|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 Month's News
Summer is now upon us with its long days (HOORAY!). The Queen's Platinum Jubilee (a major historical event) celebrations are now behind us and will be followed by Commonwealth Games in Birmingham! Plus the Covid-19 pandemic restrictions have gone at last (HOORAY, HOORAY!) as we learn to live with it (that particular spectre still lurks though (BOO!)).
But, but, but....despite all these to-ings and fro-ings we have still managed to wave our magic Irwell fireiron, put yet more coal in the firebox, open the regulator further, wind back the reverser and more eagerly awaited books from Irwell press are due to arrive very soon. And you can be pre-ordered now! In the meantime why not settle down with one or more of the other new books from Irwell Press! A treat for everyone!!!
|So watch this space for many more exciting new book releases arriving from Irwell Press!|
OVERSEAS POST & PACKING: First the BAD NEWS...recent new worldwide customs regulations plus the increase in postal charges have made it very difficult to actually sell to customers in European countries and some countries elsewhere.. Therefore our ordering system will prevent you from placing an order. Now the GOOD NEWS.. we still allow customers in Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the USA to place orders. However, post COVID-19, the cost of "shipping" to those countries is constantly changing, sometimes on a daily basis. This is why we now can't use a fixed "shipping" charge like we used to. Instead we work it out on the day we dispatch. So please place your order but ignore the post & packing calculation! We will then contact you to sort it out :-)
|..Meanwhile.. have fun, but STAY SAFE AND DON'T GIVE THE COVID19 BUG CHANCE TO BITE!! :-DBest wishes, George ReeveLast updated 22/06/2022|
LSWRInterested in the London and South Western Railway? Visit the LONDON SOUTH WESTERN CIRCLE. Plus join our Twitter feed here and take part in discussion on both the prototype and modelling issues.
New Books from Irwell Press
Diesel Dawn 6: Brush Type 2s D5500-D5699, D5800-D5862
No.6 in the DIESEL DAWN series, describing the 263 locomotives built by the firm Brush Ltd of Loughborough from 1957. This series sets out to record in colour and black and white the prototype origins and production lives of the main line diesel locomotives introduced during the 'Great Modernisation' undertaken on British Railways from the late 1950s through to the 1960s, eliminating steam power in the process.
One of the main pillars of the new diesel fleet came in the form of the Brush company's diesel locomotive for mixed traffic work, the 'Type 2' referring to the power rating of their engines 1,250hp. The name 'Brush' it has to said is less than stirring after the fashion, say, of 'Deltics' or 'Warships' but an entire swath of British Railways, the Eastern Region, relied very heavily upon them for all manner of freight and passenger work; they were even suited to country branches in the wilds of East Anglia.
In later years they were used much more widely, from the West Country to the far north of England. They were also long-lived, unlike many of their contemporaries that appeared in the 'Diesel Dawn' of the 1950s and 1960s; the last was only withdrawn from service in 2017. find out more
Main Line to The South - Part 2: St.Cross (Winchester) to Eastleigh and Swaythling
The London and Southampton Railway opened its line in 1840, the first major railway in the south of England soon to become the London & South Western Railway and eventually in 1923 the Southern Railway. Part 1 was concerned with the line from Basingstoke to Winchester. Continuing our jornney, Part Two describes the line through to Eastleigh and beyond to Swathling.
Once again, we cover in great detail all facets of the construction, opening and operation of the line over the many decades with our usual extensive use of maps, plans and diagrams. Every archive, contemporary account or historical description has been thoroughly investigated in depth and presented as part of the narrative.
A central pillar of Part Two is inevitably the great and continuingly important operating centre at Eastleigh, including the Carriage and Wagon Works, the Locomotive Works and the vast locomotive running shed.
The line gathered frenzied interest in the 1960s as 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 demise of coal traffic elsewhere, some of the nations heaviest freight traffic, in the shape of containers from Southampton Docks.
Part Three will complete the story to Southampton itself; the stations at Terminus and Central. find out more
A Celebration of LNER Gresley A4 Pacifics
The fifth in a series with the simple old fashioned aim to showcase top quality photographs reproduced at the largest possible size, in order to celebrate some of the best-loved steam classes. Full-page shots are presented in a landscape format and come with comprehensive captions. The emphasis throughout is on the engines in service and the book has been arranged in chapters in chronological order starting with the batches of the class as built. The final five chapters show the engines at work from 1935 onwards on the principal routes where they were used. All engines in the class are covered at least once.
When the LNER decided to introduce a high-speed service between London and Newcastle, the public had no inkling of what would appear in September 1935. More engines were built for additional streamlined services and also for general express work, but they will always be noted for their high-speed exploits culminating in MALLARDs world record in 1938.
After the Second World War, the A4s took some years to regain at least some of their pre-war brilliance, but they enjoyed a final few years at the top after they were all fitted with Kylchap double chimneys in the late 1950s. They even had a final fling in Scotland working expresses between Glasgow and Aberdeen from 1964 until 1966.
