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Books J, K, La - Le

RON JARVIS - From Midland Compound to the HST
John Chacksfield

In the layer of railway management below those ultimately in charge there were a large number of very competent persons, many o whom were outstanding in their particular sphere. Ron Jarvis was one such person. Starting as an apprentice at the Derby Works of the LMS he proved to those in high office that he was worth watching. He obtained a post in the design office at the end of his apprenticeship before being selected for a move to the Euston headquarters to work in a development team under Tommy Hornbuckle, then designing a 3-car diesel unit. The CME, William Stanier, noted his obvious abilities such that, during World War II Ron spent much time overseas. Firstly, in Turkey overseeing the erection of a batch of '8F' 2-8-0s and some 500 wagons, and secondly, in India as personal assistant to William Stanier on an exhausting Machine Tool Mission. Following the War, he stayed at Derby working under George Ivatt. During this time he was responsible for much spare-time effort in the preservation sphere before being posted to Brighton and put in charge of the three design offices of the Southern Region.

At Brighton he was involved in the final trials of Bulleid's 'Leader', the rebuilding of the Bulleid Pacifics, and the BR Standard class '4' 2-6-4T and 4-6-0, with his final steam design responsibility being the class '9F' 2-10-0. He then moved on to electro-diesel and electric locomotive developments for the Southern Region. Returning to Derby he then spent the last years of his service largely on the design aspects of the power car for the HST125. He retired in 1972 and settled in Wales to devote his energies to the restoration of historic rolling stock on the Festiniog Railway. Throughout all this Ron was keen photographer. Many of his photographs and also many of his brother Jim's have been used to illustrate this biography. Ron died before he could put into practice his intention of writing his autobiography. However, the material carefully saved to achieve this was preserved by the family who passed it to author to assist in this task.

The book is to A5 format, 176 pages with 160 illustrations and a full colour perfect-bound jacket.


ISBN 0 85361 618 3
ISBN 978 0 85361 618 4


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by Peter Paye

The Jersey Eastern Railway was proposed essentially for passenger traffic. The railway was opened from a temporary terminus at St Helier, Green Street to Grouville on 6th August, 1873. A few weeks later the line was extended to Gorey, and in May 1874 to the permanent St Helier terminus at Snow Hill, a location much nearer the centre of the town. The half mile extension beyond Gorey Village, to Gorey Pier was not completed until 1891, whilst the proposed extension to St Catherine's was never built.

The new railway was an immediate success and passenger traffic grew considerably, especially at weekends and bank holidays, often taxing the company resources to the limits on the 6⅜ miles of single line. While freight traffic failed to materialise, passenger growth continued, enhanced by the introduction of regular sailings from Gorey Pier to Carteret on the French mainland, with through bookings available from St Helier to various destinations in France.

Standing in the deep chasm of Snow Hill terminus, the JER train with its diminutive engine and four-wheel coaches was as smart as any found on a mainland branch line. At its head, a highly polished, bright green 0-4-2 tank locomotive, resplendent with brass fittings and nameplate, was coupled to an assortment of coaches in teak livery with usually a brake van at each end. The names of the stations were almost melodic to the ear, for after St Luke's came Grève d' Azette, then Samarès followed by Le Hocq. Next came Pontac, standing hard by the seashore, and as the journey progressed, La Rocque, Les Marais, later renamed Fauvic, followed by Grouville and Gorey Village, and finally Gorey Pier station, overlooking the picturesque harbour under the shadow of Mont Orgueil Castle.

Jersey - An Explanation
Advent of the Railway
Construction of the Line
The Early Years
Extension and Consolidation
The Fight for Survival
The Route Described
Signalling, Civil Engineering and Staff
Timetables and Traffic
Locomotives and Rolling Stock

The watershed for the JER came after World War I, with increasing competition from motor buses. The purchase of two steam railcars and opening of two new halts did little to arrest the flow. Losses continued to mount and the railway was voluntarily wound up and closed after the running of the last services on 21st June, 1929. To regular travellers, to those who lived within sight and sound of the line, and the generations of Jerseyfolk or visiting holidaymakers, who enjoyed summer trips to Pontac and Gorey, the JER was held in great affection.

The author has attempted to trace the history of the railway from conception to closure and portray the flavour of those bygone days which will never return.

A5 format, the book consists of 208 pages with 180 illustrations and is printed on high quality art paper. It has a glossy colour card cover with a square-backed spine. This history was originally published in a different format by John Masters Publications in 1999.


ISBN 978 0 85361 664 1


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by Robert Western

The Lake District is a place of outstanding natural beauty. Over the years this beauty has provided the inspiration for writers and artists. But could it be a place where the less sensitive would actually benefit from the experience which it has to offer, or would such people simply disturb this haven of peace and spoil it for those who could properly appreciate it?

Whilst there was the anticipated advantage of a railway being able to bring in and take out commodities with an ease not experienced before, so improving the standard of living for those who lived locally, could this really more than balance the disadvantage (as seen by some) of the better ease of communication which would bring more visitors who could well spoil this idyll?  The proposal to build the first railway into the Lake District initially envisaged a line which would reach the shores of Lake Windermere and the outcome was a saga which, during the planning stage, was destined to become a very contentious one. 

