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Books Railways - Ry

by Michael A. Vanns
In 1852, the Great Northern Railway, opening an important section of its main line between London and Doncaster, crossed the Midland Railway’s 1846 branch between Nottingham and Lincoln on the level just north of Newark-on-Trent in Nottinghamshire. The resultant inconvenient ‘flat’ crossing became, and will continue to remain for the next few years, one of the most emotive symbols of the intense and almost unfettered rivalry between Britain’s fiercely independent Victorian railway companies. This rivalry and the effect of the Midland and Great Northern railways and their successors on the economy of a small Midlands market town including its surrounding area, is at the heart of this book. From the earliest railway plans of the 1830s through to the recent revival of passenger services, the events of the past 150 years make a fascinating story. There is a wealth of information mostly from primary sources in this comprehensive local history, and the majority of illustrations have never been published before.

For the past 21 years the author has worked as a curator at the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust in Shropshire, and is currently their Head of Education. But he was born and brought up in Newark, and a number of his relatives worked on the railways locally. This first hand experience of railways in his home town has led to a life-long interest in railway history.

The book is to A5 format and consists of 256 pages with around 200 photographs, maps and plans etc.  It is casebound with a gold-block spine and a laminated colour dust jacket and colour endpapers.


ISBN 0 85361 532 2
ISBN 978 0 85361 532 3

£ 19.95

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by Clive Butcher
The Railways of Stourbridge is a detailed history which recalls the sequence of events which ultimately led to today’s railway operation in the area. The book places heavy emphasis on the 19th and early 20th centuries and fully utilises contemporary material, especially local newspaper reports to provide the reader with a flavour of the period and an understanding of the thinking at the time. This though, does not mean that the railway operation itself has been ignored: quite the contrary in fact. The freight and passenger services in the area, from the earliest days to the present, together with the associated motive power, have been covered at length. The reminiscences and experiences of local railwaymen bring to the text the personal touch of men who actually worked at Stourbridge depot and operated its services.

The book also covers the private tramways and mineral railways which fed much lucrative business into the main line operation and the railway schemes proposed but never constructed, and very grand some of these schemes were.

The book itself is not directed at one particular section of the railway readership. Hopefully, it will appeal to all those with an interest in railways in this part of the Black Country.

The book is to A5 format,and consists of 256 pages of art paper which include over 220 photographs, maps and plans etc. The book is casebound with a gold-blocked spine and a laminated dust jacket.


ISBN 0 85361 533 0
ISBN 978 0 85361 533 0

£ 19.95

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by Bernard Byrom

In the 21st century, when a journey by motor car along the A85 from Comrie to Crieff occupies a mere 10 minutes, it is difficult to imagine the tremendous enthusiasm with which the people of Comrie welcomed the arrival in 1893 of the branch line from Crieff. Comrie, along with the other villages in Upper Strathearn between Crieff and Lochearnhead, had been steadily increasing in size and prosperity in the second half of the 19th century but still depended on stagecoaches and general carriers for communication with the outside world.

This book tells of the efforts made over many decades to bring the railway to Comrie and to continue it westwards to link with the Callander & Oban line at Lochearnhead. All these efforts came to nothing until, in the end, the single-minded determination of Colonel David Robertson Williamson, Laird of Lawers, above all others achieved that goal.

When the House of Commons passed the Crieff & Comrie Railway Act in 1890 there was cause for much excitement. In 1905 the line was completed westwards to Balquhidder where it joined the Callander & Oban Railway and its promoters had great hopes of Oban being developed as a major transatlantic port. But it was not to be. The line never really prospered in spite of attempts in the 1930s to develop it as a tourist route. The end came in 1951 for the Balquhidder-Comrie section of the line and Comrie lost its rail service completely in 1964 when the remaining section to Crieff and Gleneagles was also closed.

In writing the book the author has not only used original material held in various archives but has also quoted extensively from contemporary newspapers reports. These reports vividly convey the excitement generated in villages whose transport system had been confined to the speed of a stagecoach or a horse-drawn cart and were now entering the modern age of steam transport.

A5 format, with a square-backed spine, the book consists of 160 pages which include 110 illustrations and it is printed on art paper throughout.


