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Books Wa - We

by Sydney A. Leleux

Profusely illustrated with photographs and maps, discover the delights of the many industrial railway systems operating in the lime and cement works of Warwickshire in this major new work. These railways have held a life-long fascination for author Sydney Leleux, indeed his earliest research into these lines commenced in the late 1950s.

The railway systems are described in a generally north-easterly direction, from Stratford-upon-Avon to Rugby, a distance of about 25 miles. The Appendices also cover Ardley Quarries, Totternhoe Lime Works & Quarries and Kensworth Quarries, all in neighbouring counties, in detail as well as Napton Brickworks.

The railways were built to a variety of gauges – including 1’9”, 1’11.5”, 2’6”, 3’0” and standard gauge.

Avonside; Aveling & Porter; Bagulay; Hudswell, Clarke; Hunslet; John Fowler; Kerr, Stuart; Motor Rail; Manning, Wardle; Orenstein & Koppel; Ruston & Hornsby; Robert Stephenson & Hawthorns; Sentinel; Thomas Hill and Bagnall provided a rich variety of engines to work on these railways. However, it was the attractive narrow gauge Peckett saddle tanks – many bearing names (Jurassic, Triassic, etc.) – that have perhaps most captured the attention and imagination of railway enthusiasts over the years.

Outline History of Cement Manufacture
Wilmcote Lime & Cement Works
Ettington Lime Works
Harbury/Bishop’s Itchington Cement Works
Ufton Quarries
Small Works in the Long Itchington, Southam
    and Stockton Areas
Southam Works
Greaves, Bull & Lakin, Stockton Lime Works
Griffin’s Stockton Lime Works
Nelson’s Stockton Lime and Cement Works
Small Works in the Newbold & Rugby Areas
Rugby (New Bilton) Works

Ardley Quarries
Totternhoe Lime Works & Quarries
Kensworth Quarries
Chalk Pipeline
Main Line Aspects and Chalk Train Operation
Bulk Carriage of Cement
Charles Nelson’s Canal Boats
Napton Brickworks
R.T. Crick, Church Leyes Farm, Napton
All Works Locomotive List

A5 format, 288 pages, with 220 illustrations.


ISBN 978 0 85361 737 2

£ 19.95

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by C. E. J. Fryer
It was a common thing, in the age when railways were being built in the British Isles, for a small line, built to serve a local need with locally-raised money, to progress for a while independently but then to find it necessary to submit to the offers of a larger line and become absorbed into it, its shareholders exchanging their shares for shares in the larger concern. Business in the Victorian age matched the Darwinian concept of the survival of the fittest; financial and industrial nature, like that of the animal world, was red in tooth and claw and expected to be so. Where the Waterford & Limerick Railway (W&LR) differed from others was in the long-drawn-out period of its survival as an independent line, and its phenomenal growth, first working and then absorbing other lines, though its financial situation might have suggested corporate suicide on favourable terms long before this actually occurred.
However, there were forces operating which helped it to survive, and while this was so it kept up the illusion of a rise to greatness, and before the end of the 19th century it had become the fourth largest railway in Ireland. Then the favouring influence ceased, and by 1899 it was clear that it could not carry on alone. After some protracted negotiations the largest railway in Ireland absorbed the fourth largest - and found the digestion difficult.

Unlike many other Irish railways constructed during the 19th century, the main line linking the two cities after which it was named is still in being, though all but two of its branches and extensions have ceased to carry passenger traffic and some have closed altogether. It is now more used for freight than for passenger trains. One can still, however, make the journey from Waterford to Limerick and back in a day all through the year - and twice a day during summer - and find plenty of lineside interest. If fewer, the services are quicker than they were a century ago, and may well improve still more if the proposed railcars are introduced.
The line's period of glory was its final decade as an independent company. It had the good fortune to have then , as its locomotive, carriage and wagon superintendent one of the most famous of British locomotive engineers in the days of steam, J. G. Robinson, who learned and developed at Limerick the skills and expertise that were subsequently to make him famous on the Great Central. He gave his engines and carriages the most colourful livery then to be seen in Ireland, and the outlines of the few locomotives he designed at Limerick foreshadow the graceful aspects of those he later built for the Great Central Railway. The Waterford & Limerick line is still well worth a visit, both for its own sake and for the attractive surroundings, the lush countryside and the charming Irish towns where one can stroll around.

