Post-grouping period railway books

This list of books is added to at regular intervals. To read the FULL review of any book you are interested in simply click on the book cover illustration.

An Illustrated History of Southern Coaches. An essential starter for anyone interested in modelling Southern Railway coaching stock and typical of the high standard achieved by books in this OPC series. Well illustrated, the pictures are complemented by a range of excellent 4mm/ft scale drawings.

Southern Railway Miscellany. Contains 250, or so, photographs covering both the Southern and BR periods including a number of pre-grouping shots. Captions are factual and well researched, though the book shares the limitations of all miscellany collections.

Working Steam: Collett Granges and Manors. An indispensable book for those with an interest in Collett’s smaller wheeled 4-6-0 locomotives, seen in a wide range of locations across the breadth of the former Western Region network. Colour photographs well reproduced.

Great Western Lines & Landscape: Business, Pleasure, Heritage and Landscape.  Not a book for the casual reader, perhaps, but one which delves into the way the company saw itself and the way it hoped other would see it. Rather academic in tone, but filled with the results of considerable research.

The Power of the Castles. Richly illustrated, this book will prove a spur to the memories of those who sat watching Castle hauled trains to the West Country or to the Midlands in the 1950s and 60s. Each member is illustrated, though the captions are on occasions lacking in detail.

Oxford Worcester and Wolverhampton—Portrait of a Famous Route, Part One: Oxford to Worcester. Fascinating book that combines a short narrative with a mass of pictures—all accompanied by detailed captions. In all a readable and well researched book about a GWR constituent.

Oxford, Worcester and Wolverhampton—Portrait of a Famous Route. Part Two: Worcester to Wolverhampton. As in the earlier volume, the story is told through pictures, many of which are in sharp contrast to those in part one, for the line passes through the heavily industrialised areas of the Black Country. Strongly recommended for both modellers and rail enthusiasts.

Birmingham to Derby: Portrait of a Famous Route. The route from Birmingham to Derby, though not quite as famous as some of the lines covered in this series, is a vital link in the route linking the South West with the North East. This is an eminently readable book and its photographs will reward careful study.

Odd Corners of the GWR from the Days of Steam. Author Kevin Robertson has brought together a fascinating collection of unpublished photographs that shed new light on the history of ‘Gods Wonderful Railway’. It is an excellent choice for whiling away the winter nights and luxuriating in the nostalgia of the moment.

More Odd Corners from the GWR from the Days of Steam. Unlike the author’s previous book, Odd Corners of the GWR (reviewed in the December), which had a series of themed written chapters with illustrations, this is a collection of photographs. If you are interested in the GWR it is a good buy. If you plan a model based on the company it is essential reading!

All in a Day’s Work: Life on the GWR. In this book author Tim Bryan pays tribute to the vast army of workers, who in a wide range of roles, made up the workforce of the GWR, and chronicles the activities that were ‘All in a Day’s Work’. It is a wee bit expensive, but GWR modellers will no doubt think it worth every penny.

The Great Northern Railway. Ireland’s second largest railway has, like its rural  counterparts in Britain, been subject to economic pruning. At its peak it operated 600 route miles and the pictures show it to have been a busy and well loved railway. The book provides a rich source of information for the modeller.

County Donegal Railways Companion. The books tells the story of the railway from its early days, placing it firmly in its social, economic and political context, examines its relations with neighbouring lines and draws on the recollections of those who worked on and used it. In addition, the book provides a guide to what survives today.

Rail Centres: Shrewsbury. First published in 1986 by Ian Allan and now reissued under the Booklaw Publications banner, this book remains a seminal work covering the period from the mid-1840s to the 1980s. Unfortunately, no attempt has been made to update the book and the events of the past three decades are missing from what is otherwise a comprehensive history of railways in the area.

Locomotives in Detail: Gresley 4-6-2 A4 Class.  David Clarke’s excellent treatise has been written with the modeller in mind and provides a fully illustrated, comprehensive history of the class. Split into seven chapters the book deals with Design, Construction, the Running Plate and Cab, Tenders, Liveries and Names, and the operation of the class in service and in preservation.

Profile of the Duchesses. First published in 1982 David Jenkinson’s classic book, Profile of the Duchesses, traces the history of the class through black and white photographs and extended captions. This new impression provides a good starting point for those who have come to know the class solely through the exploits of preserved examples of Stanier super power.