The pictures have been selected mainly from Brian Stephensons Rail Archive Stephenson with the remainder from Rail-Online. find out more
Diesel Dawn 5: Chasing Diesels
Increasing affluence and a second-hand car allowed the author a geographical range previously denied to him and with various pals he embarked in the 1970s and 1980s on a number of expeditions to various parts of the country, to photograph diesel locomotives, then still running in abundant numbers and variety.
There were busy main line centres to be explored York, Doncaster, Crewe and the rest but also obscure corners that could only be found by recourse to maps, sometimes inquiring of locals with barely understandable dialects, something after the fashion of Victorian explorers. Nowadays there are very few locomotives at work in this country and computer apps enable anyone to locate their whereabouts as easily as those actually responsible for operating them something of course unimaginable back in the 1970s.
Back then there were still considerable numbers of locomotives working major traffic flows across the country most notably coal and steel on a scale undreamed of today. Diesel locomotives on freight traffic ran more often than not at night so had to be tracked down in their daytime lairs, at depots often located in out of the way places.
hen there was the problem of entry which could normally be negotiated with sympathetic staff in an age less concerned with health & safety, legal liabilities, terrorism and the like. There follows a tale of chasing what was then a huge variety of locomotive types in unsung, unknown corners of the kingdom, bump-starting successive wheezing cars, unsavoury B&B establishments and the more benign forms of trespass. A rollicking tale of an altogether more innocent railway age. find out more
The Book of the STANIER 8F 2-8-0s Part 4: Swindon, the LNER and the Southern Nos.4844-48633
Latest in the longstanding Book Of series, in FIVE PARTS to adequately cover the vast number of locomotives involved.
In this fourth part are the rest of the locomotives turned out by the Great Western at Swindon and those appearing from the Southern and the LNER.
The Story So Far:
- Part 1: Pre-War Engines 48000-48125
- Part 2: Wartime Engines 48126-48297
- Part 3: Crewe to Swindon via Horwich 48301-48439
- Part 4: Swindon, the LNER and the Southern 48440-48633
- Part 3: Crewe to Swindon via Horwich 48301-48439
- (Part 5 to be concluded)
All the usual works histories and allocations are here for every loco; liveries and tender varieties, experimental episodes and every other facet of these mightily impressive 2-8-0s, which survived to the very last days of BR steam.find out more
The Joy of the Jinties: The 3F 0-6-0Ts of the LMS and BR, 1924-1967 Part 1: 47260-47339
The well known LMS Jinty 0-6-0Ts originally known as the standard shunting tanks came to number over 400, built over the years 1924-1931. The origin of the name is subject to various theories but in effect is lost in antiquity. The Tri-ang model of a Jinty, the famous 47606, was one of the best selling OO scale toy/models of all time and was often the first engine encountered by small boys who went on to enthuse over locomotives and railways for the rest of their lives.
The new Jinties flooded across the LMS and through to the middle 1960s could be found labouring daily the length of the land; pilots at the great stations, from Euston to New Street to Preston to Carlisle, or pottering in remote sidings. There was an endless variety of trip workings and local freights, ambling the length of a branch or collecting and delivering wagons to a series of outlying yards. They long survived the onset of diesel shunters and were only finally extinguished in 1967.
Lest the Jinty be remembered only as a shunter it can be noted that plenty of passenger work came their way at first. Easily the most remarkable was their employment on GN suburban workings including the main line, cheek by jowl with racing Gresley Pacifics.
A particular sphere of working the Jinties made their own was the transfer freight, a Victorian mode of working lasting effectively to the end of steam; every city abounded in the work, from London to Glasgow, with Carlisle being a particularly glorious, example.
A Jinty truly was a Joy. find out more
London Midland and Scottish Way - LMS Steam in the Sixties
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.
I lived in Stratford-upon-Avon at the time the photographs in this book were taken and there were London Midland Region main line strongholds within very easy reach. My father worked in Birmingham and I would sometimes spend a day at New Street station which was still divided by Queens Drive between the ex-LNWR and Midland Railway platforms before it was modernised. I was particularly fascinated by the Harborne Branch which was worked at the time by Johnson Midland Railway 2F 0-6-0s from Monument Lane shed. There were also visits to local Midland Region sheds, Saltley, Aston, Monument Lane, Bescot and Bushbury, as well as, in retrospect, logistically quite complicated trips. I recently found details of one of them, on Sunday 14 June 1959, when I visited Nuneaton, Stafford, Stoke, Alsager, Uttoxeter and Burton. Phew!
Third in a series; previous volumes are:
find out more
- Way Down South
- Western Way
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
Diesel Dawn 3. The North British Warships D600-D604, D833-D865
Third 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 various Warships were the first. British Railways Western Region built their own at Swindon (Diesel Dawn 2) and the venerable British private locomotive firm North British of Glasgow built the rest. The firm was responsible for two types, in fact, the earlier, heavy twelve wheel D600s (only five of these, to considerable relief in some quarters) which a BR Board largely foisted on the Western Region and thirty-three more in the D800 series which were more or less indistinguishable from the earlier Swindon locomotives detailed in Diesel Dawn 2. These North British D833-D865) Warships worked turn and turn about with their Swindon brethren on express passenger trains and then freights throughout the 1960s untill their somewhat premature withdrawal in the early 1970s.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
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