Lost Lines & Last days

 Along Lost Lines by Paul Atterbury
I’m a big fan of Paul Atterbury’s book, and as someone who was born after steam was abolished I think it is fascinating to be able to read about how the heritage movement was started & what it was like back then. This book features some wonderful photographs, and is A Nostalgic and fascinating book which looks at the glorious heritage of lost railway lines in Britain. The book contains archive photos which illustrate the way things used to be aswell as accounts from those who worked on the railways and photos of how the area looks now.

The book is divided into these chapters Southern England, Wales, Central England, East Anglia, Northern England & Scotland. Each chapter looks at subjects

The books also looks at the reasons why the closures were made and what became of the various structures afterwards and is a fascinating and nostalgic look back at a certain period of time, which is brought vividly to life through the means of words & photographs.

Last Days of Steam on the LMS & BR by Roderick E Fowkes
Using an awesome collection of archive photographs which show how things really were & a treasure trove of memories from someone who was there and remembers it well, this is a nostalgic look at Britain’s Railways through the eyes of a chap whose boyhood dream it was to become an Engine Driver, but who was sadly denied due to medical reasons.
In the book he reminisces about his experiences of growing up with steam, getting his first job on the railway as a junior Porter and gradually working his way up until he becomes part of the senior management at the station nineteen years later, and goes right up to the point where steam is phased out in the 1960’s to make way for the then-government’s rather hastily thought out and executed plan of Modernisation & Dieselisation on Britain’s railways

Awesome Railway Publications

British Steam – Power & Glory by Keith Langston

This  fascinating book  celebrates the best of British Steam Locomotives and features over 170 excellent photographs, Including a focus on Mainline Steam workings during 2009, such as the wonderful Stanier Coronation Class 4-6-2 Pacifics Duchess of Sutherland & Duchess of Hamilton and BR Standard 4-6-2 71000 Duke of Gloucester,

It also looks at steam workings in Wales. featuring a fascinating article & fabulous photographs of 5972 Olton Hall (AKA Hogwarts Castle), Stanier Mogul 42968, Black 5 45407, 4-6-2 no 46233 Duchess of Sutherland, 4472 Flying Scotsman, Rebuilt West Country Pacific no 34027 Taw Valley, LMS Jubilee 4-6-0 5960 Leander and Jubilee 45596 Bahamas plus many others,
The book also looks at the oldest named train in the world “The Irish Mail” which was famously hauled by Royal Scot locomotives for 30 years, with such wonderful machines as BR Standard Class 70000 Britannia, Pacific 6201 Princess Elizabeth, Pacific 6203 Princess Margaret Rose and BR Standard 8p 71000 Duke of Gloucester all mentioned.

Awesome articulated Beyer Garratts are also featured in the book & the history and development of these amazing locomotives such as the factors that went into the design is also explained.
Steaming through Snowdonia looks at the route of the Narrow Gauge Festiniog & Welsh Highland Railway from Porthmadog to Blaenau Ffestiniog through Snowdonia National Park, and looks at the motive power used such as Beyer Garratt & Fairlie Engines, including the wonderful double ended Fairlies that can often be seen working the route.

The book also looks at the wonderful work of Railway artist & Photographer Craig Tilley aswell as the delightful rural narrow-gauge Lynton & Barnstable line, which is also remembered, looking at the history, the route, the locomotives and what happened

British Steam – Memories in Colour by Keith Langston
This book  features a selection of wonderful images from a classic colour collection of Railway photographs. which celebrates the work of the Steam Locomotive within British Railways between 1948 and 1968 and uses exclusive images selected by the former proprietor of Colour Rail, Ron White, who has worked tirelessly for the past 30 years to bring together and preserve a photographic record of Britain’s Steam Railways as they were.
This volume contains colour images from all five regions of British Railways – Western Region, London Midland Region, Southern Region, North Eastern Region, and Scottish Region. and is a fascinating look at steam locomotives at work in all parts of the British Isles, with plenty of stunning photographs of many famous locomotives such as BR Standard 4-6-2 71000 Duke of Gloucester, glorious A4 Pacifics and many more besides.

