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rail book reviews

EUROPE BY RAIL        ISBN: 978-0992907358

Europe by Rail-001Designed for independent travellers of all ages, this is a comprehensive guide for holders of Eurail or InterRail passes and for those with regular train tickets. The book will appeal to travellers keen to explore Europe in an eco-friendly way and describes 50 recommended routes in detail, taking in most of Europe’s travel hot spots - european rail timetable 2017from the Rhine to the Riviera, from the Alps to the Adriatic. The 14th edition of this highly regarded guide has been completely rewritten by Berlin-based Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries (editors of Hidden Europe magazine) to reflect changing travel patterns and provide better coverage of some of the most popular European cities and tourist regions. Whether you are planning a longer holiday, or a series of short rail trips around the continent, Europe by Rail is packed with essential information, including tips on fares and ticketing, hotel recommendations and advice on train connections. Subtitled The Definitive Guide for Independent Travellers, Europe by Rail is inspiring, entertaining and wonderfully informative. The authors have formidable knowledge and make it easy for anyone to plan a train journey confidently anywhere in Europe. Its indispensable companion, the EUROPEAN RAIL TIMETABLE (ISBN: 1748-0817). Formerly published by Thomas Cook, this remains the only concise monthly guide to European rail services, with over 500 pages of rail and ferry schedules for Europe and beyond. As well as schedules the book includes key country information, 23 route maps and 34 station location plans, airport to city-centre links, details of car-carrying trains, suggested scenic rail routes, a Route of the Month (compiled by Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries) and a Beyond Europe section covering a different area of the world each month.

GREAT AMERICAN RAILROAD STORIES    KALMBACH ISBN: 9781627001823

Great American Railroad StoriesThis fascinating and wide-ranging book features articles initially published in Trains magazine over the past 75 years. It includes rare, first-hand accounts that give historical insight into riding passenger trains, working on the railroad, and growing up in the era of steam trains. It includes rare, first-hand accounts that give historical insight into riding passenger trains, working on the railroad, and growing up in the era of steam trains. The book includes many fine historical photos and features the writings and reflections of founding editor Al Kalmbach, David Morgan, Lucius Beebe, and other well-known names. These are fascinating railroad stories from those who actual lived it. With a foreword by Kevin P. Keefe and an introduction by Jim Wrinn, the book includes tales of travelling the West by train as a salesman and riding along on the most famous train of the 19th century. We meet a locomotive engineer who survived a head-on crash with an 83-car freight train, find most scenic site in railroading, mourn the end of the Rock Island line, learn the truth about Casey Jones and discover that there is more to firing a locomotive than just shoveling coal. This excellent anthology showcases the passion and romance of railroads displayed by professionals and enthusiasts alike, with gritty and gripping tales - some of them decidedly tall!

USA BY RAIL - JOHN PITT     BRADT ISBN 1 84162 389 4

USA by RailAmerican trains have long had a firm hold on the popular imagination, inspiring countless stories, songs, scandals, films and legends. Attracted by the pace of life and an ever-changing view, more people are discovering the joys of taking to the rails to cross this vast continent in comfort, taking in attractions such as the Grand Canyon, Niagara Falls, Yellowstone Park and Disney World along the way. This new, fully updated Eighth edition of the Bradt guide, USA by Rail, reveals in entertaining fashion the unique pleasures of North American train travel with Amtrak and VIA Rail. The book describes 37 long-distance rail journeys in the United States and Canada and features 500 destinations, including sightseeing and recommended accommodation in 38 cities. There are helpful maps and comprehensive route guides to trains such as the Coast Starlight and California Zephyr as well as all the practical information you need to make reservations, buy tickets and find your way about strange train stations. Details of Amtrak high-speed Acela trains are included, as well as useful advice on local transport, making this the ideal travel companion and essential reading when planning your itinerary. ‘The best guidebook for the journey’ - Sunday Telegraph. More information can be found on the USA by Rail website.

DIRECTORY OF NORTH AMERICAN RAILROADS, THIRD EDITION   KALMBACH ISBN: 9780890249703

Historical Guide to North American RailroadsExpertly edited by Jeff Wilson and Randy Rehberg, this updated encyclopedia of railroading presents history, evocative photos, route maps and fast facts for over 170 North American railroads. All the major and many minor railroads from the past 100 years are included in more than 300 pages, and statistics highlight miles of operation, locomotives and rolling stock. The new, searchable index makes locating information easy. You can learn about ‘fallen flag’ railroad lines that were abandoned or merged and discover why, as well as take a look at the big railroads that are still currently in operation. Listings range from one page for smaller railroads such as Akron, Canton & Youngstown or Wisconsin & Southern to five pages for Pennsylvania or Southern Pacific. Essential maps and 180 beautifully reproduced colour photographs bring to life the widely different lines, making this the ultimate railroad reference book for rail fans and history buffs.

