Pre-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.

London, Brighton and South Coast Miscellany. This book offers the Southern enthusiast a fresh and detailed insight into the operation of this largely self-contained railway system. Great use made of archive photographs to illustrate locomotives and structures unique to this pre-grouping railway.

London & South Western Railway Miscellany. The railway’s day-to-day life is revealed through a series of photographs covering the early days (1838-1880), through the elegance of the Edwardian era (1901-1910) to its eventual absorption into the Southern Railway.

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.

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.

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 Author Kevin Robertson has brought together a fascinating collection of unpublished photographs that shed new light on the history of ‘Gods Wonderful Railway’.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!

Brunel. Author Jonathan Falconer, examines the life and career of the great Victorian engineer. Illustrated throughout with many contemporary photographs and line drawings this is a book likely to appeal not just railway enthusiasts, but a wide range of readers with an interest in things Victorian.

Brunel: An Engineering Biography. Adrian Vaughan’s offering is no mere history of the man; it examines his life from an engineering perspective. Profusely illustrated with drawings and photographs the book offers the reader a critical analysis of the engineer’s achievements, his methods of work and the life of the man himself.

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.

Britain’s Railways: Rail Atlas 1890. This excellent atlas, compiled by Tony Dewick, provides the rail historian with a snapshot of British and Irish railways as they neared their zenith. It includes all stations open to passengers, goods stations, viaducts tunnels and other railway features.

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.

50 Classics—Railways. Railway enthusiasts and historians have good cause to be grateful to the Victorian photographic pioneer, Francis Frith, for the collection of photographs he created gives a rare insight into a time that has passed. Many of the images capture scenes that have long disappeared and as such are a wonderful source of inspiration for modellers.