Prototype Reference Books

Historical books covering Britains' railways with photographs of how things actually used to look.
See also the Lightmoor Press and Wild Swan sections for more photographic albums and line histories.
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For over 150 years Britain's railways have relied on a system of semaphore signalling, but by 2020, all semaphore signals and lineside signal boxes will be gone. A Contemporary Perspective on GWR Signalling provides a unique record of the last operational mechanical signalling and infrastructure on Britain's railway network, as it applied to the former Great Western Railway (and lines owned jointly with other companies). It also includes a comprehensive explanation of what mechanical signalling is and how it works. Beautifully illustrated with over 400 contemporary images and with detailed information from a 2003-2014 survey, this is an essential resource for anyone with an interest in the traditional signalling systems of railways in Britain.

The book covers:
Lineside signalling equipment - semaphore signals, brackets and gantries, and other variations
Ways of working, from Absolute Block to Track Circuit Block (TCB)
Detailed coverage of the signal boxes and infrastructure on Network Rail, including routes through Shrewsbury, Hereford, Worcester, Cornwall, Chester and North Warwickshire
Diagrams of the major routes
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A unique collection of unpublished photographs from the mid-1950s to the mid-1960s covering railways around Worcester.

Robert ‘Ellis’ James-Robertson lived in Worcester from the mid-1950s and travelled around the country, building-up a large railway archive.

This book of mainly unpublished colour and black & white photographs has been created entirely from his collection within a 35-mile radius of Worcester. It will appeal to railway enthusiasts, modellers and those with an interest in local history.

The period covered is from the mid-1950s through to the mid-1960s; steam is the predominant traction throughout together with occasional shots of early diesel power. Coverage includes parts of Herefordshire, Gloucestershire, Warwickshire and Worcestershire, plus the Birmingham area.

Each photograph is accompanied by a caption and an introduction to Worcester's railways is also included. 128 pages.

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David Larkin continues his comprehensive survey of British Railways goods wagons by looking at the final flowering of vacuum-braked stock, and the development of air-braked stock in the final years of British Railways, such as "merry-go-round" coal hoppers and Freightliner flat wagons. The batch of vacuum-fitted prototypes that eventually led to the general fleet of air-braked opens and vans is also covered. In addition, David also considers the effect of the change of corporate image for British Rail on wagon liveries, as a prelude to his continuation of the series into the British Rail era. Profusely illustrated, as are the other books in the series, this book includes lot and diagram details, wagon number ranges, builder’s and livery details of a diverse set of vehicles. “A profusion of well-reproduced photos on high-grade paper.” Railway Magazine “Comprehensive survey. An excellent selection of photographs.” Railway Modeller Softback: 96 pages with 162 photographs
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Great Western Railway Stars, Castles and Kings examines the history and workings of these legendary classes of passenger steam locomotives, the first of which, the North Star, was built in 1906.

Richly illustrated with over 200 photographs, the book includes:

• Illustrated explanations of how Great Western Railway steam engines work
• Details of the engines' work on named expresses and in ordinary service
• Overview of the survivors, heritage organizations and their futures
• Technical specifications and timelines of each class
• GWR and British Rail Motive Power Depot codes and train head codes

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Ian Allan Publishing BR Passenger Sectors 9780711034419
13 years of sectorisation is covered in this full colour of the classes and units in each section for the modeller & historian.
Paperback. 96pp. 21cm by 28cm.
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The 1950s and 1960s was a time of profound cultural and technological transformation. With images and vivid recollections, we journey back to post-war Wales and the Western Region of British Railways. We explore favourite routes and railway places, many now changed beyond recognition. Trackside, at busy stations, in and around depots, an evolving mood is revealed in pictures.
In the 1950s railway pride and optimism overcame staff shortages, returning locomotives to pre-war performance and introducing modern BR standard classes. By the 1960s fiscal efficiency and the dawning diesel era turned pride to neglect. Sparkling steel, brass and tallow gave way to dust, rust and flaking paint. Though many locomotives were lost, some survived to be reborn as the stars of preserved railways; loved by dedicated volunteers and tourists alike.
People, machines and landscapes are crystalized on film for future generations – reawakening memories for those who lived through this time of change and offering a fascinating insight for those who are too young to have been trackside during this intriguing period of railway history.
96 pages.

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This book contains a series of colour photographs taken by author, George Woods, between 1966 and 2019 illustrating diesel powered trains operating around the former Great Western region. Photographs cover the lines out of London Paddington towards Bristol, Wales and the South West, as well as lines throughout southwest England and Wales.

A wide variety of locomotives and multiple units are covered, including the iconic 'Western', 'Warship' and 'Hymek' locomotives commonly associated with the Great Western region. Unfortunately there were problems with all of these classes and all were withdrawn from service by the late 1970s. Other more modern locomotives and units are featured, including many of the new types of trains introduced in the post-privatisation era.