The Inside Guide to the Steam Railways of Britain
From the publishers of Steam Railway Magazine, and in association with Allelys Heavy Haulage, comes this invaluable guide to all the Heritage Steam railways, both full size & Narrow Gauge currently operating in Great Britain.
All railways are listed alphabetically, & the address is given, with instructions & a detailed Ordnance Survey Maps showing you how to get there, by car, by rail & by bus. The Railway’s Websites are also listed, so you can have a look at the railway online before you go.
There is also a useful price guide to Train Fares, aswell as a guide to the facilities at each location and advice on the best photographic locations along each route. The Locomotive Stock at each Railway is also listed, as is advice on how to go about volunteering at a steam Heritage Railway and when each line is open.
There is also a picture of the last remaining Ivatt 4mt No 43106 (AKA The Flying Pig) Jon the front cover, which was taken during The 2009 Severn Valley Railway Autumn Steam Gala, Before the tender parted company with the rails at Hampton Loade

British Railways 3 DVD boxed set

This fascinating 3 DVD boxed set takes a look at Railways in Britain throughout the 20th Century. It comprises of the episodes Waterloo Sunset, Rails in the Isle of Wight and Vintage Southern.
Waterloo Sunset as the title suggests concentrates on the Southern Regions last Steam worked lines from Waterloo to Salisbury & Weymouth, and features footage of Nine Elms Shed, following the main-line down to Basingstoke. Heading West to Worthing Junction and going South through Eastleigh & Southampton. There are also scenes filmed in the New Forest, including Lymington, before going south to Bournemouth and featuring the famous Channel Islands Boat Train, before reaching the destination of Weymouth.
Volume Two, Rails of the Isle of Wight features vintage Steam Railway footage of the lines from Ventnor to Cowes, Brading to Bembridge and Sandown to Merstone & Newport. This is contrasted with the islands new Tube trains being tested in places such as Clapham Junction, and the story of the first generation tube trains in their all-blue livery is covered. The story is then brought up-to-date with scenes recording the Wonderful Atmosphere of the Isle of Wight Steam Railway.
Volume three in this wonderful series is Vintage Southern, which as the title suggests features a lot of rare footage made on the railways in the South East of Britain starting at London Bridge, East Croydon and Folkestone, featuring both Mainline Expresses & Boat Trains. There is also coverage of the Golden Arrow & other Southern Pullman Services aswell as The Brighton Belle. The last part of the program looks at lines like The Bluebell Line from East Grinstead to Lewes, The preserved Kent & East Sussex, and the branch lines from Duntan Green to Westerham and Paddock Wood to Hawkhurst

Steam in the 21st Century

I’ve recently watched this really cool 3Disc DVD boxed-set again, which features The Battlefield Line, The West Somerset Railway and The Severn Valley Railway.

Disc One features The Battlefield Line during a Thomas the Tank Engine event. This line acquired it’s name when they relayed the track on part of the ground where The Battle of Bosworth Field was fought in 1485. Originally opened in 1873 the line was called The Ashby & Nuneaton Joint Railway and stayed in business until it was closed in 1970.  Now Thanks to the efforts of many dedicated Rail Enthusiasts the line has been gradually reopened from Shackerstone to Shenton, and now features a wide variety of Rolling Stock including The diesel “Griffon” aswell as a museum The Battlefield Line
Disc two of Steam in the 21st Century travels on the West Somerset Railway from Minehead, to Norton Fitzwarren, which is home to the awesome SDJR 88.