The book is to A5 format and consists of 160 pages of art paper illustrated with more than 170 photographs, plans and maps, with a laminated card cover with a square-backed spine.


ISBN 0 85361 543 8
ISBN 978 0 85361 543 9

£ 10.95

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by J.C. Gillham
The W & C is only 1 1/2 miles long, but for 100 years it has been a very important line, carrying far more passengers than many much longer lines elsewhere. It owes its origin to the fact that, like most other main line railway terminal stations bringing passengers from afar to the city of London, the Waterloo terminus of the LSWR was still a long way from the real centre of the City. This book sets out to record a century of history of the W & C and transport historian John Gillham has done so very thoroughly. 

The W & C remained until very recently under the ownership of the LSWR and its successors, and it was the only underground railway never to come into the empire of the Underground or the Metropolitan companies, nor therefore of the London Passenger Transport Board, at any rate not until nearly 101 years after the passing of its Act which created it, but in 1994 it was transferred to the London Underground.

The line today, and its two stations, is still very much the same as when first built, with various small improvements, especially better access facilities at the City end, and it was completely re-equipped with new rolling-stock in 1940 and again in 1993. 

The W & C has always been physically isolated from all other railways, both surface and underground. Over the years there have been several proposals to extend it to join up with other existing railways, but all have been investigated and rejected. Its total physical isolation has always meant that rolling stock cannot be taken onto or off it by ordinary conventional methods, and this can only be done vertically, by means of a hoist or a crane, which is quite a major operation. 

The book is A5 format, casebound with a gold-blocked spine, 464 pages with more than 230 photographs, maps and plans.


ISBN 0 85361 525 X
ISBN 978 0 85361 525 5

£ 35.00

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by R.W. Kidner                    
LAST FEW COPIES AVAILABLE - Order now to avoid disappointment
62 text pages containing 46 superb photographs with the whole book printed on art paper. 4 maps. A5. Card covers.

ISBN 0 85361 291 9
ISBN 978 0 85361 291 9

£ 3.90

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by Stanley C Jenkins with additional material from Geraint Hughes
The 6½ mile-long single track branch from Watford Junction to St Albans (Abbey)  opened on 5th May, 1858. The branch was, from its inception, part of the London & North Western Railway. The St Albans (Abbey) branch started life as a simple country branch, and remained a particularly bucolic affair throughout its long life, and only in recent years has new housing development en route to St Albans given rise to significant residential traffic. The Watford to St Albans line was a candidate for closure during the Beeching era, but happily, growing traffic led to an entirely new lease of life for this rural route, which in July 1988 became part of British Railways’ 25 kV ac overhead electric system.

Since the First Edition of The Watford to St Albans Branch was published in 1990 the story of the line has been an eventful one.

Geraint Hughes, the Passenger Transport Policy Manager for Hertfordshire County Council from 1991 until 2005, has contributed a new chapter - ‘Modern Times and Renewed Optimism’. He was closely involved in the development of the strategy for the ‘Abbey Line’ culminating in its designation as a community railway in 2004, followed by formation of the Community Rail Partnership in 2005. In 2005 he then moved to Silverlink Trains to oversee the development of the Community Rail pilot project until the end of the Silverlink franchise in 2007.

The ‘Abbey Line’ celebrates its 150th anniversary in 2008 having firmly established a rapport with the community, while carrying increasing numbers of passengers and enjoying its most successful period for well over 50 years.

A5 format, the book consists of 128 pages of high quality art paper and includes 120 illustrations. It has a full colour glossy laminated cover and is perfect-bound.


ISBN 978 0 85361 675 7


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F. W. WEBB: In the right place at the right time
by John Chacksfield  FRAeS, FIBS, AFAIAA, C.Eng

F.W. Webb was one of the great railway engineers of the 19th century. When still in his early thirties, he was appointed head of the locomotive department of the London & North Western Railway and retained the position until he retired over 30 years later. It was a time of great expansion, innovation and technical progress on the railways in general, and he ensured that the LNWR led the way. He was a pioneer in the use of steel, for instance, designed new machine tools and improved production processes, and was a prolific inventor, with numerous patents to his credit. He was responsible for Crewe works, with all its functions, products and ramifications, of which locomotive design and maintenance were only a part. Under his leadership the works was expanded to the level at which the Railway Magazine described it as the 'most famous works in the world'. F.W. Webb's contribution was immense and not for nothing was he known as the 'King of Crewe'.

