 1965. Much of the land is still owned by the families of those who left, and many surviving islanders live on Achill within sight of their old home, but Achillbeg is now a haven of peaceful solitude Several old cottages have been renovated as holiday homes, and the electricity link remains to service both these and the automated lighthouse. But the rest stand silently, abandoned under the wide western Mayo sky.

This book is the first study of this beautiful island, and has been painstakingly researched using the memories of former residents as the primary source It is to A5 format with a laminated card cover with square-backed spine and consists of 208 pages with 180 illustrations.


ISBN 0 85361 631 0
ISBN 978 0 85361 631 3

£13.95 / Euro19.95

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by Peter Paye

The Aldeburgh branch, unlike many of the lines inherited or built by the Great Eastern Railway, was not solely reliant on agricultural traffic for the major portion of its receipts. Much of the revenue came from the engineering works established at Leiston by Richard Garrett.

Aldeburgh was establishing itself as a fashionable resort for the gentry; it was thus essential for a railway to serve the town, and the extension from Leiston to Aldeburgh was completed in 1860. Passenger traffic was chiefly local in character, whilst freight increased considerably as Garrett’s works expanded production, augmented by agricultural, fish and coal traffic. As the years progressed so Aldeburgh’s importance as a coastal holiday destination increased and weekend excursion tickets were issued. From 1906 through coaches were worked from London and in the 1930s the ‘Eastern Belle’ Pullman train ran from Liverpool Street to Aldeburgh once a week.

The population of Aldeburgh barely increased in the 1930s/40s and although the upper and middle class clientele continued to enjoy the attractions, passenger numbers were hardly encouraging. The internationally famous Aldeburgh Festival was founded in 1948 by the joint efforts of Benjamin Britten, Peter Pears and Eric Crozier. It was hoped the festival would bring an increase in branch passenger revenue but audiences tended to travel by car. In the meantime branch freight traffic was also on the decline.
With a view to economy, diesel-multiple-units took over passenger working in June 1956 and yet further reductions came in January 1959, later the same year the freight services were dieselized. The early 1960s offered some hope for the branch when the impending provision of nuclear power stations at Sizewell was announced. Ultimately Sizewell A was commissioned in 1966 (the year the passenger service was withdrawn), and Sizewell B was commissioned in 1995. There was some resulting construction traffic being conveyed by rail and spent nuclear flasks being dispatched away to Sellafield. A truncated section of Aldeburgh branch between Saxmundham and Sizewell siding remains in use for the sporadic flask traffic to and from Sizewell.

A Branch Railway to Leiston
Extension to Aldeburgh
Great Eastern Operation
Nationalization and Closure
The Route Described
Permanent Way, Signalling and Staff
Timetables and Traffic
Locomotives and Rolling Stock
Level Crossings
Acknowledgements and Bibliography

A5 format, 320 pages, 230 images, printed on art paper. The book has a glossy card cover, with a ‘to scale’ reproduction of a 1946 One-Inch Ordnance Survey map of the branch on the rear cover. It is perfect-bound with a square-backed spine.

ISBN 978 0 85361 723 5

£ 19.95

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by Andrew Hajducki, Michael Jodeluk & Alan Simpson

In their previous book, The St Andrews Railway the authors set out the history, from inception to closure, of the pioneering branch line that connected the ancient university and golfing town of St Andrews to the outside world. This book continues the story of the East Fife Railways and deals with the fascinating and often tortuous history of one of the least prosperous and most ill-fated of all of the small companies that struggled to complete the coastal loop from Thornton to Leuchars, the Anstruther & St Andrews Railway.

Opened in two stages between 1883 and 1887, this rather wandering 16 mile-long single track linked the terminus of the Leven & East of Fife Railway at the busy fishing port of Anstruther with the genteel burgh of Crail and, turning north, served the villages of Kingsbarns and Boarhills, although in the case of Kingsbarns the station was a long walk away from the village it purported to serve.

From Boarhills the line then swung through a great arc and, passing through nowhere in particular, had remote stations at Stravithie and Mount Melville before beginning a fearsome descent to St Andrews where its flower-decked and spruce station was the meeting point with the branch from Leuchars.

In an astute move the shareholders of the Anstruther & St Andrews eventually sold out to Scotland’s largest railway company, the North British, and thereafter the line rose to new heights under the NBR and the London & North Eastern Railway, even carrying a named train, the fabled ‘Fife Coast Express’. The combined effects of an economic recession and bus competition caused the four intermediate stations between Crail and St Andrews to close to passengers as early as 1930 and this section survived a threat of complete closure to serve the wartime airfields at Crail, Dunino and Stravithie. The post-war boom ended with rapidly falling revenues and even the dieselisation of the passenger services could not stop local people from turning their back on the line.

When, in the 1960s, the line was finally closed many regretted that Crail was no longer on the railway map and that it would never again be possible to sit at the front of a diesel unit and trundle through a beautiful rural landscape interspersed with sea views, farmland and the four mysterious stations that seemed to have fallen asleep under a wicked spell.