 The DVD features the 2005 Spring Steam Gala, during which 12 Great Western Locomotives were in steam 😀 These included GWR3440 City of Truro, GWR6024 King Edward I, GWR5051 Earl Bathurst, GWR4936 Kinlet Hall & GWR7822 Foxcote Manor aswell as many other Prairie & Saddle Tank Engines. The program also features a shunting demonstration, which was also taking place at Minehead around the same time. www.wsr.org.uk

Disc three of Steam in the 21st Century travels the sixteen miles on the picturesque Severn Valley Railway from Kidderminster via Bewdley, Arley, Highley, Hampton Loade and on to Bridgnorth

The episode tells the convoluted history of the SVR from it’s conception to it’s eventual opening in 1862 some 20 yeas later, up until it’s closure in 1963 as a result of Dr Beeching’s recommendations, and thanks to the efforts of a number of  dedicated rail enthusiasts, it’s eventual reopening again in 1970 as a Heritage Line.  The disc also charts the progress of the reopened Heritage line from small beginnings to the highly successful & popular tourist attraction it is today, Locomotives featured in the DVD include Black 5 45110, Stanier 8f 48773, Ivatt class 2 46443, Stanier Mogul 42968 and GWR7802 Bradley Manor among many others.
Although The Boiler tickets on both LMS 5mt 45110 and LMS 8f 48773 have both expired so they are out of traffic at the moment,   Ivatt Class 4 43106 AKA “The Flying Pig” is back in traffic and No 1501 and the awesome Taw Valley are both currently being sorted among many others, so that’s something to look forward to
www.svr.co.uk

Eeeek! There’s a shark in my bedroom

I really enjoyed watching this years Dr Who Christmas Special starring Katherine Jenkins & Michael Gambon. It was very poignant in parts & exciting in others.

It starts when The Doctor (Matt Smith) lands on a planet similar to Earth during Victorian Times & meets a really miserable old curmudgeon named Kazran Sardick (Gambon), who can control the weather and is able to save the lives of thousands of people, including Amy (Karen Gillan) who are plummeting towards certain doom aboard a stricken spaceship, but who is unwilling to do so.

So, being a Time Lord, The Doctor is able to travel back in time and find out why Sardick became the way he is, and finds a life full of sadness & tragedy, ruled by his domineering Father, and made worse by the knowledge that he will eventually lose the love of his life (Played by Katherine Jenkins) to a serious illness.

The Doctor must persuade Sardick to change his ways in order to save the lives of thousands of people, with a little help from Ms Jenkins.

Archive of British Steam DVD boxed set

For Christmas Santa brought me this wonderful 3 DVD Boxed-set, which features hours of footage taken around Britain’s Railways and features an impressive array of Steam Traction from around the Country.

The First DVD “British Steam in the 50’s & 60’s concentrates on the last two decades of Steam Operation on Britain’s Railways and features loads of fascinating footage taken by keen amateurs recording the end of an era in Britain’s history. Part One includes steam workings at Clapham Junction and features impressive locomotives like GWR Castles & Kings. Plus an interesting look at Stanier Pacifics on the West Coast Mainline and BR Standard Classes.

Part Two of this DVD features former LNER Passenger & Freight Locomotives, Wellingborough on the Midland Mainline, Bulleid Pacifics on the Southern Region and Britannia’s at Liverpool Street Station, plus many more.

The Second DVD “The Very Best of British Steam of Yesteryear” features more great footage taken by amateurs keen to record this fascinating part of everyday life & provides a great insight into the everyday workings on various routes, including The Waverly Route, The North East, The East Coast Mainline, The South East The North East and The Somerset & Dorset – Which is home to the awesome SDJR 88

The Third DVD “The Very Best of Steam Today” concentrates on the efforts of some of today’s many heritage steam railway lines, without whose efforts many impressive machines would not still exist., and the opportunity to savour the nostalgic atmosphere of a steam railway and run through some very scenic countryside would have been lost ages ago. This DVD features action from some of the most popular and picturesque steam heritage lines including The Bluebell Line, The West Somerset Railway, The North Yorkshire Moors Railway, The East Lancashire Railway, The Keighley & Worth Valley Railway, The Llangollen Railway, The Great Central Railway, The Severn Valley Railway & The Ffestiniog Narrow Gauge Railway