THE LAST DECADE OF BRITISH STEAM - GAVIN MORRISON    HAYNES ISBN: 978-0857332776

Last Decade of SteamThe late 1950s to the end of the 1960s saw first a reduction, then the final withdrawal of Britain’s fleet of steam locomotives. Mass withdrawals of older classes started towards the end of the 1950s, with many of the pre-British Rail companies’ engines being scrapped. BR built its last steam engine at Swindon in 1960 and withdrawals of newer steam engines started in the early 1960s. Some had been built to modern post-war designs and were less than ten years old. Gavin Morrison’s book, subtitled A Photographer’s Personal Journey, features 250 superb colour photographs of the last days of the steam age. The photographs were taken between 1958 and 1968 and are from the 76-year-old author personal collection of colour slides, thought to be Britain s largest still in the hands of the original photographer. This attractive, large-format book shows steam locomotives at work throughout the country, in all weathers and in a year-by-year presentation, accompanied by Gavin Morrison’s engaging and knowledgeable commentary. Most of these marvellous rare colour photographs have not previously been seen in book form. As the author says, this is not intended to be a work full of technical detail about locomotives, or a history of individual railways. Instead, by including his own Tracking Down Steamexperiences and opinions along with the pick of his best photographs he makes this a unique and moving tribute to the last days of steam. Highly recommended. The last rites of British main-line steam railways also feature in railway enthusiast Peter Nicholson’s TRACKING DOWN STEAM (HAYNES ISBN: 978-0857332363), which has an introduction by Pete Waterman. August 11 1968 was the final day of scheduled BR steam, and this delightfully personal account takes a look at the period leading up to this date. Featuring 400 previously unpublished photographs, the book covers the main-line steam locos of BR and the ‘Big Four’ - GWR, SR, LMS and LNER - and their predecessors, and follows them through many different environments, including trains on the main line, nationwide shed visits, locos under repair, antique steam-age rolling stock on the Isle of Wight, rare colour photos of long-gone museum pieces, privately-owned locos on the main line, memories of farewell train journeys, former main-line locos working in industry, locos awaiting cutting for scrap, and visits to the North-West as steam was being wound down. The story concludes with the last days of active steam in north-west England - the end of an era.

THE RISE AND FALL OF BRITISH RAILWAYS: BRANCH AND MINOR LINES  HAYNES ISBN: 9781844257041

Branch and Minor LinesThere is nothing more charming and evocative to railway enthusiasts than a rural branch line. Most were built before the advent of motorised road transport and provided a vital lifeline for the communities served, but these lines inevitably declined. Although the infamous Dr Beeching usually takes the blame for closures, there were significant losses in the 1920s and 1930s, when more than a 1,000 miles of track were declared redundant. More recently, there has been regeneration of some lines and new stations opened. This beautifully illustrated book tells the story of the much-loved British branch line from the steam age through to the present time of diesel and electric multiple units. John Vaughan is a highly respected author and photographer who has written 44 railway books in the past 44 years, including The Rise and Fall of British Railways: Main Line Diesel Locomotives for Haynes. Branch and Minor Lines begins with the early days of optimism and railway mania, covers the financial struggles and closures of the 1930s through to the nationalisation of the railways in 1948, and then - the main focus - explores the perpetual problems that British Railways experienced for 50 years in trying to make the railways profitable. The book celebrates the Slow Train, as immortalised in the Flanders and Swann song lamenting the loss of British stations and railway lines due to the Beeching cuts and the passing of a way of life. ‘No churns, no porter, no cat on a seat, At Chorlton-cum-Hardy or Chester-le-Street.’

THE LNER HANDBOOK - DAVID WRAGG  HAYNES

Formed out of a number of constituent railway companies, the London & North Eastern Railway was the second-largest of the ‘Big Four’ Railway Companies formed in 1923. As its name suggests, the LNER covered the country between the north and east of London, including the East Coast Main Line from London to Edinburgh via York and Newcastle and the routes from Edinburgh to Aberdeen and Inverness. Most of the country east of the Pennines belonged to the LNER, including the large, flat expanse of East Anglia. The company’s main workshops were in Doncaster and it owned four London stations: Fenchurch Street, King’s Cross, Liverpool Street and Marylebone. It also inherited eight canals, 20 docks and harbours, two electric tramways and 23 hotels. The LNER lasted only 25 years but in this time left a prestigious mark in railway history, famous for its Flying Scotsman and Mallard, which set a world speed record (126mph) for steam locomotives that endures to this day. As well as famous express trains, the company also ran an intensive London suburban and commuter service and made much of its income from Southern Railway Handbook the unglamorous transportation of coal. This authoritative, copiously illustrated book, researched and written by David Wragg, provides highly detailed reference information about the LNER. The author gives a brief history of the companies from which it was formed then analyses the achievements of this innovative company and describes the characters who left their mark, including chief engineer Sir Nigel Gresley. The book is part of an exemplary series from Haynes that also includes THE SOUTHERN RAILWAY HANDBOOK, also by David Wragg. The Southern may not have been the most glamorous of the ‘Big Four’ but it was a great innovator, pioneering main-line electrification and creating the largest electrified suburban railway network in the world. It was the first to have regular departures, so that passengers didn’t need to carry a timetable, and the first to run true international services by introducing ‘Night Ferry’ through-trains from London to Paris. You could win copies of both these impressive books at USA by Rail.