ISBN 0 85361 622 1
ISBN 978 0 85361 622 1

£ 11.95

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SIR VINCENT RAVEN and the North Eastern Railway
by Peter Grafton

It would be incorrect to state that Sir Vincent Ravens contribution to the development of British railways has been ignored but it has certainly been overlooked and this biography will, it is hoped, re-dress the imbalance.  Vincent Raven was, arguably, one of the far sighted - if not the most far-sighted - of the Victorian railway engineers.  His work on steam locomotives was overshadowed by Churchward of the Great Western Railway and by Gresley of the Great Northern Railway but in promulgating his ideas on electric traction, in common with Sir Isaac Newton, he stood on the shoulders of giants.

Raven was born in Great Fransham in Norfolk 1859 and in 1875 he took up a pupil apprenticeship with the North Eastern Railway at Gateshed.  By 1910 Raven had risen to the position of Chief Mechanical Engineer with the NER.  He was to remain in that position until the formation of the LNER at the Grouping.  

His 0-8-0 locomotives in particular were to prove to be solid workhorses from their introduction right through to withdrawal in the 1960s.  Raven's vision of an electrified main line from York to Newcastle was set aside with the onset of World War 1. Little was he to know that it was to take some 70 years before that particular dream was to become a reality.

The book is to A5 format. It consists of 144 pages, with l09 illustrations and is printed on art paper throughout.  It has a full colour laminated cover with a square-backed spine.


ISBN 0 85361 640 X
ISBN 978 0 85361 640 5

£ 11.95

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THE REDDITCH & EVESHAM LINE - The story of the line from Barnt Green through Redditch and Evesham to Ashchurch
Bob Yate

The line from Barnt Green via Redditch and Evesham to Ashchurch has been gifted several names over the years: the Redditch Line, the Redditch Branch, the Evesham Route, the Barnt Green to Ashchurch Loop, and the Birmingham-Gloucester Loop. The latter was shortened with use to the ‘Gloucester Loop’.

The country through which the line ran was mostly rural, and the towns it served whilst important, were not large. So the number and complexity of proposed lines in this area is somewhat surprising, and these are examined as part of the chronological survey of railway developments along each part of the line. As no railway exists in isolation, the events and services on the connecting lines as far as they affect this line, are also examined.

The line was built by three separate companies, and opened in four stages between 1859 and 1868. However, the Midland Railway had seen the potential, and backed the nominally independent companies and furthermore, each section of the line was operated by the Midland Railway. Although the line was never originally conceived as a strategic route, it was developed gradually from a desire to keep competitors at bay into a useful diversionary route.

The line proved prosperous as it served the developing manufacturing towns of Redditch and Alcester, and the important fruit and vegetable growing area of the Vale of Evesham. Passenger traffic was normally fairly light, but the area served also brought a good deal of day trippers from the Birmingham area at weekends and holidays. In modern times, the passenger traffic from Redditch was at first roundly discouraged, until common sense prevailed and the now much shortened line was modernized. The growth of Redditch as a New Town created a level of passenger traffic never previously imagined, and the surviving line has a frequency of trains that are the envy of much larger towns. It now forms the southern end of the electrified ‘Cross City’ rail link from Lichfield through Birmingham. The corollary is that freight traffic on the branch is nowadays non-existent.


The Existing Railways
A look at the railways in the area prior to 1858 – the Midland Railway route from Birmingham to Gloucester – the Great Western Railway line from Worcester to Evesham and Oxford
The Redditch Railway
Origins of Redditch and early transport links. Unsuccessful early proposals for lines in the area. Formation of the company, construction of the line, the dispute with the contractor. The life and times of George Furness. The opening of the line, and its description. A review of services, and experiences along the line from 1859 until1868.
The Evesham & Ashchurch Railway
Competition from an unexpected source. Planning, construction and opening of the line. A look at the frequency and composition of services from 1864 to 1866.
The Evesham & Redditch Railway
Formation of the company, and construction of the line to Alcester. Working the line to Alcester from 1866 to 1868. Construction of the line onwards to Redditch, and opening of the through route in 1868.The final events of the company.
Connections at Broom Junction
The plans and intentions of lines that were never built. The building of the Evesham, Redditch and Stratford-on-Avon

Junction Railway, its connection to the Midland Railway line at Broom, its subsequent operation by the Stratford and Midland Junction Railway, implications of connecting traffic and services, and the eventual demise of connections.
Description of the line
A journey from Barnt Green to Ashchurch, detailing the stations, track layouts and points of interest, and chronicling the physical developments of the railway from 1868 to 1964. A brief history and description of the GWR branch from Alcester to Bearley.
Working the line from 1868 to 1964
Passenger and goods workings on the line in this period, looking also at the development of the lines north of Barnt Green. An examination of rolling stock and locomotives used, sample fares, special workings and diversions, and the operating systems used. A brief look at the locomotives used on the GWR branch from Alcester to Bearley.
Modern Times
Events leading up to the closure the line south of Redditch, how the remnants of the line subsequently survived, the gradual demise of freight services, and a look at the line today, including searching for evidence of its history. Major new works in 2014.

