Category Archives: Book Reviews

Two new Southern Railway publications: “Alfred Raworth’s Electric Southern Railway” and “Southern Times”

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A comprehensive and informative read, that contains a wealth of previously unpublished information interspersed with a number of both black and colour photographs, illustrations and drawings.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.

Smoke & Steam, new quarterly ‘bookazine’ includes a number of Southern related articles

A brand new quarterly ‘bookazine’ from Warners called ‘Smoke & Steam’ is published on 30th April.  It features some of the most famous – and not so famous – routes, featuring locomotive legends. With in-depth articles, including a few Southern related, explaining some of the most important moments of Britain’s railway history from a variety of eras and regions, accompanied by rare or never-before printed photography.

The contents include:

  • Following the Flagman – Dover’s seafront railway – Paul Isles
  • Forgotten Railways – The Peak District mainline – Graham Nicholas
  • Iconic stations: Exploring Salisbury – Graham Muspratt
  • Travelling in style: The Cornish Riviera Express – Adrian Vaughan
  • Mallard: A Pictorial Journey – Tony Wright
  • Semaphore Signalling – Why the GWR was different – Mike Romans
  • There’s only one Edinburgh Waverley – Ian Lamb
  • Restoring an SR Merchant Navy – Graham Muspratt
  • Goods locomotives of Buckingham – Tony Gee
  • Moving Into BR – the GWR becomes the Western Region  – Mike Romans
  • Modelling coal and how to weather a locomotive – Phil Parker

Available digitally or on high-quality paper, Smoke & Steam should make an ideal coffee table companion.

It will be on sale from 30th April – you can pre-order your copy here. Initially, this bookazine will only be available mail order, but once things start to return to normal in the news trade, it should be appearing in good newsagents.

Despite including my articles, having had the opportunity to review some of the excellent other contributors articles from which I have already learnt new things (everyday is a school day) I think it will be a cracking publication.

 

The next Steam’s Lament book from Strathwood Books Merchant Navys, Q1, Leader and other works

Following on from the excellent Steam’s Lament – Bulleid’s Light Pacifics is the next title provided to me by my friends at Strathwood Publishing being Steam’s Lament – Bulleid’s Merchant Navy, Q1, Leader and Other Works .  This follows the same wide landscape format and contains 208 pages often with multiple black and white photographs per page along with well researched and informative captions.

Steam’s Lament – Bulleid’s Merchant Navy, Q1, Leader and Other Works features every one of the Merchant Navy Pacifics in both original and rebuilt condition, together with a photograph of every one of the forty Q1s and all three of the Leaders that were built. Also included are some of Bulleid’s other works including his diesel & electric locomotive designs.

The photographs are from a number of sources such as: Colour Rail, Rail photoprints ,  Anistr.com,  Rail-Online.com and the Transport Treasury so will not be new to many of us, there are also a number of photographs from other sources such as Strathwood‘s own library, that are not so familiar and many that I have not seen before. The selection of photographs covers details and variation in liveries and naming and shows the locomotives in action, on shed and in close up. The benefit is that the they are all nicely reproduced in the one book and at a good size afforded by the wide landscape format.

It is of course good to see pictures of my favourite Merchant Navys 21c6/35006  ‘Peninsular & Oriental SN Co’ and 21c11/35011 ‘General Steam Navigation’ included with again some images new to me.

As well as the Leader, the book includes a few examples of: Bulleid’s drafting improvements with Lemaitre multiple-jet blast pipes and their associated large diameter chimneys, his 500hp 0-6-0 shunter 11001, the 350hp 0-6-0 shunters, the 10201-3 main line diesels and also the Bulleid/Raworth electric locos 20001-3.

By covering each locomotive in turn and including images from different periods of their working life it provides a great reference for railway historians and modellers alike, a welcome addition to my library and wholeheartedly recommended.

 

Two new titles from Strathwood Books for Light Pacific and EMU enthusiasts

Two new books recently published and provided to me by my friends at Strathwood Publishing are Southern Lament – Bulleid’s Light Pacifics and Southern Electrics Scrapbook Volume II.  These wide landscape format books contain 208 and 176 pages respectively often with multiple black and white photographs per page along with well researched and informative captions.

The first book, Southern Lament – Bulleid’s Light Pacifics features each of the 110 Bulleid Light Pacifics in turn covering them in both original and where relevant rebuilt form. The photographs are from a number of sources such as: Colour Rail, Rail photoprints  and the Transport Treasury so will not be new to many of us, there are also a number of photographs from other sources such as Strathwood‘s own library, that are not so familiar and many that I have not seen before. They are all nicely reproduced and at a good size afforded by the wide landscape format.
By covering each locomotive in turn and including images from different periods of their working life it provides a great reference for railway historians and modellers alike.
It was good to see the number of detail variations and differences in liveries included and well highlighted within the captions. The differences in liveries and lettering styles around the time of nationalisation is a particular interest of mine and gives further food for thought for some future models. I particularly liked the image of 34036 having been renumbered but still in malachite but with a large early British Railways emblem on the tender one of only four to have that particular combination. I certainly recommend this book to any Bulleid enthusiast.

The second book Southern Electrics Scrapbook Volume II is another new selection of excellent photographs to compliment all of the previous volumes detailing the Southern Region’s fleet of EMUs,  Different chapters cover topics such as: Blue is the colour, Kent Coast electrics inside and out, Snow worries, Passing the box, Everyday service, Towards push & pull on the Bournemouth line,  and Specials.
As with the Southern Lament book some of the photographs being from sources such as: Colour Rail, Brian Stephenson and Anistr.com might be familiar to some however a large number are from other collections and were certainly new to me.
All the photographs include informative and detailed captions from David Brown the renowned author on all matters Southern Electric.
Obviously the majority of the photographs cover the variety of Electric Multiple units ranging from the: 1940 Waterloo and City stock, early variety of 4-Subs, 2-Nols, 2-Hals , 2-Bils, 4-Cors, 6-Pan, 6-Pul and Brighton Belles through to the BR built MK1 based units.  The book doesn’t forget the locomotive scene either with classes 71, 73 and, of particular interest to me at the moment, the Bulleid Raworth booster electric locomotives.
Not all the images actually include an EMU or locomotive but include the infrastructure of the time and along with many of the photographs allowing the eye to be drawn away from the main subject the combination of details and entire scenes within the photographs will assist modellers of the period and give or take a few years as well.

Both these Strathwood Publishing books are well worth a read regardless of your particular direct interest as they include a variety of information and inspiration across a wide range of areas.