AMTRAK - AN AMERICAN STORY  KALMBACH BOOKS ISBN 9780871164445

Amtrak is the uniquely American public/private corporation that has been providing American rail passenger service since 1971. This book is created from four decades of often rare archival photographs highlighting the employees, trains and technology that made it possible. Amtrak: An American Story includes decade by decade chapters, an introduction for each chapter, a timeline of when events occurred (putting them in historical perspective), personal vignettes from employees of Amtrak and a final chapter on a day in the life of Amtrak. This celebratory book is a remarkable 40 year story told by Amtrak itself, with copies of posters, brochures and advertising material, as well as first hand recollections and thoughts from the people most closely tasked with making it all work. Fascinating reading for train buffs as well as anyone with an interest in American history.

BRITAIN’S RAILWAYS IN COLOUR - COLIN G. MAGGS   HAYNES

The railway system in Great Britain is the oldest in the world, with the world’s first locomotive hauled public railway opening in 1825. The system was originally built as a patchwork of local rail links operated by small private railway companies but over the course of the 19th and early 20th centuries these amalgamated or were bought by competitors until only a handful of larger companies remained. The entire network was brought under government control during the First World War and a from the start of 1948, the ‘big four’ were nationalised to form British Railways (later British Rail). Covering the final years of steam on Britain’s railways, this vibrantly illustrated book presents a wonderful collection of over 200 colour photographs, many of them previously unpublished. Together with the author’s commentary, they form an evocative and nostalgic journey around Britain’s railways in the 1950s and 1960s. All the pictures are reproduced from original transparencies, carefully preserved away from daylight to protect the original vividness of colour. Colour photography from this period is scarce since most photographers worked mainly in black and white to serve the needs of publishers. Divided into ten chapters, each covering a different geographic area of Britain, long-time railway enthusiast Colin G. Maggs’ book provides an introduction to that area followed by a selection of photographs. The pictures are accompanied by informative captions, recording the date, location and engine details along with fascinating snippets of history and other points of interest. From express trains caught speeding through the countryside to engines hard at work in goods yards, these pictures will delight all railway enthusiasts. You can almost smell the intoxicating mixture of smoke, steam and hot oil in these resonant photographs that capture the spirit and charm of an almost disappeared era.

GREAT RAILWAY MAPS OF THE WORLD - MARK OVENDEN  PARTICULAR BOOKS

Not many people would mourn buses if they became obsolete, and few entertain fond thoughts about airports, but children still wave as the train goes by and every rail journey starts out as an adventure. People have long had a special relationship with trains and these lovable monsters of the track have inspired countless writers, from Tolstoy and Charles Dickens to Paul Theroux and Philip Larkin. Mark Ovenden’s new book is an extraordinary compendium of historical and contemporary railway maps and posters from every corner of the world. The history of the railway is the history of Britain - as well as France, America, Japan, Russia and many other countries. Featuring hundreds of images, covering two centuries of advertising, surveyors’ maps, route guides, travel posters, photos, and Google Earth maps, this is a book brimming with history, anecdotes, facts and data. This fascinating and beautifully produced book will be essential reading for every train fanatic, armchair or ticketed, as well as for lovers of graphic design, history and the romance of train travel.

RAILROADED - RICHARD WHITE  NORTON

The development of the United States in the 19th and early 20th centuries largely coincided with the epic story of its railroads. Trains contributed hugely to prosperity and provided a sense of national identity, coming to symbolise the country’s strength, optimism and pioneering spirit. Railroads became America’s first big business, dominating economic life for three-quarters of a century, but the golden age had its less appealing aspects. Fraud, corruption and coercion became commonplace and the huge profits attracted a profusion of crooks. Bribery sometimes appeared the only way to get business done and owners often bought up newspapers, politicians and even the law. Richard White’s incisive history, subtitled The Transcontinentals and the Making of America, explores the tumultuous history of railroad building in the decades after the Civil War. The author shows how attempts to generate profits from proliferating debt sparked devastating panics in the US economy. The railroads’ dependence on public largess drew them into the corridors of power, initiating new forms of corruption even as their operations rearranged space and time, remaking the landscape of the West. They opened new worlds of work and ways of life but their discriminatory rates sparked broad opposition and a new antimonopoly politics. With originality, range and authority, Richard White shows the transcontinentals to be pivotal actors in the making of modern America. But the triumphal myths of the golden spike, robber barons larger than life, and an innovative capitalism are all brought into question. His vision of the Gilded Age, often darkly funny, shows history to be rooted in failure as well as success. Not everyone will agree with White’s conclusions but this is a brilliant and thought-provoking analysis that suggests parallels with the financial crises of today.