To those who remember the slow trains that trundled their way around the East Neuk, the Anstruther & St Andrews Railway was possibly the most fascinating and least visited part of the Fife Coast system and it is still held in great affection by those who knew it. It is with great pleasure that the authors invite you to take your seats and await the green flag and whistle.

The book is to A5 format, 248 pages, with more than 200 photographs, maps and illustrations.


ISBN 978 0 85361 687 0

£ 15.95

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by Niall Ferguson

Dundee was a major area for early railway construction in Scotland.  The earliest line opened in 1831, and by the late 1840s there were no less than three railways with termini in Dundee.  All three were originally built to different gauges, the Dundee & Newtyle to 4 ft 61⁄2 in., the Dundee & Perth to 4 ft 81⁄2 in., and the Dundee & Arbroath to 5 ft 6 in. gauge, which it shared with the adjoining Arbroath & Forfar.  The Arbroath & Forfar line opened in 1839, and before long it was possible to travel from Dundee to Forfar without the need to change trains.  The railways on Tayside were not concerned with transporting coal, they made their money from a combination of transporting agricultural materials and passenger traffic.  The Arbroath & Forfar Railway was soon taken over, eventually by the Caledonian Railway, but its position on the principal route between Glasgow and Aberdeen ensured that at least part of its line would remain open until 1967.  The Kirriemuir branch train services tended to be centred on the Forfar-Arbroath-Dundee axis, so it has been decided to include its story here.

The Dundee to Forfar Direct line, which opened in 1870, is also described.  It resulted from a desire to avoid the circuitous route from Forfar to Dundee via Arbroath, but it was always something of a backwater, and cannot really justify a volume of its own.

The book is to A5 format and consists of 240 pages which include more than 150 photographs, plans etc., it has a full laminated colour  card cover with a square-backed spine.


ISBN 0 85361 545 4
ISBN 978 0 85361 545 3

£ 14.95

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by D. D. Gladwin

This glorious collection of more than 370 photographs and plans traces the history and development of buses in Britain through the 20th century. The author tells the story through extended captions, where his intimate knowledge of his subject, makes this book a highly informative and entertaining read.

We celebrate the development of the Bus through the years and look at Bus Operators large and small. Our journey takes us from the fantastic variety of design in the buses of yesteryear through to the standardisation and rationalisation of more recent times.

A5 format, 208 pages printed on art paper throughout, which includes a 16 page colour section. The book is perfect bound with a full colour laminated card cover with a square-backed spine.


ISBN 0 85361 607 8
ISBN 978 0 85361 607 8

£ 14.95

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THE ATOCK/ATTOCK FAMILY -  Worldwide Railway Engineering Dynasty
by Ernie Shepherd


Martin Atock served as locomotive, carriage and wagon superintendent of the Waterford & Limerick Railway from 1861 until 1872 and of the Midland Great Western Railway for the next 28 years up until 1900. Eminent author on Irish railway matters, Ernie Shepherd, discovered that Martin Atock had served part of his apprenticeship at the Stratford works of the Eastern Counties Railway, where his father George was in charge of carriages and wagons for 29 years on both that company and its successor, the Great Eastern Railway, and where his brothers Frederick and George had also worked. Ernie then decided to follow up the trail.

Little did he know that he would trace four generations and 13 members of the family involved in railways spanning a period of nearly 130 years, not only in Britain and Ireland, but also in Australia, Burma, Ceylon, Cuba, Egypt, Malaya, New Zealand, Sudan and Venezuela – truly a great, worldwide, railway dynasty!

Some further members of the family led exciting lives apart from the railway scene and are also worthy of mention. The period covered by this book includes the two World Wars in which a number of family members were to play their part.  

A significant moment in the family’s history was when Frederick moved to the Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway in Newton Heath, Manchester in 1876, members of the family were to hold positions within the L&Y, and its successor the LMS, for almost 60 years. When the diesel era dawned Martin Oldacres Attock was at the heart of it, working in the design department for English Electric on main line locomotives, railcars and the ubiquitous 350 hp diesel shunter for British and overseas railways.
There had been Atock rocket experiments in Australia in the 1930s and the family can still be found at the cutting edge of technology having been involved with the European Space Agency on the Rosetta spacecraft. This book draws together the extraordinary story of a long, varied and continuing engineering dynasty.

The book is to A5 format, it consists of 264 pages, with 162 illustrations and it is printed on art paper throughout. It has a full colour laminated card cover with a square-backed spine.


ISBN 978 0 85361 681 8

£ 15.95

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by C.W. Judge
A fascinating railway running through a sparsely populated area. The line ran from just south of Goole to Haxey on the Doncaster-Lincoln route, via Reedness and Epworth, with branches to Fockerby and Hatfield Moor. Although the passenger service ceased in 1933, freight services survived into the 1960s. 288 pages of art paper, 198 photographs/ plans etc. A5 format, casebound with gold-blocked spine and 3-colour glossy dust jacket.