Inevitably in such an important position held for such a long period of time, errors of judgement were occasionally made. More accurately, decisions were made with the best of intentions, which were seen later to have been errors (hindsight is a wonderful thing), and some have led to controversy on which views are still expressed today.

In view of Webb's importance, it is surprising that no biography has ever been published. Now at last John Chacksfield, an experienced biographer of railway engineers, has tackled the task with energy and enthusiasm. At the outset, the author resolved to take an impartial stance on controversial matters and to form judgments based only on the balance of evidence. He has produced a thoroughly readable account which will become essential reading for anyone interested in the railway history of the 19th century, as well as containing much of interest to LNWR specialists.

Foreword by Edward Talbot
Introduction and Acknowledgements.
The Beginnings
From Design to Production and the Bolton
The Return to Crewe
Consolidation at Crewe
The Early Influences
Onwards in Design
The Three-Cylinder Compounds
Local Politics, Management and Other Issues
More Simples and Progress
More Compounds
The Final Days and Retirement
The Legacy

A5 format, the book consists of 144 pages with 126 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 657 3

£ 11.95

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by Stanley C Jenkins
The subject of this book is the 43 miles of railway that linked Norwich (Thorpe) to Wells-next-the-Sea on the North Norfolk coast. The line was opened in stages and had a number of distinct parts; Norwich to Wymondham opened in 1845, and Wymondham to Dereham a year later. Continuation to Fakenham came in 1849 and Wells was reached in 1857. By 1862 the entire route was in the hands of the newly-formed Great Eastern Railway.

The line ran to the seaside, but it never developed as a true ‘seaside branch’ because Wells only became a tourist centre in the 1950s and 1960s. It remained a rural branch line, serving local agricultural industries - indeed, much of the route remained in situ as part of the railway network until the 1980s, albeit as a freight-only branch.

The northern end of the route found a new and novel use as a narrow gauge tourist line, and the Wells & Walsingham Railway - the world’s longest 101⁄4 in. gauge line - now occupies much of the former trackbed. Similarly, from 1998, the Wymondham to Dereham section was re-opened as the standard gauge heritage line, the Mid-Norfolk Railway.

Although the former Great Eastern branch lines in East Anglia were, collectively, some of the most interesting branches in Britain, they have not hitherto enjoyed much attention from writers and historians, and when the first edition of this present history was published in 1988 it was the first monograph to appear in print on the Wells-next-the-Sea branch (this new edition is some 92 pages larger than the first imprint).

The opening of the Wells & Walsingham Railway had focused popular attention on the northern part of the line and, for this reason, the first edition concentrated primarily on the former Wells to Fakenham section. Nevertheless, branch train services operated on a Wells-Fakenham-Dereham-Norwich axis, and it was impossible to tell the story of the Wells & Fakenham Railway in complete isolation; for that reason the ‘Wells branch’ was defined as a dead end branch diverging from the main line at Wymondham - a distance of 33 miles 3 chains.

This new edition of The Wells-next-the-Sea Branch contains two new chapters dealing with the route of the line, together with additional information on subjects such as the LNER steam railcars and the role of the railway in the two world wars.

Historical Summary
Origins, Opening and Early Years (1840-1857)
Early Years of the Wells & Fakenham Railway
A Norfolk Branch Line (1862-1923)
The LNER Period (1923-1947)
The Route from Norwich to Dereham
The Route from Dereham to Wells
The British Railways Era and Beyond
Revival at Wells - The Wells & Walsingham
Promoters, Directors and other Personalities
Signal Boxes and Signalling
Sources and Bibliography

A5 format, 200 pages, 182 images, the book has a laminated card cover with a square-backed spine.

Also included is a sheet map showing the line from Kimberley Park northwards through Dereham, Fakenham and on to Wells. The map is printed to true scale (one inch) and is reproduced from the Ordnance Survey map of 1954.