Photographs are presented in two-per-page format, with a detailed caption accompanying each photograph. A short introduction to diesel motive power on the former Western Region is also included.

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The Later Years of British Rail 1980-1995: Freight Special records a period of enormous change and adaptation, and the story is told here by the authors, Patrick Bennett and Peter Lovell, using the photographs they took over this period.

1980 to 1995 was an extraordinary time for the railways of Britain, especially in the freight sector. With British Rail still controlling all aspects of the railways in 1980 there was not a great deal of change around. Hundreds of collieries were still working and freight traffic was still abundant, with marshalling yards active and many branch lines still operating. In the early 1980s Sectorisation arrived, and in 1983 the freight division was separated from the passenger side and given a new livery. Further division occurred in 1987 with the freight group being divided into seven different sectors.

As the eighties progressed, the freight sector was constantly changing, new locomotives were introduced, and the older types started to disappear. The mixed freight train became a thing of the past, but new traffic flows developed, particularly in containers and aggregates. The coal sector was in steady decline and branch lines became disused. In the early nineties three new freight companies were created in anticipation of privatisation, Loadhaul, Mainline and Transrail. However, when privatisation itself finally arrived all the companies were taken over by the same American company and merged to form the English, Welsh and Scottish Railways.

The majority of the 180 colour photographs are displayed in two-per-page format and they are all accompanied by a detailed caption. 96 pages.

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The first cranes mounted on railway wheels were hand-operated, but by the mid-nineteenth century several builders had fitted steam engines and boilers to enhance lifting capabilities. Though initially these machines were not self-propelled, but merely portable. By the 1860s self-propelled cranes were offered and gradually designs were developed for more specialised uses, such as dealing with accidents or for quarrying.

A crane locomotive is a conventional steam locomotive, built or subsequently fitted with a crane jib. The first example was a locomotive converted by the London & North Western Railway in 1866. Other railways followed with their own conversions, and three main line companies even built a small number new. These were all mainly employed for shunting and loading in workshop areas. Private firms also designed and built specialist crane locomotives for use in heavy industry, such as shipyards and steelworks, where they proved to be extremely versatile, with the last examples working into the early 1970s.

While over 200 were built in the UK, for both domestic service and export, these fascinating machines have been largely overlooked by the railway historian and enthusiast. Crane Locomotives traces the history of these unique locomotives and is well-illustrated with black & white photographs and diagrams. 96 pages.

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In the late 1950s, the Western Region of British Railways identified a need for a large number of Type 1 diesel locomotives for short freight duties. The first locomotives were delivered in the mid-1960s and were effectively a lower budget version of the Type 1s delivered elsewhere. The Swindon Type 1 is a six-wheeled alternative to the Bo-Bo locomotives delivered to other regions.
With the decline of rail freight as a result of the massive expansion of road haulage in the late 1960s, the locomotives soon found their work drying up and the whole class was withdrawn by 1969. Many locomotives went on to work on industrial railway systems following their withdrawal from British Railways.
This book takes a look at how the locomotives came into existence, their design and their use with British Railways during their short operating lives. A second future volume will look at the type's use on private and industrial railways.
This book is well-illustrated throughout with colour and black & white photographs as well as tables of data. Hardback. 216 pages.

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By Paul Dorney. The railway lines of the heavily industrialised Black Country were of considerable commercial importance to the Great Western Railway and its successor, the Western Region of British Railways. Despite this importance, little has previously been published concerning the railway landscape of industrial North-West Worcestershire and South-East Staffordshire.

Black Country Steam: Western Region Operations 1948–1967 seeks to redress that previous lack of attention, by presenting a significant selection of over 200 hitherto unpublished photographs, principally taken by locally-based enthusiasts. The images, which cover the period from nationalisation to the ultimate demise of steam, are all accompanied by informative captions. They depict a wide variety of steam locomotives and the diverse traffic generated by the local industry, via the sidings and yards that served it.

The book follows each of the former Great Western routes through the region in a logical manner and contains informative introductions to each line. All 30 stations within the area are featured and coverage is also given to local locomotive running sheds and maintenance facilities.

Most of the featured lines have now closed, as has much of the heavy industry in the area. In many respects the landscape today is unrecognisable from that of the days of steam, but it is hoped this book will prove a significant historical record and will rekindle memories of a landscape now lost forever. 144 pages. Hardback.

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In the years before the privatisation of British Railways, the Provincial Sector (later Regional Railways), became responsible for local and secondary train services and initiated the refurbishment of 31 Class 37 locomotives. These were fitted with train heating equipment and designated Class 37/4 and were used to support the shortfall of DMU trainsets at the time. Their initial task was to work services on the Scottish lines radiating from Inverness and on the West Highland Lines, with a small batch based in Wales to operate Cambrian line services and trains from Cardiff to Shrewsbury and beyond.