‘superb photographs . . . fascinating anecdotes . . . first-hand memories . . . well researched material’
Scunthorpe Evening Telegraph


ISBN 0 85361 441 5
ISBN 978 0 85361 441 8

£ 18.50

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by Peter Paye

The publication of this book coincides with the 50th anniversary of the closure of the Axminster & Lyme Regis Light Railway linking Axminster on the LSWR main line in Devon to Lyme Regis in Dorset.

For centuries Lyme Regis was noted for its beautiful setting, and continues as ‘a gem of the Dorset coast’. Millions since have enjoyed the charms of Lyme Regis and the Jurassic Coast and, although not the easiest of places to access by road in the 19th and early 20th century, for 62 years many took the opportunity to travel to the coast by rail on the branch line from Axminster. Whilst the majority were attracted by the natural beauty of the area, its coastline, sea and sand, on the border of the counties of Devon and Dorset, for the railway enthusiast the appeal was to travel behind veteran Adams ‘Radial’ locomotives, which had been used on the branch for five decades.

The curvature and steep gradients encountered on the light railway presented difficulties with motive power and after early trials and tribulations the London & South Western Railway and later Southern Railway and British Railways found the Adams ‘415’ class 4-4-2 tank locomotives dating from 1882, suitably modified to satisfy the weight restrictions imposed by the respective civil engineers, suitable for the task. The sound of their ‘throaty pant’ as they tackled the gradients will live in the memory of many. Only at the last were they beyond redemption and replaced by more modern motive power.

After the opening of the Salisbury to Exeter line in 1860 local factions pressed for a rail connection to the Dorset coast. Failure to connect with the expanding railway network led to the threat of economic stagnation. It was not until 1899 when a Light Railway Order was obtained and, with the ‘blessing and backing of the LSWR’, progress was assured.

The works included the spanning of the Cannington valley by a viaduct, constructed chiefly of concrete and one of the earliest such structures in the country. The railway opened with great celebration in August 1903 and it served its purpose by lifting the depression from the area for the regular flow of local traffic was supplemented by the arrival and departure of holidaymakers in high summer, when through coaches were worked to and from London Waterloo.

Although summer Saturdays provided encouraging passenger receipts, winter services were poorly patronized.

Construction and Opening
London & South Western Ownership
Southern Railway Operation
Nationalization and Closure
The Route Described
Permanent Way, Signalling and Staff
Timetables and Traffic
Locomotives and Rolling Stock
Level Crossings

The Beeching Report of 1963 stated that closure was under consideration. Objections to the line’s closure were overruled and the last trains ran on 28th November, 1965.

A5 format, 144 pages, with more than 150 images.


ISBN 978 0 85361 739 6

£ 13.95

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by Alasdair Wham


The coming of the railways transformed Ayrshire from a county with a poor underdeveloped network of rutted roads, where carters manfully hauled raw materials around, to a county where the 'iron road' linked coal pit to port or iron works and where people could join in the transport revolution and travel. By the mid- nineteenth century blessed with rich coal deposits, fertile fields and with traditional industries like textile and weaving Ayrshire’s industry was ready to take advantage of the railway era and flourish. With an expanding railway network Ayrshire's goods could reach new markets and in return it also became a destination for people wanting to go for a day 'doon the watter' or for a game of golf on one of the famous links courses.

Ayrshire’s railways proudly held many early railway records, such as the historic Kilmarnock & Troon Railway, opened in 1812, with the first passenger service in Scotland and one of the first in the world.

This route saw one of George Stephenson's earliest experiments with a steam engine and also has the oldest surviving multi-span bridge in Scotland, recently restored, which is found at Laigh Milton near Kilmarnock.

Railway engineers were confronted with many challenges such as the Ballochmyle viaduct built to cross the deep red sandstone gorge created by the River Ayr which boasted the largest masonry span of any railway bridge in the world when built. Other viaducts were also required to tame Ayrshire's many rivers.

Alasdair Wham tells the story of the growth and shrinkage of Ayrshire’s railway network and explores their heritage, tracing disused trackbeds and visiting sites of railway interest. Sections of former trackbed that can be walked are highlighted in a series of walks, enabling the curious to explore Ayrshire's railway heritage on foot. The book will appeal to those interested in Ayrshire’s social and industrial history as well as the railways. Tales of incidents which occurred along the route are also included, ensuring a fascinating read for those interested in railways or those who just enjoy a good story.

The book is well-illustrated throughout with both historic photographs and photographs showing the remnants of the railway routes today. Clear maps and grid references enable those interested to explore the lost lines and the surviving railway heritage.

Alasdair has previously written a series of popular guides to Scotland's lost railways. His extensively researched work will satisfy the enthusiast while his intriguing stories will captivate the general reader.

The book is to A5 format, 200 pages with 165 images.


ISBN 978 0 85361 729 7

£ 15.95

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