ISBN 978 0 85361 712 9


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by A.W. Brotchie
The definitive history of Fife’s most extensive industrial railway. It was developed against the wishes of the NBR, which held a monopoly in Fife, by the Wemyss Estate, to carry its considerable coal traffic. Development of the collieries and ports (Methil in particular) is also covered in detail in this book. Coal formed such an important factor in the total industrial history of this part of Fife that it is impossible to tell the story without reference to the wider implications of the social changes of the area. The Wemyss Coal Company was incorporated into the National Coal Board in 1947. The railway was not absorbed, it continued to be run by the Estate - although with a management committee which included NCB representation. Coal mining still continues in Fife, but now it is only a shadow of its former self. A chapter on the Wemyss and Buckhaven Railway, contributed by Alan Simpson, is included along with numerous maps, contemporary archive material, and many evocative photographs.

Alan Brotchie is a Chartered Civil engineer with a life long interest in transport. A native of Edinburgh, but a Fife resident for many years, he has researched and written extensively on Scottish tramways.

In 1976 he published his history of the Wemyss Tramway Company, and at that time met and recorded the memories of several of the estate railway officials. This work on the Wemyss Private Railway is made particularly detailed following privileged access to the privately held records of the Wemyss Estate. With an interest in all aspects of industrial and transport history, he is presently undertaking research into the Halbeath and Fordell mines and associated transport.

The book is to A5 format and consists of 272 pages and is printed on art paper throughout, it includes more than 230 photographs, plans, maps etc. It is casebound with gold-blocked spine and a laminated full colour dust jacket.


ISBN 0 85361 527 6
ISBN 978 0 85361 527 9

£ 22.95

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by S.C.Jenkins & R.C.Langley

This book focuses on the West Cornwall Railway and the lines it bequeathed to the Associated Companies and the Great Western Railway taking the story right through to the present day. The background to the earliest railways in west Cornwall are also covered.

In celebration of the 150th anniversary of the West Cornwall Railway the Penlee House Museum & Gallery in Penzance is holding an exhibition in 2002 and it is appropriate that this book should be published to coincide with the exhibition.

The West Cornwall Railway consists of 240 pages, it is to A5 format and has a full colour card cover with a square-backed spine. The text has been supported by 150 photographs, illustrations, track plans and maps. It is hoped that this new history will be of interest to railway enthusiasts, model makers, local historians, holidaymakers and other visitors to West Cornwall.


ISBN 0 85361 589 6
ISBN 978 0 85361 589 7

£ 14.95

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WEST COUNTRY RAILWAY MEMORIES - Rose-tinted reflections of some rural railways past and present
by Robert Penrose Prance

This book is not really so much about the trains themselves, but rather more about the stations, signal boxes, railway staff and places by which, and through which, the lines passed. The lines covered include some Great Western lines in Devon and Cornwall and much of the Southern’s ‘Withered Arm’. The last days of the Bridport branch in Dorset are also included, and there is a quick scamper into Wiltshire for the Salisbury-Exeter line. It is now 50 years since the Beeching report brought about such huge changes to Britain’s once vast railway system and Robert Prance captures on paper his memories of those changing years. It is hoped that there will be some reminiscences which will strike a chord or two and bring back memories both for rural railway enthusiasts and together with those who simply appreciated those small stations from which they travelled or stood waiting for loved ones to alight, in those familiar musty and often empty waiting rooms, or on a seat alongside a lovingly tended piece of station garden.


Meeth Halt, and a lingering seed is sown
Braunton, where seeds for signals and signal boxes are sown
Plymouth to Launceston, the ‘pretty’ way to Tavistock
Yelverton to Princetown the bravest little branch line of all
The North Cornwall Railway, The Southern’s Longest Tentacle
    Key places on the North Cornwall Line
    Travelling down the line
The Southern Way to Tavistock, Beeching’s Biggest Folly
    Tamerton Foliot Halt and Bere Ferrers
    Bere Alston
    Tavistock North
    Tavistock to Coleford Junction
Into Dorset
    The Bridport Branch
Branch Line Perfection, Devon’s final fling: Torrington to Halwill

South-western extremities in branch line Cornwall
    A Cornish preamble
    St Ives branch
    Truro to Falmouth
    Par to Newquay
    Liskeard to Looe
    A Southern remnant – Plymouth to Gunnislake (Callington)
    … and lest we forget – Lostwithiel to Fowey
Still ‘All Stations’ to Barnstaple, a withered finger lingers on
    The line from Yeoford
    Postscript from Eggesford – a farewell to signals
    A final word …
    … and yet
A Quick Scamper back into Dorset with a slight touch of Wiltshire
    Exeter-Salisbury revisited
    … plus a quick run down to Exmouth
    Castle Cary-Dorchester
    … a remaining cross-country link
Epilogue – A Dozen Red Railway Roses
Tail Lamp

The purpose of this publication therefore is first an attempt to recapture memories of just a few of those West Country railways which will never be seen again. Secondly, it is to remind readers that there are still in fact some wonderful places where it is still possible to linger and savour the joys of the rural railway.
A5 format, 224 pages, 144 images.


