|Railway Books, Steam Train Books from Irwell Press|
Welcome to Irwell Press
We distribute a wide range of high quality railway books, from those covering the main lines of Britains railway network to highly detailed locomotive histories. We have a growing list of industrial railway books and a popular series of colour books which have recently been expanded to include buses. If you cannot find the book you are looking for then please check our forthcoming books section, or alternatively give us a call on 01525 861 888 and we will be happy to help.
This months news
The nights are drawing in... There are chills in the air.. as we settle into Autumn with Christmas just over the horizon. Cheerily, lockdown is now way behind us (HOORAY!) but the covid19 spectre still lurks (BOO!)...But not to worry... Yet again we have waved our magic wand and the autumnal blues can be banished! Why not settlle down with one or more of the new books from Irwell Press! A treat for everyone!!!
|So watch this space for many more exciting new book releases arriving from Irwell Press! ..Meanwhile.. have fun, but STAY SAFE AND DON'T GIVE THE COVID19 BUG CHANCE TO BITE :-) :-DBest wishes, George ReeveLast updated 07/10/2021|
LSWRInterested in the London and South Western Railway? Join our Twitter feed here and take part in discussion on both the prototype and modelling issues. LONDON SOUTH WESTERN CIRCLE
29th.April 2020 - IMPORTANT CORONOVIRUS UPDATE: As the coronavirus outbreak continues, we all face the difficult challenge of responding to the impact it is having on our lives. We at Irwell Press realise that visiting retail outlets to purchase books is extremely difficult and will be for some time. In response to this crisis, Irwell Press are offering all UK customers a POST FREE service until further notice. We have updated our website to allow for this. If you are in the UK and our website shows a P&P charge for your order then we will manually remove the P&P charge. You will not be charged for the P&P. We wish you all the very best of health for the future.
New Books from Irwell Press
Diesel Dawn 4: Diesel Multiple Units - A Pictorial Observation
This account is intended to give an overview of the types of first-generation Diesel Multiple Unit (DMU) trains and railbuses that could be seen on BR from the 1950s to the 1980s. Their widespread introduction across the country came to be one of the great pillars of the Modernisation of Britains railways throughout the 1950s and 1960s. Put into service in a number of schemes (each scheme covering part of the country) the new trains bright, shiny and modern with wonderful panoramic views replaced thousands of steam engines. For decades they dominated the railway passenger scene, becoming so commonplace as to go almost unnoticed as memories of steam faded.
The first generation Diesel Multiple Units were descended from the pioneering work of the Great Western Railway between the wars which, in conjunction with the firm AEC, introduced a fleet of railcars. The first BR DMUs had entered service in 1954 and took the operating scene by storm. Their rapid construction and deployment was driven by an attempt not only to modernise but to reduce operating costs.
Outside contractors, as well as BRs own works at Derby and Swindon, were heavily involved in building DMUs, often being given a degree of freedom in their design and appearance. This led to a proliferation of types, including some that proved unreliable or difficult to maintain. It all added to the fascination of these new trains.
In addition to branch line and secondary workings, DMUs found themselves employed on intensively-worked suburban routes that were not electrified, such as those from Kings Cross, Paddington and St Pancras in London, around Birmingham and in the South Wales Valleys, as well as on some Inter-City routes such as between Edinburgh and Glasgow and across the Pennines. find out more
The Somerset & Dorset Railway - Bath to Bournemouth
The Main Line & Branches.
If ever a line could be called an evergreen favourite it is the Somerset & Dorset
, so quintessentially English in its achingly beautiful settings, its charming stations and the blasting hill climbing efforts of its steam locomotives. All of it unsullied by diesels right up to its final demise in 1966.
It was a line like no other, by turns a dozing branch, by turns a main line with double headed named expresses running the length of the country. It is no wonder that so many volumes have been devoted to it though it has probably never been covered photographically to this extent, in the detail of its buildings and track getting on for 600 photographs reveal the intricacies and grandeur of the line as never before, together with finely drawn diagrams of every station, yard and junction.
The author worked on the footplate on the Southern Region in the South West and the S&D has been close to his heart ever since. The plans are an especially useful feature: Up is Broadstone to Bath and Evercreech Junction to Highbridge, Down is Bath to Broadstone and Highbridge to Evercreech Junction. Pause for breath... Down S&D trains from Broadstone to Bournemouth became Up trains on the Southern. S&D trains were Down leaving Bournemouth West until reaching Broadstone upon which they became Up on joining the S&D!
As we say, it was a line like no other!find out more
T.E. WILLIAMS: The Lost Colour Collection Volume 4
This concluding volume in the series casts an even wider net across Tom Williams' unique body of colour work captured between 1954 and 1964. Predictably, there are the inevitable shots of Kings attacking Hatton Bank, Tom's favourite local vantage point, plus a variety of other favoured locations throughout the counties surrounding his native Warwickshire, but there are also windows into his travels far and wide.
