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By Ian Sixsmith
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In October 1993 Dennis Lovett was seconded by InterCity to work part time on the North London Line Modernisation Project as Communications Manager, joining the project team full-time when InterCity headquarters closed in March 1994. He suddenly found himself working on a piece of railway about which he knew very little and soon discovered that this was a line with a very complex history indeed. He found throughout his railway public affairs career that it was important to read up on lines such as this, in order to have the answers, so that when journalists and others asked the questions, he either knew the answer or where to find it in the quickest possible time!
By Allan C Baker
A secondary line wandering through rolling countryside bordered by brooding hills; obscure to modern minds but a substantial double track railway nonetheless, curving and twisting through the pleasant, rural, Alyn and Wheeler valleys, linking the Welsh county towns of Flintshire and Denbighshire with North West England. The Denbigh line was very good, they said, but too good to last. Like so many, it certainly was.
A complex story that begins before the Battle of Trafalgar; the canals, industries, railways, political and commercial struggles and rivalries of this little known but fascinating corner of a little known but fascinating county, Staffordshire.
Due to a manufacturing error, the final 300 copies of this book have a slight fault on the spine. A small amount of bubbleing occurs under the lamination which is almost undetectable. However, Irwell Press apologises for this error but should customers still like to purchase a copy we are discounting the published price by £1.
Since the first one was published in 1997 The Book Of series of locomotive studies has developed into something of a library devoted to more and more of the principal BR steam classes. A number of titles have sold out over and over, and have been reprinted or are in the process of being reprinted.
The thirty years of the Kirtley era, 1844-73, are a long time ago now. It was a period of rapid change and one of considerable complexity for the historian. Many of the earlier engines did not have long lives, but those built in the last ten years, with a few exceptions, were very long-lived. Their sturdy construction and ready adaptability to accept later and larger boilers resulted in examples of both passenger and goods engines still in use after the Second World War. In this way the more senior members of our enthusiast fraternity have a ready recollection of these ancient engines and form a link with those early days long gone. Indeed, nobody was Anybody in the late 1940s if they had not been to Bournville to see the last of the double frame 0-6-0s gathered there. No.22834 was the ultimate icon. With Johnson pattern boiler, the cab displaying a brass class 1 power class numeral and that amazing horseshoe tank layout of its tender, it was, even in those days, held in some awe as a relic of the distant past. The fact that the Ian Allan ABC said it was class 2 (which was true) and that its tender plate bore the date 1867 (the book said introduced 1868) only increased the fascination. Such little items formed the stimulus for research to sort it out, ultimately to result in this volume.
The history of Carlisle as a major railway centre has been well documented over the years, the seven different railway companies that served the city prior to the 1923 Grouping leaving a legacy that lasted well into the 1960s. This book, although not intended to give an historical account of the subject, provides a photographic record from 1951 until the demise of steam operations in the city on 31st December 1967. It also includes a look at two of the lines with summits most associated with Carlisle, Shap and Ais Gill, both of which saw steam activities end on the same date.
Crewe. What thoughts this name conjures up in the enthusiast mind: Oh Mr Porter what can I do, I wanted to go to Birmingham and they took me on to Crewe. Alan Bakers associations with this railway Mecca go back well into childhood days. He lived in Newcastle-under-Lyme and his Dad used to take him there on Saturday mornings, by train of course, from his local station at Etruria, for a mornings train spotting. He bought him his first Ian Allan ABC at the bookstall on the old Platform 5, the 1955 56 Winter Edition for the London Midland Region, and he has it still. The life and times of a railwayman at Crewe explained and illustrated in exquisite detail.
Open up the layers of this chocolate box and you might even have George Lazonby leaving his Milk Tray for you. Not only chocolates on offer but the Bournville railway story and a fascinating tale it is too.