RAILWAY - GEORGE REVILL  REAKTION BOOKS

Not many people would mourn buses if they became obsolete, and few entertain fond thoughts about airports, but children still wave as the train goes by and every rail journey starts out as an adventure. George Revill’s engaging book tells the story of the railway since the 19th century, when it became symbol of progress and confidence in technological modernity. In the 21st century the looming prospect of traffic gridlock and human-induced climate change has once again transformed the railway into an emblem of hope that provides the possibility of an environmentally sustainable future. The railway even informs our everyday language as we ‘fast-track’ or ‘go off the rails’, and the cultural meanings of the railway continue to play a role in how people organize and respond to modern environments, social problems and technologies. This book’s themes include mobility and identity, design and marketing, and ecology, heritage and sustainability. Examples from art, literature, music and film show how the railway is embedded in a range of cultural forms. People have long had a special relationship with trains and these lovable monsters of the track have inspired countless writers, from Tolstoy and Dickens to Paul Theroux and Philip Larkin, as well as artists such as Turner, Monet and de Chirico, and film-makers like John Ford and Alfred Hitchcock. Sigmund Freud was quick to see the compulsive link between railway travel and sexuality – hence every boy’s desire, at one time or another, to be an engine driver. Wide-ranging and well-illustrated, Revill’s fascinating and informative account of railways around the world will delight historians as well as the many dedicated train enthusiasts.

TOURIST TRAINS GUIDEBOOK  KALMBACH BOOKS ISBN 9780871164308

Kids love trains, grown-ups love trains and everybody loves a good train museum, but how do you find these great train destinations in North America? The Tourist Trains Guidebook, that’s how, a tried and tested guide by staff and contributors to Trains magazine. This updated third edition features nearly 500 railroad attractions across the United States and Canada, from Ohio’s historic Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Museum and the Sugar Cane steam train of Hawaii to the spectacular Cumbres & Toltec Railroad and Canada’s Rocky Mountaineer. For 195 of the most popular train rides and museums, full-page reviews provide a detailed look at the activities at each site and the surrounding area. The book also includes capsule descriptions of another 280 interesting trains, trolleys, museums, depots and other sites. With contact details and website addresses, the book makes it easy for train junkies to plan their next vacation. An enclosed discount card also offers discounts at more than 70 attractions around the country.

HOT SPOTS GUIDEBOOK  KALMBACH BOOKS ISBN 978-0-89024-805-8

Railway enthusiasts, or rail buffs, are passionate and dedicated people prepared to go far in pursuit of their hobby. Their particular interest may be locomotives and rolling stock, disused railroad lines, bridges, tunnels, stations and other infrastructure, history, photography, signalling, railway operations, preservation and restoration, or many other aspects of railway life. The scope of the subject is so large that fans sometimes concentrate their interest on a particular country, town, operating company, field of operations, or era in history – or a combination of any of the above. Railfans in the United States are sometimes referred to as foamers, especially by American rail workers, jokingly suggesting that they foam at the mouth in their excitement over trains. This invaluable guide, compiled by Trains magazine staff and contributors from first-hand knowledge and edited by Randy Rehberg, will help you to share the thrill of more than 100 of the best train-watching locations in North America, from Winnemucca to Anchorage and from St. Augustine to Boston. Maps of the area, site descriptions, excellent colour photographs and approximate number of daily trains are included. There is also sound advice on how to be a smarter train watcher, stay safe and take successful train photos. Driving directions, nearby points of interest, local options for dining, lodging and other activities make this an essential guide for every railfan, and a book that will inspire many novices to take up this fascinating pursuit.

FIRE AND STEAM - CHRISTIAN WOLMAR  ATLANTIC BOOKS ISBN: 978 1 84354 124 0

Christian Wolmar’s fascinating book, now available in paperback, tells the dramatic story of the people and events that shaped the world’s first railway network - one of the most impressive engineering achievements in history. The opening of the pioneering Liverpool and Manchester Railway in 1830 marked the beginning of the railways’ vital role in changing the face of Britain. Fire and Steam celebrates the vision and determination of those ambitious Victorian pioneers who developed this revolutionary transport system and the navvies who cut through the land to enable a country-wide network to emerge. The rise of the steam train allowed goods and people to circulate around the country as never before, stimulating the growth of towns and industry, as well many of the facets of modern life, from fish and chips to professional football. From the early days of steam to electrification, via the railways’ crucial contribution in two world wars, the chequered history of British Rail, and the buoyant future of the train, Wolmar examines the social and economical importance of the railway and how it helped to form the Britain of today. More than just nostalgia, Fire and Steam shows how the railways turned the Industrial Revolution into a social revolution that had an impact far beyond those routes where the tracks took trains. ‘A marvelously informative, entertaining and rightly partisan book.’ - Rod Liddle, The Sunday Times.

REQUIEM FOR STEAM - DAVID PLOWDEN     NORTON ISBN 978-0-393-07908-1

David Plowden was given a box camera and at the age of 11 began to photograph trains when his mother drove him to the Putney depot in Vermont. She encouraged his love of railroads and realised that far from wasting his time her son was ‘gathering grist for the mill’ as he started on what would become a lifetime in photography (he’s now coming up to his 78th birthday). Trains, especially steam locomotives, became one of his great passions, before they were eclipsed by modern diesel locomotives. Fortunately, this master photographer was on the scene at the end, documenting throughout the 1950s and into 1960 what would become this book, his reverent tribute to the steam era. Requiem For Steam showcases 134 photographs, many previously unpublished, with text and captions written by Plowden to detail his experiences as a photographer of railroads through decades of change. The beautifully produced book is full of stunning black and white photographs of ruggedly glamorous locomotives, trains, railroad tracks, people and depots as they were in the last days of steam power. Particularly fine are the shots of Canadian Pacific locos in a snowy Westmount, Quebec, terminal, and the atmospheric Outer depot in Reading, Pennsylvania. This is a marvelous collection of images that combines nostalgia with a true understanding of the importance of world that has largely been lost.