Visits, for example, to the ex-Somerset & Dorset Joint Railway
, the East Coast Main Line
and of course, the seductive but challenging contours of North Devo
n. A proportion of the most iconic images included have been selected, not just for their documentary, historic importance, but also for their intrinsic artistic qualities: many evoking a tangible sense of 'being there'.
Nevertheless, as with the previous volumes, the emphasis remains firmly on presenting detailed, high quality full-page colour plates, accompanied by as much comprehensive supporting information as possible.find out more
The Book of the Stanier Three Cylinder 2-6-4Ts 42500-42536
The LMS employed innumerable 2-6-4Ts, evolving from parallel boiler Fowler engines through updated Stanier taper boiler versions through to Fairburns final development. Between them they amounted to over 600 in total.
The first Stanier engines were wholly different in having three cylinders; moreover they were (most unusually) restricted to one particular stretch of line. Apart from the war years when they were all temporarily transferred away, they could always be found working passenger services over the former London Tilbury & Southend system from Fenchurch Street to Southend and Shoeburyness, until ousted by electrification in 1962.
As the information board alongside the preserved 2500 in the National Railway Museum at York pronounces: Possibly the finest suburban tank engines that ran in this country. find out more
The Book of the STANIER 8F 2-8-0s Part 3: From Crewe to Swindon via Horwich Nos.48301-48439
Latest in the longstanding Book Of series, in FIVE PARTS to adequately cover the vast number of locomotives involved.
In this third part are the locomotives that formed the first tranche of the 8Fs as a British War Locomotive built at various works to Government edict. As the title indicates and as might be expected, they were built by the LMS but the first Swindon examples also began to emerge, from 8400 onwards.
Part One detailed those 8Fs built by/for the LMS for its own use 8000-8125 in the 1930s with no thought then of them becoming a British war locomotive though indeed some did go abroad.
Part Two concerns firstly those engines built by Crewe and North British for the LMS, 8126-8225 which never went abroad and secondly the locos built at Ministry of Supply/War Department behest and loaned to the LMS/GWR, 8226-8297.
The life, times and adventures of each (sometimes quite exotic in the case of the latter) is recorded under the individual loco, as with previous Books Of...find out more
The Western Way
A personal colour odyssey by an author captivated by steam, like most of us, at an early, highly impressionable age and in his case the introduction was grander than most the Royal Train passing through Henley-in-Arden in April 1950 headed, memorably by two Castles.
The inevitable induction into the local band of spotters followed, then trips by bicycle to nearby main lines at Hatton and Honeybourne and finally steam tours as pocket money came to be bolstered by Saturday and school holiday jobs.
Sympathetic parents helped, as a lively text reveals: "I recall an occasion when I was in Bristol with my mother for some reason I cannot now remember but I badgered her to let me visit Bath Road engine shed. I must have been about twelve and the foreman arranged for someone to show me round but told my mother that it was considered to be bad luck for women to be in the shed. Whether or not this was a joke, she sat in the mess nursing a mug of enginemans tea while I noted down the numbers of the sixty or so locomotives present. It was her one and only shed visit!"
Subsequent maturity and possession of a decent camera allowed a rich harvest of colour portraits of many aspects of Western Region steam working in the 1960s, from filthy lumbering 2-8-0s, to fussing pannier tanks and gleaming Kings and Castles.find out more
The Book of the IVATT CLASS 2 2-6-0s
By John Jennison -
As the LMS Press Release explained at the time, the newest LMS 2-6-0s, though of small size and light weight, incorporated every modern development which has been found successful on the larger main line types. They had self-cleaning smokeboxes, manganese steel axlebox liners, rocking grates and hopper ashpans. Externally, the high running plate and outside cylinders contrasted with the rather ancient looking large diameter chimney. The tender cab and inset tanks were designed for tender-first operation.
The Class 2 moguls and the contemporaneous Class 2 2-6-2Ts were amongst the last new LMS designs and although intended for secondary duties, they incorporated (just like the Press Release said!) all of the refinements developed over the previous decade and honed by Ivatt on his post-war Black Fives. The two classes were designed together, sharing as many components as possible, using the same boiler, and they were very much complementary.
The Book of the Ivatt Class 2 2-6-0s as youd expect follows the series customary format; detailed essay as to provenance, development, historical content, tables of works histories and allocations, photographs of every loco. find out more
The Book of the IVATT CLASS 2 2-6-2Ts
By John Jennison -
The Ivatt Class 2 tanks and moguls were amongst the last new LMS designs and although intended for secondary duties to replace a variety of ancient pre-grouping specimens, they incorporated all of the refinements developed over the previous decade and honed by Ivatt on his post-war Black Fives.
The two classes were developed together, using the same boiler, sharing as many components as possible and they were very much complementary. Operationally, they worked mostly in different areas and on different duties and hence the story of the tender version is covered separately in the Book of the Ivatt 2-6-0s.
There was no class that was so immediately and universally accepted by enginemen. Not only did they welcome both the tender and tank versions with open arms, "they worshipped the very rails they stood on".