A5 format, 224 pages, with 205 images.


ISBN 978 0 85361 736 5

£ 16.95

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RÉSEAU BRETON - A Rail Network in Brittany
by Gordon Gravett                 

During the late 1950s and 1960s vast numbers of British enthusiasts were making the Channel crossing to visit the Réseau Breton, the remaining metre gauge railway in Brittany. It was the most successful, and long-lived, of a number of metre gauge railways in this area of northern France, eventually finishing in 1967. Despite being narrow gauge, this was no sleepy backwater of a railway - the network consisted of five routes radiating from a very busy junction station and railway centre at Carhaix. Carhaix also boasted extremely active locomotive and carriage workshops alongside a busy running shed that kept the railway supplied with locomotives for the many daily duties. In post-war days diesel railcars had been employed on all the scheduled passenger services, but steam was very active on the heavy goods services and mixed trains - with large Mallet tanks often hauling in excess of 300 tons.

One of the five lines was converted to standard gauge and continues to provide a service into and out of Carhaix and the book brings the story up to date with a look at some of the modern traction that now operates the line, along with details of earlier standard gauge equipment.

The majority of the network was closed over 30 years ago but there is still much to see and explore. The author has rounded up this account by giving suggestions of routes that could be walked or cycled - quite legally - along the old track beds.

The book is to A5 format and consists of 176 pages, with a glossy laminated full colour cover with a square-backed spine. The text is complemented with more than 100 photographs, plans, maps and, with railway modellers in mind, drawings of locomotives, rolling stock and lineside structures. Now includes fold out map of the Réseau Breton Railway Network.


ISBN 0 85361 536 5
ISBN 978 0 85361 536 1

£ 10.95

éseau Breton Railway Network fold-out map


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RETURN FROM DUNKIRK - Railways to the Rescue - Operation Dynamo (1940)
by Peter Tatlow

There can be no denying that the Battle of Flanders was a significant defeat for the Allies, but it could have been a great deal worse. For every seven soldiers who escaped through Dunkirk, one man was left behind as a prisoner of war. In the nine days from 27th May to 4th June, 338,226 men escaped, including 139,997 French, Polish and Belgian troops, along with a small number of Dutch soldiers. It was not, for the British at least, a rout. The success of Operation Dynamo was that, whilst the British Expeditionary Force lost all its heavy equipment, a quarter of a million experienced soldiers returned to England.

The rescue of the bulk of BEF provided a psychological boost to morale. Since, once they were back, the UK retained the ability to defend itself against the threat of invasion. Britain with its Empire now standing alone against the Axis menace resulted in the Dunkirk Spirit. Britain’s ejection from the Continent and the subsequent Battle of Britain demonstrated clearly that as never before the whole population of the country was affected. This brought about a coming together of the whole community to meet the need of the hour.

It has been contended that the evacuation of our troops from Dunkirk was a glorious feat of improvisation. Nonetheless, the hastily created organizations set up under the imminent threat of war rose to the occasion by enabling others to contribute in time of need to marvellous effect. A general was heard to remark that he wished that ‘the Army could operate with as few written instructions as the Southern Railway does in an emergency’.


The Transport Infrastructure of Southern England
   Ports and Harbours
   Development of railways in south-eastern England
   Motor Bus and Coach companies
The Deteriorating Political Situation in Europe
Preparations for War
   The Railways
   Ambulance trains
   Medical facilities
   Other bodies

Military Events in France and Flanders
   Surrounding of BEF and French 1st Army
   Rescue from Dunkirk
Preparations for Dispersing the Troops
   Shipping Troops across the Channel
   Inland transport of troops
Landing and Transporting Troops from Area
   Channel Crossing

   Onward Transportation
   Operation of the Trains
   Motor Transport
   Evacuation of Children
Provision of Sustenance on the Journey
   A Snack at the Port of Disembarkation
Treatment of Casualties and Ambulance Trains
   Ambulance Trains
Reception Areas
Reception of Allied Troops and return of French
   Troops to France
Redistribution and Reorganization Areas

Subsequent Evacuations from France
   Operation Cycle
   Operation Aerial
Final Redistributions
Public Perception

   Spiritual aspects

The book is to A5 format, it consists of 184 pages with 91 images. There is a large fold-out map of Dover harbour and its railways.