THE CARS OF PULLMAN         VOYAGEUR PRESS

The Cars of PullmanAfter spending the night sleeping in his seat on a train trip from Buffalo to Westfield, New York, George Pullman was inspired to design an improved passenger railcar that contained sleeper berths for all its passengers. During the day the upper berth was folded up somewhat like a modern airliner’s overhead luggage compartment. At night the upper berth folded down and the two facing seats below it folded over to provide a relatively comfortable bunk for the night. Although this was somewhat spartan accommodation by today’s standards, it was a great improvement on the previous layout. Curtains provided privacy, and there were washrooms at each end of the car for men and women. Pullman established his Palace Car Company in 1862 and went on to build luxury sleeping cars which featured carpeting, draperies, upholstered chairs, libraries and card tables and an unparalleled level of customer service. The Pullman Company became the face of the passenger train industry during the Golden Age of rail travel through the first half of the 20th century. During the peak of rail travel during the streamliner era of the 1930s several railroads chose Pullman to equip their entire trains (and many railroads were proud of this fact by stating that their trains were ‘all Pullman’ equipped). Throughout the company’s existence building spectacular wooden cars of the 19th century to the steel heavyweights of the early 20th century Pullmans were always painted a dark, forest green (there is actually a colour called Pullman green), unless specified by a railroad. The Cars of Pullman, written by Joe Welsh, Bill Howes (a former director of The Pullman Company) and Kevin Holland, describes the many cars produced by Pullman through the years and gives a comprehensive history of the company, including the bitter strike staged by their workers and union leaders in 1894. Sumptuously produced, the book has hundreds of rare period photographs, posters, diagrams and brochures that vividly bring to life an era when trains were the acme of luxury travel.

BALDWIN LOCOMOTIVES     VOYAGEUR PRESS

The Baldwin Locomotive Works had a humble beginning. Matthias W. Baldwin, the founder, was a jeweller and silversmith, who, in 1825, formed a partnership with a machinist, and engaged in the manufacture of bookbinders’ tools and cylinders for calico printing. Baldwin then designed and constructed for his own use a small stationary engine, the workmanship of which was so excellent and its efficiency so great that he was asked to build others like it for others, leading him to turn his attention to steam engineering. Initially, he built his locomotives in a cramped Philadelphia factory but production moved to a site in nearby Eddystone, Pennsylvania, in 1906. The American railroad industry expanded significantly around this time, with domestic demand for locomotives hitting its highest point in 1905, so Baldwin’s business boomed. Despite this the company faced many challenges and more competition so output dropped from 2,666 locomotives in 1906 to 614 in 1908. Although Baldwin was very successful as a producer of steam locomotives, it was unable to make the transition to diesel power and stopped producing locomotives in the 1950s before going out of business in 1972. This fascinating book by prolific rail historian Brian Solomon details the many achievements of the company, from its first full-sized locomotive, completed in 1832, through elegant Duplex designs to the mid-twentieth century. Evocative photographs and publicity images illustrate the author’s history of this true icon of the American rails.

LAST CALL FOR THE DINING CAR - MICHAEL KERR     AURUM

Not many people would mourn buses if they became obsolete, and few entertain fond thoughts about airports, but children still wave as the train goes by and every rail journey starts out as an adventure. People have long had a special relationship with trains and these lovable monsters of the track have inspired countless writers, from Tolstoy and Charles Dickens to Paul Theroux and Philip Larkin. For this highly enjoyable book, editor Michael Kerr has gone back through The Daily Telegraph’s archives to compile a terrific anthology of all the best railway travel that has appeared in the paper. The writers sample every kind of train from the luxurious Orient Express to the insanely crowded commuter trains of Bombay. You can relive the excitement of record-breaking train journeys, join hobos riding American freight cars in the 1980s, follow Crosby Stills and Nash to Marrakesh or Diana Rigg to the Great Indian Desert, and explore Michael Palin’s ‘trains of thought’. Other authors include Craig Brown, Nicholas Crane, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall (sozzled in the Tokyo subway), P J Kavanagh, and Boris Johnson en route to Nottingham. By turns momentous, hilarious and alarming, Last Call for the Dining Car is perfect reading for any armchair rail travel enthusiast and the ideal book for a long train journey. The trip, rather than its end, is the thing.