ISBN 978 0 85361 731 0

£ 15.95

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by D. Gould
The railway came to the delightful market town of Westerham in 1881 and was to serve the town for 80 years. It was originally intended for the line to continue to Oxted, however these dreams were destined never to come to fruition. In 1960 the Southern Region stated that it wished to close the branch. In May 1961 the Central Transport Users’ Consultative Committee recommended that the branch stay open as a social necessity (there were about 200 regular passengers each day). However, the Minister of Transport, Ernest Marples, took the undemocratic step of rejecting the TUCC’s recommendation (possibly the first time that this had happened). The line closed in October 1961.

That was not, however, the end of the story. In summer 1962 the Westerham Railway Association leased Westerham station from British Railways with plans to re-open the line for use by both commuters and enthusiasts’ with an early proposal for preservation.

In the end it was all for nothing, and a line that seemed to have so much, did not reopen, despite the best efforts of the Association and its hard-working committee. The line has suffered what might be considered the ultimate indignity for a closed line, as part of its trackbed now lies beneath the M25 motorway.

The book is to A5 format and consists of 128 pages with 97 photographs/plans/maps etc and is printed on art paper throughout. It has a two-colour Linson cover and square-backed spine.


ISBN 0 85361 515 2
ISBN 978 0 85361 515 6

£ 8.95

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WEYMOUTH TO THE CHANNEL ISLANDS, A Great Western Railway Shipping History        
By B.L. Jackson

Regular railway-operated steamer services commenced between Weymouth and the Channel Islands following the opening of the railway to the town in 1857, and continued until the demise of Sealink. Originally both the GWR and LSWR served the port amid great rivalry until 1860 when the LSWR withdrew to Southampton, from where the competition continued until the disastrous loss of the Stella in 1899.


The GWR service from Weymouth was operated on their behalf by the Weymouth & Channel Islands Steam Packet Company, a financially impoverished concern that the GWR were constantly bailing out. During 1878 the GWR commenced a service to Cherbourg operating it in their own right with their own vessels, unsuccessful, it struggled on for seven years before it ceased, leaving the Channel Island service to the Packet Company.

Following the loss of the Brighton in 1887 and the condition of the other two outdated paddle steamers operated by the Packet Company, the GWR decided to take the service over in 1889, providing three new steamers. From that time the service improved and the competition with Southampton increased, this involving racing by both companies’ steamers, resulting in several sinkings and other incidents.


This work commences with a brief account of the steam vessels operated by the Post Office prior to the railway involvement, the history of the Weymouth & Channel Island Steam Packet Company and their reliance on the GWR for mere survival. The introduction of the GWR steamers and the improvements to the fleet as the service developed, the sinking of vessels and other difficulties in navigating the rock infested waters around the Channel Islands in the days before modern navigational aids.


Although the railway steamers were one of the principal users of Weymouth harbour, it was owned by the Corporation, the political and historic development of this unusual partnership is fully explained, as are the later developments during the years between the wars and the Nationalisation of the railways which placed the Weymouth fleet under the control of their old rivals the Southern at Southampton, and the final years of the GWR vessels at Weymouth.


The history of each of the 24 ships employed regularly at Weymouth since 1857 are fully described giving many details that have not been previously published, both technical and historical. propelling machinery, navigational equipment, the maintenance and running of the fleet and the crews that sailed them are all covered.


The loss of the South of Ireland and the Brighton, the sinking of the Ibex, twice, the second time laying under water for six months before salvage and restoration to give a further 24 years service, and the Roebuck, a vessel that sank three times, are all fully described. The exploits of the fleet in both World Wars including the hell of Dunkirk and D-Day are fully covered.


This is a comprehensive history of the Great Western Railway Channel Islands service. A5 format, 208 pages printed on art paper with 164 photographs maps and diagrams complete this railway shipping history. The book has a full colour laminated card cover, and a square-backed spine.


ISBN 0 85361 596 9
ISBN 978 0 85361 596 5

£ 13.95

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