The 2-6-2Ts were really the last small tank locomotive designed for Britains railways; the BR Standard Class 2 in the 84000 series being merely a slightly modified version. Their light axle loading meant that they could go almost anywhere on the system and they certainly did that. They operated throughout the Southern Region, from Kent to Cornwall, as well as almost everywhere on their native LMS; the only area where they did not work at all was Scotland.
Complements the immediately preceding Book of the Ivatt 2-6-0s.find out more
A Celebration of LMS Coronation Pacifics
By John Jennison -
The first in a series which has but a simple aim, that is to use top quality photographs reproduced at the largest possible size to celebrate some of the best-loved steam classes. Full-page shots are presented in a landscape format and are backed up by comprehensive captions.
What better place to start then than the Stanier Coronation Pacifics of the LMS? The emphasis throughout is on the engines in service and the book has been arranged in chapters in chronological order starting with the four main variations of the class as built, followed by the post-war de-streamlined engines.
The final three chapters show the Coronations at work in the 1950s and 1960s on each of the principal routes where they were used, ending with the final few months of 1964.
All engines in the class are covered at least once. The pictures have been selected from the collections of Rail-Online and Brian Stephensons Rail Archive Stephenson and include many taken by Jim Carter and Bill Anderson. Jim was a railwayman based at Patricroft which gave him access to locations in the north west not available to other photographers. Bill Anderson took some of the finest pictures ever taken in this country as the engines worked over Shap and Beattock.find out more
A Celebration of Gresley A1 and A3 Pacifics
Second in a series which has but a simple aim, to use top quality photographs reproduced at the largest possible size to celebrate some of the best-loved steam classes. Full-page shots are presented in a landscape format and are backed up by comprehensive captions.
A class first emerging from Doncaster Works in 1922, the non-streamlined Pacifics were the LNERs principal express passenger engines for more than a decade. The design underwent continuous development during its early years, particularly the introduction of long-travel valve gear and higher pressure boilers in the transformation from A1 to A3 class. Although put into the shade from the mid-1930s by the streamlined A4s they remained the backbone of the LNER passenger fleet, but were ousted from many of their former duties after the second World war as new Thompson and Peppercorn Pacifics were built. However, the A3s were to enjoy a real Indian Summer from the late 1950s, their performance transformed by the fitting of Kylchap double chimneys.find out more
Diesel Dawn 2. The Swindon Warships D800-D832, D866-D870
Available from the publisher or selected W H Smith, Sainsburys, Tescos, Asda and Waitrose High Street shops.
Second in a series to record in colour and black and white the prototype origins and production lives of the first British Railways diesel locomotives, from halting beginnings in the 1950s to (sometimes) premature ends. The introductory pages cover the conception, design and construction in the 1950s and are necessarily in black and white. The remainder of the volume illustrates the locomotives throughout their subsequent working lives through to the 1970s, in colour. Comprehensive text, extensive captions, technical data, life histories throughout.
None of the many 'Diesel Dawns' of our times has been investigated, evaluated, celebrated, excoriated, praised and derided, more comprehensively in (often) more partisan ways, than that of the Western Region diesel hydraulics. The startling first impression these Swindon Warships made when they burst upon a steam-dominated railway in 1958 can hardly be exaggerated. Powerful, fast and above all lightweight, THIS
was the Type 4 that the Western Region had wanted and fought so hard to get. Sparkling clean, in an elegant livery with stirring red and silver nameplates, they were glamorous, mysterious even, with that striking sloping front and subtle curves, unhindered by design clutter.
This second Diesel Dawn deals with the thirty-eight Warships built from 1958. The North British version which came a couple of years later involved a different story altogether, to be related in Diesel Dawn No.3..find out more
Main Line to The South - Part 1: Basingstoke to St.Cross (Winchester)
The Southern Railway Route between BASINGSTOKE, WINCHESTER, EASTLEIGH and SOUTHAMPTON. Part 1 Basingstoke to St.Cross
By John Nicholas and George Reeve -
The London and Southampton Railway opened its line in 1840 and was the first major railway in the south of England. Engineer Joseph Locke, and contractor Thomas Brassey, completed the last part of the line from Basingstoke to Winchester through the chalk downs to the summit at Litchfield Tunnel.
The easy grades of the line were only achieved by involving some heavy civil engineering work, high embankments, deep cuttings and numerous tunnels. Traffic grew steadily, particularly goods, to and from the expanding Southampton Docks and boat trains ran in connection with the ocean liner traffic.
Southampton developed into the principal port for military traffic to the Empire and the line played a major role in the supply of men and materials for the Boer, First and Second World Wars. The line achieved something of a legendary status in the 1960s being the last steam worked main line in England until its electrification in July 1967.
Today the line between Basingstoke and Southampton carries not only heavy passenger traffic but, with the recent demise of coal traffic elsewhere, some of the nations heaviest freight traffic with containers from Southampton Docks. Part One covers the line between Basingstoke and Winchester Part Two deals with the line through Eastleigh, including the works, to Shawford Junction. Part Three completes the story to Southampton covering St.Denys, Northam, Southampton Terminus and Central.
find out more