These services were soon replaced by Sprinter trainsets thus releasing the fleet to other duties and at privatisation in April 1994, the fleet fell into the hands of freight operators
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A well illustrated history of the Bristol & Gloucester Railway. The book relates the history of the railway from construction, through to the merger of the company with the Birmingham & Gloucester Railway. Looks at the operation of the line and at the locomotives and rolling stock to have operated on the line over the years covered. Well illustrated throughout with black & white photographs and maps. 192 pages.
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By the early years of the twentieth century, the development of rail transport in South Wales had produced an intricate network that owed its origins to several factors that came into play in the previous century, such as the demand for iron ore, limestone and high-quality Welsh anthracite coal, as well as the nineteenth-century expansion and development of rail-served Welsh Bristol Channel ports. By the 1990s, the inexorable decline of the railway network in South Wales, steepened by the devastating Miners’ Strike of 1984/85, meant that railborne freight was a shadow of its former self. What remained however, certainly in the 1990s and early 2000s, was a variety of flows in the hands of what we would now refer to as classic traction - namely Class 56s, 60s and, of course, the venerable Class 37s.
This book draws on a collection of images, mainly of the aforementioned types, often in colourful sector liveries, set in the striking rural and industrial landscapes that typify South Wales. Locomotive-hauled passenger services also added visual variety to this part of the country in the period covered by this book.
96 pages.

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Return to the era when rail blue ruled supreme on the railways of Britain, when a wide variety of British-built trains operated from the highlands of Scotland, through the now vanished industrial north and midlands, through the Welsh valleys, across the suburban networks of the south-east, and through the picturesque West Country.
In the dying days of British steam, the British Rail Design Research Unit in the 1960s introduced a modern new blue livery for diesel and electric locomotive;, blue and grey for coaching stock, blue for suburban stock, and the now iconic double-arrow symbol.
Having lived through this lost era, Mark Jamieson provides a nostalgic and affectionate record of British Rail during the rail blue years. Illustrated throughout and with detailed captions, this is a comprehensive account of when the livery ruled the rails.
 96 pages.

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An album of high-quality colour and black & white photographs taken from the collection of photographer Geoff Plumb of railways of the former Western Region, taken during the 1960s.

The 1960s was a decade where steam was rapidly being replaced by diesel traction, with steam being totally eradicated by 1968. Photographs in this book cover the extent of the former Great Western Railway, featuring locations from London Paddington towards Devon and Cornwall, as well as locations around the southwest and Wales.

Each photograph is presented in one-per-page format with a detailed caption included at the foot of each page. Hardback. 176 pages.

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When the first BR 'pilot scheme' main line diesel locomotives appeared in the late 1950s they were generally painted in traditional Brunswick green. Some classes sported a more imaginative, pleasing two-tone green livery while the Western Region opted for maroon for its 'Warships' and 'Westerns' following a poll among the general public. In 1965 the British Railways Board decided on a new corporate image and adopted Rail blue as the standard colour for its locomotive fleet together with a new double arrow symbol. In 1978 it was agreed that a further change was desirable and selected classes were repainted with a large logo and full wrap round yellow nose ends or cab fronts, the first machine to be treated being Class 56 No.56036. This simple alteration transformed the look of the locomotives and, in spite of all the new colour schemes that have appeared in recent years, for the author at least the large logo livery is one of the best. He illustrates it beautifully in this full colour album.

96 pages Hardback

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The Manual for Diesel Locomotive & DMU Drivers will serve as an essential reference work on the role and duties of heritage railway diesel drivers and secondmen, but contains little that should not be easily comprehensible to anyone who has an interest in diesel traction and footplate matters.
Written by John Leach, a British Rail locomotive driver and heritage railway diesel traction inspector,  this book addresses the many pertinent topics, including the knowledge required to drive trains safely and effectively, which make a good driver of diesel locomotive hauled and multiple unit trains.
240 pages A4 hardback.
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Although in the late 1970s they were frowned upon by many for replacing a number of loco-hauled services, for 40 years the High-Speed Train (HST) was the mainstay of express services for many train operators in the UK.
It was in the former Western Region of BR that they first made their mark in service and they were on duty there until 2019 when they were withdrawn from frontline express duties.

Illustrated with over 190 colour photographs, this book details the varied Western Region locations, some off the beaten track, where the HSTs could be seen operating. 96 pages.

