Post-nationalisation period 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.

British Railways Pictorial: First Generation DMUs. As might be expected from the title, the development of the Modernisation Plan diesel multiple units is outlined and illustrated in this Ian Allan title. All of the manufacturers’ types are listed along with original regional allocations and the units later classifications.

Diesels in the Midlands. The 85 or so coloured photographs in this attractive book reflect the changing scene in the Midlands, where rationalisation has removed many ‘competing’ routes and underused stations. A fine selection of pictures taken during the late 1950s and 1960s that ‘green diesel era’  enthusiasts will find especially rewarding.

Rail Liveries: Privatisation 1995-2000. Illustrated throughout with excellent colour photographs and supported by an authoritative text this is a useful book for modellers. An interesting appendix section covers experimental and unofficial liveries, and lists colour definitions using standard or manufacturer's paint identification codes.

West Country Engine Sheds. Varied and interesting selection of photographs illustrating all steam era locomotives sheds in the West Country that draws on author Maurice Dart’s own photo collection and the work of other photographers such as R. C. Riley and R. J. Buckley. Many pictures are monochrome, though some colour — all excellent.

British Rail Main Line Electric Locomotives. Exceptionally well illustrated (all in b/w) and containing more than 130 (4mm/foot) scale drawings. The authors provide a description of each class along with a detailed history of modifications, livery variations and technical specifications. Extremely useful book for modellers.

British Rail Main Line Diesel Locomotives. Authors Colin J Marsden and Graham B Fenn, have, in this revised edition, brought together facts, pictures and plans for all of the classes of locomotive that have graced BR metals, including more recent classes such as 66 and 67. Of especial value to modellers are the 250 or so drawings in 4mm to 1ft scale.

Diesels in Wessex. A collection of previously unpublished photographs by co-author Tony Molyneaux covering an area to the south of the Thames Valley, bounded by the GWR main line in the north and the Channel in the south. Modestly priced book that covers the changeover from steam to diesel traction. Includes SR DEMUs.

West Country Branch Lines: A Colour Portfolio. The South West of England has always been popular with railway enthusiasts and its lines a source of inspiration for modellers. This book features around 80 locations, covering many of the branches in the area including the Looe, Sutton Harbour, Fowey, Kingswear and Kingsbridge.

Britannia Pacifics. A short history, coupled with pictures of each member of the class makes this book a must for those with an interest in the BR Standards. Well researched and eminently readable it is a truly useful pictorial reference work

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.

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.

Heyday of the Westerns. An interesting and nostalgic read about a class of locomotive that captured the imagination of rail enthusiasts. Contains around 75 colour photographs covering the ‘life’ of the Westerns from their introduction in 1962/63 to their demise in the late 1970s.

The Diesel Shunter. Lavishly illustrated with black and white prints and supported by concise captions, this is a book that will appeal to modeller and rail enthusiast alike. Crammed with facts it traces the development of the humble diesel shunter from its early beginnings on the LMS of the 1930s.

Great Western Branch Lines: 2—Rural Wales. Excellent photographic reproduction, coupled with a wide range of subjects make this book from Michael S Welch a worthy addition to the modeller’s/rail enthusiast’s bookshelf. Images of long neglected station provide great inspiration for the modeller.

Southwest Scotland and the Border Counties. One of those rare books that includes not just pictures and text, but also track diagrams, timetables, maps and gradient profiles. Picture content and quality varies but there is much to interest the modeller. Well researched and unlikely to disappoint.

British Railway Goods Wagons in Colour 1960–2003. As the title suggests this book concentrates on the post 1960 period and contains many colour illustrations, on average two to a page. Modestly priced, it is a fascinating read and contains much of specific interest to the modeller.

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.

British Railways Steam Locomotives 1948-1968. The book contains full technical details for each class, a short potted history and an indication of the variations within the class, such as changes in cabs, boilers, and rebuilds. Details of each locomotive’s introduction, BR renumbering, any name it might have, carried and the date of its scrapping are listed in table form

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.

Scottish Steam. Every once in a while one comes across a book that is of such worth that its price tag becomes irrelevant. Scottish Steam featuring the impeccable photo works of the late W. J. Verden Andersen is one such book. Put together by his son, Keith, and photographer Brian Stephenson, it is a fitting tribute to the vision and photographic skill that marked his work out from that of others.

The Heyday of the Class 40s. Gavin Morrison has selected more than 70 excellent views for this book in Ian Allan’s ‘Heyday’ series. They encompass a wide range of locations and workings across the full range of the classes’ activities and all are of an exceptionally high standard.

The Heyday of the Peaks. The 80 colour pictures have been selected to show Peaks at work across the network with a wide range of workings, though passenger trains predominate; many provide excellent reference images for modellers.

London Transport in Colour 1950-1969. Illustrated with around 80 colour photographs, author Kevin McCormack provides a colourful reminder of a period in which LT wen through a major upheaval. There is no denying the quality of the illustrations, but railway modellers may well find there are too many trams and buses for their taste.

London’s Underground. One of those hard to put down books that rewards careful study. There is no shortage of action shots of both steam and electric, as well as views of buildings and line side structures; a selection of track diagrams and drawings is also included. A useful starting point for the ‘underground’ modeller.

Class 50s in Operation. This book chronicles the history of the class from gestation through to withdrawal and contains pictures of each member of the class in various guises. There is an appendix at the rear of the book that gives a history of each member of the class, including its eventual fate

Diesel Days: Devon and Cornwall. The book is lavishly illustrated (though sadly all the photographs are in black and white) with the images arranged thematically; loco classes, type of train, livery weather, railway structure, etc. The captions are concise and informative and the 280 images are of high quality.

Profile of the Westerns. Originally published in 1980, shortly after the withdrawal of the Westerns, this classic pictorial tribute from authors Dave Nicholas and Steve Montgomery features some 160 black and white illustrations . The book records the career of the class from construction at Crewe and Swindon in the early 1960s through to final workings and withdrawal in 1977.