ON THE SLOW TRAIN - MICHAEL WILLIAMS      PREFACE PUBLISHING

‘No churns, no porter, no cat on a seat, At Chorleton-cum-Hardy or Chester-le-Street’. Never was the sadness of the end of an affair so poignantly expressed than in Flanders and Swann’s elegiac song, ‘The Slow Train’, mourning the loss of so many British stations and railway lines due to Beeching cuts in the 1960s. This absorbing book takes the reader on the slow train to another era when travel meant more than hurrying from one place to the next, the journey meaning nothing but time lost in crowded carriages, condemned by broken timetables. On the Slow Train reconnects with that long-missed need to lift our heads from the daily grind and reflect that there are still places in Britain where we can stop and stare. A paean to another age before cats on seats were replaced by security announcements and Burger King, these twelve spectacular journeys help free us from what Baudelaire denounced as ‘the horrible burden of time.’ Veteran Fleet Street journalist Michael Williams writes widely on railways and has spent a year travelling Britain on some of the slowest Network Rail trains still in existence. We travel through Thomas Hardy’s Wessex country, take the ‘Deerstalker Express’ to Britain’s remotest station, visit the heart of Wales as well as the roof of England, and sense the ghosts of Brief Encounter at Carnforth. This entrancing book is a nostalgic treat for all lovers of railways, history and the art of civilised travel. ‘No one departs, no one arrives, from St Erth to St Ives, They’ve all passed out of our lives...’

THE FIRST TYCOON: THE EPIC LIFE OF CORNELIUS VANDERBILT - T J STILES   KNOPF

This gripping and groundbreaking biography tells the story of a notoriously combative man whose genius and force of will created modern capitalism. Founder of a dynasty, builder of New York’s original Grand Central Station and creator of an impossibly vast fortune, Cornelius ‘Commodore’ Vanderbilt is an American icon. Humbly born on Staten Island during George Washington’s presidency, he rose from boatman to builder of the nation’s largest fleet of steamships to lord of a railroad empire. Lincoln consulted him on steamship strategy during the Civil War; Jay Gould was first his uneasy ally and then sworn enemy; and Victoria Woodhull, the first woman to run for president of the United States, was his spiritual counsellor. We see Vanderbilt help to launch the transportation revolution, propel the Gold Rush, reshape Manhattan, and invent the modern corporation - in fact he did more than perhaps any other individual to create the economic world we live in today. As author T. J. Stiles points out though, ‘His critics called him grasping and ruthless, an unelected king who never pretended to rule for his people.’ Vanderbilt’s net worth of US$105 million in 1877 was equal to 1.15% of the US economy at the time and equivalent to US$178 billion today, making him the second richest person in American in history. The First Tycoon is the first complete, authoritative biography of this titan, and the first comprehensive account of his personal life. An unschooled fistfighter who came to command the respect of New York’s social elite, Vanderbilt was a father who struggled with a gambling-addicted son, a husband who was loving yet abusive, and, finally, an old man who was obsessed with contacting the dead. This is the exhilarating story of a man whose life was as epic and complex as American history itself. Superbly written and absorbing, the book chronicles every aspect of this pugnacious visionary’s remarkable life, and makes fascinating reading now that recent events have caused some to question capitalism’s future.

RAILROAD SIGNALLING - BRIAN SOLOMON     VOYAGEUR

A railway signalling system is essential to control railway traffic safely - essentially to prevent trains from colliding. Being guided by fixed rails, trains are uniquely susceptible to collision; furthermore, trains cannot stop quickly, and frequently operate at speeds that do not enable them to stop within sighting distance of the driver. The earliest rail cars were first hauled by horses or mules - a mounted flagman on a horse often preceding them - with hand and arm signals used to direct the train drivers. Foggy and poor-visibility conditions gave rise to flags and lanterns. Wayside signalling dates back as far as 1832, and used elevated flags or balls that could be seen from afar. Men (originally called ‘policemen’) were employed to stand at intervals (‘blocks’) along the line with a stopwatch and use hand signals to inform train drivers that a train had passed more or less than a certain number of minutes previously. The block system came into use gradually during the 1850s and 1860s and became mandatory in the United Kingdom after Parliament passed legislation in 1889 following a number of accidents, most notably the Armagh rail disaster. Similar legislation was passed by the United States around the same time. Author and photographer Brian Solomon’s gorgeously illustrated book takes a comprehensive look at this essential aspect of railroading, featuring rare period photos as well as modern colour ones. From telegraph, semaphore blades and sending messages ‘on the run’ to trains with a long staff or hoop, to today’s power operating points and Automatic Train Stop systems, this book reveals a fascinating, otherwise-arcane world that has not often been tackled. The author has brought together a wealth of information into a coherent and interesting narrative that explains the complex and involved history of rail signalling in North America, highlighting both differences and similarities between UK and US operating methods. He shows how the evolution of Standard Operating Rules from the myriad rules and regulations created by the numerous railways criss-crossing this vast country has made rail travel safe, efficient and relatively accident-free. If you want to know your wigwag from your fishtail, this is the book for you.