It had aspects which might seem remarkable in this 21st century. This may well have been the only railway over which a war of words involved the Poet Laureate and about which poetry was used significantly as a means of protestation!

The early history of Britain’s railways is alive with richly coloured and flamboyant characters, one such was Cornelius Nicholson. He would be destined to be linked for ever with the Kendal & Windermere Railway. He was a man with the gift of rhetoric and one who was not easily distracted from his objectives in the face of opposition or adversity.

For more than 160 years the line has given service, and in present times, its future would seem to be assured. The early days, when the railway was being planned and built and, later, when it became operational, had often proved to be difficult ones, although during the 1880s there were even proposals to extend the line to Ambleside. The coming of the railway altered and enhanced the economic pattern of the region, bringing a level of commercialization which would not have otherwise been possible. The railway from Oxenholme to Windermere continues to play a significant and increasing role in this state of affairs.

The Move North Begins, 1837-1844
Further Plans
William Wordsworth, A poetic interlude
The Scheme Progresses
The Line Opens in Two Stages
The Initial Years: 1847-1860
The London & North Western:  The ‘Premier Line’
     Grouping,  Nationalization and Privitazation
The Line
A Gateway from the Lakes to the World

All those years ago, the railway enabled businessmen to come and live in the area, whilst being in easy reach of the centres of industry. They brought with them their wealth which bolstered the local economy. In the present era the service from Windermere (and stations along the line) to Manchester International Airport provides not only ‘a gateway to the Lakes’, but at also ‘a gateway from the Lakes to the world’. In a 2011 report, the Kendal and Windermere line was named as being in the top 10 of the branch lines in the country that had enjoyed significant growth. The line with its terminus at Windermere remains highly successful.

A5 format, 240 pages, 106 images, printed on art paper, with a glossy card cover.


ISBN 978 0 85361 721 1


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by M. R. C. Price 

The centenary of the opening of the railway to Aberayron falls in May 2011. To coincide with this Oakwood Press announce the publication of an enlarged Second Edition of the long out-of-print title The Lampeter, Aberayron and New Quay Light Railway which includes a number of new photographs.

Sixteen miles south of Aberystwyth on the wide sweep of Cardigan Bay, lies Aberayron one of West Wales most picturesque and attractive harbours.  The harbour and most of this delightful town was developed in the early 19th century. By the 1880s the townsfolk became involved with proposals to connect their town to the GWR main line in the area.  These proposals varied over the years, and included the fascinating possibility of an extension of the 2 ft gauge Vale of Rheidol Railway from Aberystwyth. The final proposal was for a route from the market town of Lampeter, with a branch from this line to New Quay.

Planning, construction and financing of the Aberayron branch was a protracted affair, and the railway did not open until 1911.  By this time there was already competition from motor buses. The planned New Quay extension was sadly never built.  The late opening date of the line means that most unusually photographs are available covering the earliest days of the railway. The line lost its passenger service in the 1950s, but freight trains continued to work on the line until 1973. A section of the line south of Aberayron is now a footpath.

Also covered in this book is the New Quay Harbour Tramway, a line of  approximately 4 ft 2 in. gauge, built to assist in the construction of the harbour there in the 1830s.

A5 format, 104 pages, 107 images, with a laminated card cover and a square-backed spine.


ISBN 978 0 85361 714 3


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by R.W. Rush                   
LAST FEW COPIES AVAILABLE - Order now to avoid disappointment
96 text pages plus 8 pages of 19 photographs on art paper. 77 scale drawings and reference tables. Size 8½'' x 5¾". Card covers.







ISBN 0 85361 306 0
ISBN 978 0 85361 306 0

£ 4.80

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by A. Hadjucki & A. Simpson
The Lauder Light Railway was one of the many rural lines promoted under the auspices of the Light Railways Act 1896. Opened only a few months after the end of Queen Victoria’s long reign, the diminutive trains on this little known by-way made their way laboriously up and down the gradients between Fountainhall, Oxton and Lauder for barely 30 years before the passenger service succumbed to bus competition, while the remaining goods service dwindled away to a mere skeleton before being finally laid to rest in the month which saw the inauguration of the first transatlantic jet service. Lauder is just one of the historic Border towns and villages which slow traffic up on the spectacular A68 high road to Edinburgh, few will now be aware, that once upon a time farmers and schoolchildren, sheep and potatoes, could travel in the wee train pulled by ‘Maggie Lauder’ as she puffed her way up and down through the rolling green hills and quiet valleys. The authors can but hope that this book will keep her memory alive.
A5 format, 128 pages, art paper throughout, including 83 photographs and 38 maps/plans/documents, it has a square-backed 2-colour Linson cover.