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A comprehensive and detailed track diagram book covering the national rail network,�freight-only routes, industrial�and heritage railways. In addition there are insets and�extra pages covering the demonstration railways at museums, leisure parks and model engineering clubs. The Quail series is possibly the most complete collection of track diagrams

This volume covers Scotland the Isle of Man

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This book contains more than 260 high quality colour images of Britain’s railway network taken between 1970 and 1985. The photographers’ authorised access to the rail network in the 1970s enabled the capture of many rare views that have given rise to this interesting and unique record.
The Beaten Track is an exceptional combination of outstanding colour photography and rarely seen locations taken during an often-neglected era of British railway history.
176 pages, hardback. Author Andy Chard.

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The Beaten Track Volume 2 – a second collection of more than 280 outstanding colour images from 1970–1985. This brand new volume includes an assortment of traction types, very few of which can still be seen on the main line, many at railway locations that have long since disappeared or have changed out of all recognition.
 
All the photographs are accompanied by extensive captions, containing considerable historical and anecdotal information relating to the lines, stations and trains depicted.
176 pages A4 size hardback. Author Andy Chard.

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Using the extensive photographic archive of Rhys Jones, Waterloo to the West Country takes the reader on a journey from London to Penzance in the days of steam, predominantly using colour photography from the late 1950s and early 1960s.

Following the former L&SWR line from Waterloo to Exeter, Bulleid’s Battle of Britain, Merchant Navy and West Country classes feature heavily, as well as newer British Railways Standards, other Southern Railway designs and some of the survivors from the pre-Grouping era.

Beyond Exeter, via the route along the Dawlish sea wall and over the south Devon banks, Great Western Railway classes are in dominance. Some of the long-lost West Country branches and the “Withered Arm” of the Southern are visited along the way.

All the photographs are accompanied by extended captions revealing detailed histories of many of the locomotives featured, and further anecdotal information. For completeness, in a few locations the archive images are supplemented by more recent images of steam operation. A4 size. 144 pages.

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A nostalgic and pictorial account of the development of the GWR County class, that had a relatively short but successful life due to the programme of dieselisation. Author: Laurence Waters. Publisher: Oxford Publishing Co. Hardback. 112pp. 22cm by 28cm. ISBN-13: 9780860936046
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This book looks at Gloucester’s motive power depots during the final years of steam. Covers both the former GWR Horton Road depot and ex-LMS Barnwood depot. Includes an introduction to the sheds, their layouts and the locomotives based there. Also looks at locomotive duties and visiting locomotives. Well illustrated with black & white photographs and maps. Hardback. 232 pages.
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Isambard Kingdom Brunel, Britain's greatest engineer is perhaps best known for his ships and the Bristol-London main line, but he also designed many structures in Gloucestershire too. Most notable of the local designs include the tubular bridge crossing the Wye from England to Wales at Chepstow, which was the precursor of the Royal Albert Bridge at Saltash. Brunel oversaw the construction of the line from Swindon to Gloucester, and the Broad Gauge goods shed at Stroud station, as well as the station in Cirencester, now surrounded by a car park. Other notable structures include the Mickleton and Haie Hill tunnels, Brunel was heavily involved in the surveying of the major rail routes in the county too, being the engineer for the Bristol to Gloucester route, which opened in 1844 and undertook surveys of the Gloucester-Birmingham railway line too. John Christopher, an acknowledged expert on Brunel, with numerous books to his name, takes us on a tour of the county, showing the effect that Brunel had on the railways, roads and rivers and the transport network of Gloucestershire.
 96 pages.
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In the quarter of a century between 1830 and 1855, the railway locomotive developed from the small sisters of Rocketto the broad gauge monsters of Daniel Gooch, with a boiler pressure nearly three times that of Rocketand weighing in at nearly 40 tons (eight times the weight of Rocket). There was a marked increase in loads, speeds and reliability as the railways spread across the country from their cradle in the North West, with several thousands of miles of track being laid.

In this book, Anthony Dawson charts the rise and development of the steam locomotive in this crucial period in the development of the railways. Drawing on first-hand accounts, and using case studies based on specific classes of locomotive and their working replicas, he charts the development of the locomotive from Rocket, through the Planet and Patentee classes of Robert Stephenson, Edward Bury's 'coppernobs' and finally Firefly and Iron Duke on Brunel's broad gauge. This is a fascinating and well-illustrated insight into a period of engineering ingenuity and genius.
96 pages.
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Bristol is fortunate in having a particularly photogenic main-line station in Brunel’s magnificent Temple Meads, with a great variety of traction available both there and in the adjacent Bath Road diesel depot, now long gone. Liveries from the Rail Blue, Sectorisation and Privatisation eras are all illustrated in this book as well as preserved traction in historic liveries. From Peaks to Warships to Class 66s, and from slam-door DMUs to Sprinters and Voyagers, much of interest lies within.
96 pages.
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