One effect of lockdown was to send me online in search of second hand books. The result is that I have a great selection of summer reading. Some I’ve read already, others I’ve dipped into.
The Eskdale Railway is sub-titled ‘A pictorial History’ and I’d expected a pictue book but in fact there’s an interesting history of the line covering the original railway, the granite mines and the preserved 15 inch line. Unsurprisingly, there are lots of pictures, including one from 1924 with some very well dressed ladies riding in Theakston granite wagons. You wouldn’t see that today!
Locomotives of the RH&DR is a very good read with detailed chapters on the original locos, running and performance and overhauling locos. There’s even a chapter on ‘Superheating on the RHDR’ – perhaps not a good topic for a hot summer day. The pictures are well chosen too. From the original locos under construction at Davey Paxman; through photos of machined axle boxes, cylinders and bogies; to an absolutely georgeous picture of the newly delivered ‘Canadian’ pacific No.9 with Vanderbilt tender (wow!).
I’ve seen some criticism of Miniature Railways Volume 1 -15 inch Gauge on miniature railway sites. I spotted one or two errors in the text (perhaps this is why people criticise it) but it’s redemption must be the pictures. There are images of ‘Little Giant’ being built in 1905; a lovely manufaturer’s catalogue shot of a Bassett-Lowke four wheel passenger coach with canopy; and an image of the derelict Little Giant ‘King George the Fifth’ loco in 1965. (Fear not dear reader, it was restored).
The surprise of the pack is Miniature Railways by Robin Butterell. Published in 1966 it has a short a description of each of the miniature railways that existed in the UK at that time. There are lines run by local authorities and even a line run by a bus company. Many of the lines have been lost but equally interesting is that a number of railways have emerged after the book was published (WWLR, KLR, BVR…) showing the miniature railway scene is dynamic and constantly changing. I enjoyed seeing photos of lines I’ve visited and realising how much they’ve changed. Plus there are photos of Riter Mite under construction for the R&ER, and a lovely photo of the new electric railcar ‘Amber Arrow’ at Longleat. There’s even a publicity shot from TV series ‘The Avengers’ with Diana Rigg being rescued by Patrick Macnee on the Stapleford Miniature Railway – classic!
Summer’s a time for relaxing and enjoying yourself. With these books I’m doing both.