ISBN 978 0 85361 697 9

£ 13.95

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by Stanley C Jenkins
The turbulent history of the South Wales borderlands produced a romantic and picturesque landscape of castles and villages. In Victorian times, this attractive, Anglo-Celtic district contained a network of local branch lines, which opened-up the area to tourists and visitors from England and elsewhere. The cross-country branch lines from Ross-on-Wye to Monmouth via Symond’s Yat, and from Monmouth to Little Mill (near Pontypool) via Raglan and Usk were interesting and classic Great Western rural lines. The route from Ross-on-Wye to Pontypool Road was built by two separate companies, the Ross & Monmouth Railway being responsible for the eastern section of the line, while the western portion from Monmouth to Little Mill Junction, near Pontypool Road, was built by the Coleford, Monmouth, Usk & Pontypool Railway. The Great Western Railway, which absorbed both undertakings, regarded the Ross-on-Wye to Little Mill Junction line as a continuous route.
Chapters One and Two tell the stories of the Ross & Monmouth and Coleford, Monmouth, Usk & Pontypool railways respectively, while Chapter Three deals with the operation of the line under Great Western auspices. The next chapters describe the stations and infrastructure of the two lines in greater detail. Finally, Chapter Six recounts the decline of the railway after World War II.

This book was first published in 2002, and this revised and enlarged Second Edition has an extra 24 pages enabling the inclusion of some new photographs. Also included is a full page track plan of Glascoed (which clearly shows the five stations/halts there). The track plan shows the developments which took place from 1938 and during World War II as Glascoed’s Royal Ordnance Factory became a great source of traffic for the railway. The full story of developments at Raglan prior to the opening of its station has also been clarified.

A5 format, the book consists of 200 pages with 198 illustrations and is printed on high quality art paper. It has a glossy colour card cover with a square-backed spine.


ISBN 978 0 85361 692 4

£ 11.95

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RYDE REVISITED: The work of William Hogg produced from the original glass plate negatives
by Colin Fairweather & Alan Stroud                    

Postcard collectors on the Isle of Wight will be familiar with the names of several photographers and producers of postcards; the names Beken, Debenham and Broderick come to mind for example, but a name always near the top of the list will be that of William R. Hogg.

This book celebrates Hogg's work by reproducing over one hundred of his photographs, in large format and in the highest possible detail to a degree unavailable until now. Without exception they have all been produced from Hogg's original glass negatives; there are no photographs of photographs and no copies of postcards.

With the aid of computers we have been able to revisit the glass negatives that Hogg used to produce his postcards, and produce print of the highest quality.

Thanks to Mr Hogg, today we can enjoy what must be a comparative rarity, an almost complete photographic record of a Victorian town, frozen forever in a collection of hundreds of glass negatives of the highest quality. Virtually the whole town has been preserved. Hogg has photographed scenes of every description, covering nearly the whole of central Ryde including roads, buildings, lanes and in particular, back streets, which were largely ignored by other photographers. He did all this superbly and the photographs are all of the highest technical quality and almost without exception they are perfectly composed. Apart from a small handful, the photographs in this book are exactly as Mr Hogg composed them in his viewfinder; we have been unable to improve on his composition.

Mr Hogg would be pleased and proud to see his photographs published today, as indeed he should be. His work was of the highest standard, technically and aesthetically, and it deserves to live on. The authors are equally pleased and proud to be able to have saved Mr Hogg's negatives from either a life on dusty shelves where they would no doubt remain unseen or even worse, from destruction.

Authors Colin Fairweather and Alan Stroud feel privileged to have been able to breathe a new life into Mr Hogg's photographs and to present them to a new audience.

Large Landscape Format, 210mm x 290mm.  99 full-page plates, on 128 pages. Casebound with a gold-blocked spine, printed endpapers, and a laminated dust jacket.


ISBN 978 0 85361 660 3

£ 19.95

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