BRITAIN’S RAILWAYS IN COLOUR - COLIN G. MAGGS      HAYNES

The railway system in Great Britain is the oldest in the world, with the world’s first locomotive hauled public railway opening in 1825. The system was originally built as a patchwork of local rail links operated by small private railway companies but over the course of the 19th and early 20th centuries these amalgamated or were bought by competitors until only a handful of larger companies remained. The entire network was brought under government control during the First World War and a from the start of 1948, the ‘big four’ were nationalised to form British Railways (later British Rail). The late 1950s to the end of the 1960s saw first a reduction, then the final withdrawal of Britain’s fleet of steam locomotives. Mass withdrawals of older classes started towards the end of the 1950s, with many of the pre-grouping companies’ engines being scrapped. BR built its last steam engine at Swindon in 1960 and withdrawals of newer steam engines started in the early 1960s. Some had been built to modern post-war designs and were less than ten years old. Covering the final years of steam on Britain’s railways, this vibrantly illustrated book presents a wonderful collection of over 200 colour photographs, many of them previously unpublished. Together with the author’s commentary, they form an evocative and nostalgic journey around Britain’s railways in the 1950s and 1960s. All the pictures are reproduced from original transparencies, carefully preserved away from daylight to protect the original vividness of colour. Colour photography from this period is scarce since most photographers worked mainly in black and white to serve the needs of publishers. Divided into ten chapters, each covering a different geographic area of Britain, long-time railway enthusiast Colin G. Maggs’ book provides an introduction to that area followed by a selection of photographs. The pictures are accompanied by informative captions, recording the date, location and engine details along with fascinating snippets of history and other points of interest. From express trains caught speeding through the countryside to engines hard at work in goods yards, these pictures will delight all railway enthusiasts. You can almost smell the intoxicating mixture of smoke, steam and hot oil in these resonant photographs that capture the spirit and charm of an almost disappeared era.

FIRE AND STEAM - CHRISTIAN WOLMAR   ATLANTIC BOOKS ISBN: 978 1 84354 124 0

Fire and SteamChristian Wolmar’s fascinating book, now available in paperback, tells the dramatic story of the people and events that shaped the world’s first railway network - one of the most impressive engineering achievements in history. The opening of the pioneering Liverpool and Manchester Railway in 1830 marked the beginning of the railways’ vital role in changing the face of Britain. Fire and Steam celebrates the vision and determination of those ambitious Victorian pioneers who developed this revolutionary transport system and the navvies who cut through the land to enable a country-wide network to emerge. The rise of the steam train allowed goods and people to circulate around the country as never before, stimulating the growth of towns and industry, as well many of the facets of modern life, from fish and chips to professional football. From the early days of steam to electrification, via the railways’ crucial contribution in two world wars, the chequered history of British Rail, and the buoyant future of the train, Wolmar examines the social and economical importance of the railway and how it helped to form the Britain of today. More than just nostalgia, Fire and Steam shows how the railways turned the Industrial Revolution into a social revolution that had an impact far beyond those routes where the tracks took trains. ‘A marvelously informative, entertaining and rightly partisan book.’ - Rod Liddle, The Sunday Times.

BLOOD, IRON & GOLD - CHRISTIAN WOLMAR   ATLANTIC BOOKS ISBN: 978 1 84887 170 0

The oldest, man-hauled railways date to the 6th century BC in Greece and railways began reappearing in Europe from the fourteenth century. It was the development of the steam engine during the industrial revolution though that made it possible to construct mainline railways. James Watt patented the first steam engine in 1794, and in 1825 George Stephenson built the Locomotion for the Stockton and Darlington Railway, the first public steam railway in the world. In 1829 he built The Rocket, which won the Rainhill Trials and led to Stephenson establishing his company as the pre-eminent builder of steam locomotives in the United Kingdom, the United States and much of Europe. The Baltimore and Ohio opened in the United States in 1830 and began a boom time for American trains that was key to the development of that vast country. Christian Wolmar’s book tells the dramatic story of the people and events that shaped the world’s railways, with some of the most awe-inspiring engineering achievements in history. Blood, Iron and Gold takes us on a journey through jungle, mountain and desert, revealing the huge impact of the railways as they spread rapidly across entire countries, linking cities which hitherto had little reach beyond their immediate areas. From Panama to the Punjab, from Tasmania to Turin, this fascinating and thoroughly researched book celebrates the vision and determination of ambitious pioneers and the efforts of the navvies who overcame horrific conditions to enable this global network to emerge. From steam to electrification, the author shows how the rise of the train triggered daring engineering feats, architectural innovation and the rapid movement of people and goods around the world. He shows how cultures were enriched, and destroyed, by the unrelenting construction of the railways, and how they quickly took on a vital role in civil conflict as well as in two world wars. ‘Christian Wolmar brings the era of railway mania alive: both the imagination and the daring that made it possible.’ - David Dimbleby.

