Classic British Steam – The Ultimate Collector’s Edition. Lately I have been reading This stunning regional guide to Britain’s railways, which includes 6 DVD’s and an illustrated Hardback book and details the complete story of steam, both past and present across England, Scotland and Wales. It features The North East, The North West, the South West, London and the South East, Wales and Scotland. It also includes footage of preserved steam from the Settle and Carlisle line, the West Somerset Railway, The Severn Valley Railway, Paignton, Bodmin and Dawlish as well as archive footage from the 1960’s.
Great Central Railway – Past Present and Future. This is Published by Railway and Heritage Railway Magazines and is the complete story of the Great Central Railway from it’s beginnings as a pre- grouping company in Victorian times, to joining the London Midland and Southern railway in 1923, till the end of Steam in 1968 and subsequently becoming a popular heritage line around Loughborough. It also features the Buckingham Railway Centre at Quainton, the Elsecar Heritage Railway and the much lamented trans-Pennines Woodland Route and Grimsby and Immingham Tramway.
Trains – The Story of the Railway Revolution by Dorling Kindersly. This book features over 350 Locomotives from steam’s earliest days in the 1800’s, when pioneers like Richard Trevithick and George Stephenson experimented with steam and developed the first passenger carrying Railway – The Stockton and Darlington, from the Rainhill Trials and led the world in Steam Train design, before exporting their invention worldwide and rapidly expanding the railways influence worldwide, inEurope, Asia and America, inspiring many world pioneers to experiment and develop railways further, including Isambard Kingdom Brunel, who came up with many innovations to improve all aspects of train travel, making it a faster, safer and more efficient method of Mass Transport and some even began using it underground.
The book also looks at some of the incredible feats of engineering undertaken during this age including trans continental railways, stretching thousands of miles, tunnels, bridges, cuttings and viaducts which were constructed to enable trains to run more directly as well as the infrastructure that grew up around locomotives, like the grandiose architecture used at stations, hotels, signal boxes and engine sheds. The glamourous side of passenger train travel during the 1930’s is mentioned, an age of speed and style when rail companies went to extraordinary measures to provide the fastest most luxurious locomotives.
The book also examines the important role played by railways in times of war And looks at The important role trains play in moving large amounts of freight and goods during war-time and in peace time, and shows how technological advances over the years led away from steam, in preference of diesel and electricity as more desirable forms of motive power. THe development of high speed mass transit like the Intercity 125, Advanced Passenger Train, Shinkansen bullet Trains, SNCF TGV and Eurostar are also mentioned as are Trans-continental railways like AMTRAK, for long distances as well as urban diesels, elevated railways, trams and electric railways. The future of railways is also examined and how modern innovations are helping to shape today’s and future railways.