British Steam Railways is new series of lavishly-illustrated hard backed books by DeAgostini, which chronicles the rise of Steam Power in Britain. Charting From the efforts of early pioneers like Cugnot, Richard Trevithick and George Stephenson to record breakers like 3440 City of Truro, Flying Scotsman and Mallard, through to the golden age in the 1930’s. From the formation of the BIG Four Railway companies in 1923: Great Western, London Midland Scotland, London North East and Southern Region, to The formation of British Railways in 1948 which combined the big four railway companies and introduced a new class of Standard Engines which combined the best features from all four companies, until the slow decline of steam in the 1960’s which was hastened by the Beeching Axe. This was designed to save the government money and favoured road transport and eventually banned Steam Traction outright in 1968 following the Fifteen Guineas Special in August 1968.
However there has since been a resurgence of steam thanks to a growing number of dedicated rail enthusiasts who worked on the railways and refused to let steam Engines become extinct. These pioneers were responsible for a large number of heritage Railways such as the West Somerset, North York Moors, East Lancashire, Bluebell, Great Central and Severn Valley Railway which sprang up during the 1970’s and were responsible for buying back Steam Engines from scrapyards like Dai Woodham’s in Wales.
The books also feature in depth articles on noteworthy Chief Mechanical Engineers such as sir Nigel Gresley, Charles Collett, Henry Ivatt, sir William Stanier, Thompson, Maunsell and Urie whose innovative designs helped to shape locomotive development throughout the years. Many noteworthy locomotives are featured such as LNER A4 class pacific locomotive 4468 Mallard, LNER A3 class Pacific Locomotive 4472 Flying Scotsman, LNER D49, j94 Austerities, SR PACIFIC 35028 Clan Line, GWR Hall Locomotives, Jones Goods Locomotives, Duke of Gloucester, LMS 6100 Royal Scot, lMS 6201 Princess Elizabeth, GWR 3440 City of Truro, 4771 Green Arrow, King George V, LMS 8f’s, Q1 Class.
There are also twelve DVD’s including Arfon Haines DVD Learning to Steam, these feature hours of archive steam footage, footage of preserved Steam Engines running on Heritage lines and footage from the footplate. Plus a silver plated stationmasters pocket-watch and TWO Stunning prints of LNER 4472 Flying Scotsman and LNER 4468 Mallard.