UNION PACIFIC RAILROAD - WELSH & HOLLAND    VOYAGEUR PRESS

America’s first transcontinental railroad was built between 1863 and 1869 by the Central Pacific Railroad of California and the Union Pacific Railroad, connecting Council Bluffs, Iowa, with Alameda in California. Opened for through traffic on May 10, 1869, with the driving of the ‘Last Spike’ at Promontory Summit, Utah, this railroad revolutionised the population and economy of the American West. It was the culmination of a decades-long movement to build such a line and represented one of the greatest technological feats of the 19th century. Most workers on the Union Pacific were either ex-army veterans or Irish emigrants - the Central Pacific relied mainly on Chinese labourers - and the company also employed many ex-army men as engineers. Generously illustrated with historic posters, drawings and photographs, this new book follows the Union Pacific’s complex history from that original pioneering transcontinental link to the present day, when it has become the largest railroad in the United States and is second only to the federal government as a landowner. Authors Joe Welsh and Kevin J. Holland brilliantly bring to life the fascinating story of this illustrious railroad. Voyageur Press has recently published many other outstanding railroad books, including Railroads Across North America and AMERICAN PASSENGER TRAINS & LOCOMOTIVES ILLUSTRATED, which celebrates the golden age of passenger travel on 40 of America’s most famous trains, such as The California Zephyr, Texas Eagle and Lake Shore Limited. Mark Wegman’s meticulous drawings are accompanied by histories of each train, with period photographs, postcards, menus, luggage stickers, vintage advertisements and detailed captions. ALCO LOCOMOTIVES explores the history of some of America’s best known and best loved engines. In the first comprehensive tribute to the American Locomotive Company, railway historian Brian Solomon offers a collection of glorious historic photos and modern colour images together with curious details, firsthand accounts and other unique research to examine the rich heritage of Alco from its magnificent steam-powered Atlantics, Big Boys and Challengers to more recent iconic diesel and electric creations. All these books will delight railfans as well as anyone interested in the history of America.

RAILROADS ACROSS NORTH AMERICA: AN ILLUSTRATED HISTORY  VOYAGEUR PRESS

Ever since they first appeared on the scene, North American trains have exerted a strong hold on the popular imagination, inspiring countless stories, songs, scandals, films and legends. Their power and rugged charm sets them apart from more mundane means of transport and they create a sense of adventure and romance. The development of the United States and Canada largely coincided with the epic story of their railroads as they contributed to prosperity and gave a sense of national identity, symbolising strength, optimism and pioneering spirit. Author, train enthusiast and photographer Claude Wiatrowski’s sumptuous 256-page book tells the railroad story from those first steam-powered locomotives of the early nineteenth century to the high-speed commuter trains of today, celebrating the glory and grandeur of that legacy with a lavish tour of the history of the American railroad and the culture surrounding it. Generously illustrated with vintage photographs, modern images, maps, timetables, tickets, brochures, and all manner of memorabilia, this volume offers a fascinating look at the rail industry’s beginnings and development, as well as its place in American history. From the might of the major rail companies and their empires to the romance of rail travel, this is a fabulously colourful story that continues to stir the imagination. Copiously illustrated and wonderfully informative, this beautifully produced book offers fascinating insights into the history of North America and is a particular treat for train enthusiasts. A section is devoted to preserved railways, museums and historic sites, and there is a useful bibliography as well as a comprehensive index. Highly recommended.

THE CALL OF TRAINS - JIM SHAUGHNESSY/JEFF BROUWS     NORTON

This splendid book by Jim Shaughnessy, retired civil engineer and a revered name among railway photographers, includes the best of his work over a forty-year career. The collection features 170 duotone photographs taken between 1946 and 1988, with an emphasis on the American railroad culture of the fifties and sixties. Jeff Brouws - a railway authority and photo historian - has contributed an outstanding biographical essay that traces Shaughnessy’s beginnings photographing steam locomotives in Troy, New York, to his documentation of the dramatic steam-to-diesel transition, with an emphasis on the northeastern United States and Canada, where the concentration of railway action and often deep snow resulted in beautiful and unusual images. Not just a compendium of photographs of locomotives, this book covers the whole railroad world - the sheds, tunnels, viaducts, station yards and more, making it a wonderful document of what is arguably railroading’s most compelling era. This beautifully produced book filled with marvelously evocative images will appeal to all railroad enthusiasts as well as anyone who appreciates great photography.

THE RAILWAY: ART IN THE AGE OF STEAM   YALE UNIVERSITY PRESS ISBN 978-0-300-13878-8

America’s first (and the world’s second) regular steam train service went into operation on Christmas Day 1830 on the South Carolina Canal & Railroad, and by the late 1850s America had built half the world’s railroad mileage in existence. This beautifully produced book shows how steam locomotives gripped the imagination when they first appeared in 19th-century Europe and America. Aboard these great machines, passengers travelled at faster speeds than ever before while watching the scenery transform itself and take on new forms. Common notions of time and space were forever changed. With marvelous illustrations and engaging texts, The Railway: Art in the Age of Steam captures both the fear and excitement of early train travel as it probes the artistic response to steam locomotion within its social setting. Featuring paintings, photography, prints, and posters, the book includes many masterpieces by 19th and 20th century artists such as Turner, Monet (Train in the Snow), Pissarro, Daumier (exquisite portraits of passengers), Monet, Van Gogh and some wonderfully lonely scenes captured by Edward Hopper. These evocative artworks have been expertly selected by Ian Kennedy and Julian Treuherz and are accompanied by illuminating essays from Matthew Beaumont and Michael Freeman. This is a glorious celebration of arguably the most exhilarating and poetic form of transport ever made available to everyone.

 

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