ISBN 0 85361 495 4
ISBN 978 0 85361 495 1


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by G.H. Anthony MCIT, Revised and extended by S.C. Jenkins
Running for over 30 miles through remote, and sometimes beautiful Devonshire countryside, the line from Plymouth to Launceston was one of the Great Western’s longer rural branch lines. The complicated history of the Launceston branch was recounted by G.H. Anthony in an Oakwood Press publication entitled The Tavistock, Launceston & Princetown Railways, which was first published in 1971. Born at the end of the 19th century, Mr Anthony was old enough to have known the GWR in its prime, and it follows that his history of the Launceston branch was a valuable source of historical evidence in its own right. Stanley Jenkins has expanded Mr Anthony’s original book, in this edition the route section has been greatly enlarged. A new title - The Launceston Branch - has been adopted. The book covers both the Launceston branch and the branch to Princetown from Yelverton. The book is to A5 format it is printed on art paper throughout and includes more than 130 photographs/maps and plans for this new edition, it has a square-backed Linson cover.

ISBN 0 85361 491 1
ISBN 978 0 85361 491 3

£ 11.95

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‘LBSC’ FOOTPLATE EXPERIENCES: Reminscences at New Cross
by L. Lawrence
‘Curly’ Lawrence is probably the best known writer on model engineering subjects, writing under his pseudonym of ‘LBSC’. He wrote for many years for the Model Engineer, and first came to real prominence in 1922 in ‘The Battle of the Boilers’ debate. His writing was to continue through to the 1960s. His many successful designs for miniature railway locomotives are his legacy. What is less well known are his exploits on the London, Brighton & South Coast Railway at New Cross. These were published as a series of articles in the 1950s and have been carefully compiled by noted author on ‘Brighton’ subjects, Klaus Marx. ‘Curly’ Lawrence was born around 1882 and in the mid-1890s joined the London Brighton & South Coast Railway to start his apprenticeship at New Cross as a cleaner at two shillings per day. In the seven or so years of railway service he would only have graduated to approved fireman, but that status enabled him to go out on the road. Shall we ever see his like again?
Lawrence had the genius quality of inspiring people, and his reminiscences are a distinctive and attractive trademark in an era when next to no railwaymen were putting pen to paper.

On the photographic side, Klaus Marx has been able to illustrate every one of the locomotives mentioned in the memoirs, and for the most part within the compass of the years 1898-1904 when ‘Curly’ worked, first as a cleaner, and latterly as fireman at New Cross locomotive sheds. These latter years it has been possible to illustrate with hitherto unpublished photographs from the collection of John Minnis. The great majority of illustrations come from two famous LB&SC collections: those of Maurice Bennett, taken personally with his brother Walter in the period between the turn of the century and World War I; and of John L. Smith whose all embracing collection of Brighton locomotive pictures includes the work of distinguished photographers, such as O.J. Morris.

The book is to A5 format and consists of 96 pages with 73 photographs, printed on art paper throughout, with a square-backed four-colour card cover.


ISBN 0 85361 498 9
ISBN 978 0 85361 498 2

£ 7.95

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Andrew Hajducki, Mike Jodeluk & Alan Simpson
This book recounts the history of the railway that once served the northern shores of the Firth of Forth and for a century or more faithfully carried coal, fish, farmers and tourists along the 20 or so miles of line between Thornton Junction and Anstruther. Built in stages, the Leven & East of Fife Railway started life as a locally promoted link the Edinburgh, Perth and Dundee main line and the expanding town of Leven and, within time, to the beautiful fishing ports and seaside villages of the East Neuk. Having fallen out with its larger neighbour the Leven Railway was forced, at short notice, to find its own locomotives and second-hand carriages to operate its trains and it did so successfully for a generation until, in 1877, it was acquired by the North British Railway. From then on it enjoyed a golden heyday that lasted until the war after which nationalization, the decline in coal, the desertion of the herring shoals and the increasing competition from road traffic brought this to an abrupt end.
But although the Kilconquhar and Anstruther extensions have been long abandoned the original section remains intact and the recent resumption of coal traffic to Thornton is an indication that, one day, the line may once again see regular passenger trains running between Leven and Edinburgh after an absence of more than 40 years.

With the present authors’ two previous volumes, The St Andrews Railway and The Anstruther & St Andrews Railway, their trilogy dealing with the Fife coastal railway line from Leuchars and Thornton is now complete. In compiling all three books the authors have endeavoured to give a full picture as they can of the social, financial and historical context of this interesting line and hope that they have made provided enjoyment not only to those who enjoy finding out more about Britain’s vanished rural railway network but also to those whose interest is more in the affairs of the Kingdom of Fife in general and the beautiful East Neuk in particular; whether we have succeeded in these aims is for the reader to decide for his or her self. Once again we would welcome any comments via our publishers and would apologise for the seemingly inordinate delay in the appearance of this book and, using contemporary railway jargon, we regret any inconvenience caused by its late arrival.

Still to come at a future, but hopefully not too distant date, is our final volume on the railways of the area, The East of Fife Central Railway (The Lochty Branch) which will also cover the Lochty Private Railway and the Kingdom of Fife Preservation Society activities at their Kirkland Yard depot.

The book is to A5 format, 320 pages with 216 images.


ISBN 978 0 85361 728 0

£ 19.95

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