Two new publications are hitting the shelves of good purveyors of books that are worthy of any Southern Railway historian and or modeller’s reference library.
Firstly, from friends at Pen and Sword Transport is “Alfred Raworth’s Electric Southern Railway.” by Peter Steer.
There have been many books that cover and detail the history and development of the widespread and successful Southern Railway programme of electrification, built on that started by the London and South Western Railway, resulting in ‘Southern Electric’ becoming the ‘The World’s greatest suburban electrification’. Books such as GT Mooney’s Southern Electric, David Brown’s New History of Southern Electric and the South Western Circle’s The Riverside Electric by Colin Chivers, all refer to the part played the by LSWR and then SR General Manager Sir Herbert Walker and his electrical engineer Alfred Raworth.
This substantial 340 page tome, with its 25 chapters, detailing for the first time a biography of Alfred Raworth’s entire personal story and career; staring with working for his consulting engineer father John Smith Raworth, through to joining the railway, working for the LSWR and SR, the design for an electric railway, being responsible for the implementation of all its their electrification schemes, becoming Southern Railway Chief Electrical Engineer, the Southern Electric at War, the electric locomotives and Raworth’s plans for the future.
Such schemes are much more than just about rolling stock and this book also provides a look at the infrastructure required that was often hidden behind the closed walls of sub stations etc. It also looks at the business cases, innovative engineering, and politics involved in the electrification of the railways between 1918 and 1956 especially where the Southern went its own way with the use of the third rail system.
A comprehensive and informative read, that contains a wealth of previously unpublished information interspersed with a number of both black and colour photographs, illustrations and drawings. It substantially fills many gaps in the background, lifetime and work of ‘electrification genius’ Alfred Raworth. Highly recommended.
The second, is a familiar but different new periodical “Southern Times, Issue 1: Spring 2022” from Transport Treasury publishing.
Southern Times is the new quarterly periodical, edited by my friend Kevin Robertson, for followers of the Southern Railway, British Railways Southern Region, as well as the pre group companies; LSWR, SECR, LBSCR, and SECR. It is intended to be a quarterly publication.
If this sounds familiar, it will do, as it is effectively a replacement for the long established and enjoyable ‘Southern Way’ from a different publisher (whether Southern Way might continue under a new editor we will have to wait and see).
This first issue of Southern Times, follows the previous periodicals format of 80 pages of an eclectic mix of Southern related articles and images both black and white and in colour, many of which have been previously unpublished.
The great post war image of Schools class 905 in malachite at Eastleigh on the front cover must have been a late change as according the caption is Port Line leaving Victoria on the Golden Arrow in 1954!
Highlights in this issue includes: new light on the Joint LSWR/LBSC and LSWR steam railmotors, The Southern from the air, Stephen Townroe’s colour archive, David McKenna Chairman and General Manager, a photo feature on EMUs, Treasures from the Bluebell Railway Museum and more to dip into. If you were an ardent collector of the Southern Way then this latest incarnation Southern Times will be a sure winner.