Railways (Amazing and Extraordinary Facts) by Julian Holland
|Railways (Amazing and Extraordinary Facts) by Julian Holland|
|Reviewer: John Lloyd|
|Summary: This unfortunately does not offer the superior, easily-browsed qualities of the similar books in this series; but it stands its ground among specialist titles as a result.|
|Buy? Maybe||Borrow? Maybe|
|Pages: 144||Date: November 2015|
|Publisher: Rydon Publishing|
How and when did Laurel and Hardy replace the Duke of York (George VI)? They reopened the Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway when peacetime resumed, at whose launch the latter had officiated before the War. What's the worst that can happen when you travel internationally and arrive on a London goods train with no further destination documents? Well, if you're an unidentifiable Peruvian mummy you can get buried as an unknown corpse before the invoice turns up to prove you were wanted in Belgium. After so many miles and so much drama, it's no surprise odd facts and fun trivia derive from our country's trains. This book is designed to be an ideal source of quick articles and fun mini-essays for use in the smallest room.
In the case of this book, however, that room might as well come with its own rubber button on the floor to act as flush. This is seriously one for the train fan and specialist. In detailing so many designers of trains and their engines, with no attempt at differentiating an 0-4-0 from a 4-6-2, the hobbyist will have a chance of delighting at the contents, but the average person may struggle. Here are specialist railway photographers, articles about the author's own trainspotting, and sentences such as In the years between 1932 and 1947 over 2,000 Stanier-designed locomotives were built for the LMS, using well-tried GWR features such as the tapered boiler and superheating along with Stanier's own development of the Walschaerts valve gear. Thanks for that.
So before I go out to buy a vintage platform ticket to use as bookmark, I have to declare that even with all that going on, there are still sections of this book to relish. Some sections are fun trivia, and pub quizzes will be generated on the details of the very short heritage lines so many are fascinated in to this day. You will take a lot longer going up Snaefell, let alone Snowdon, without these tourist lines. Of course Beeching is here, as is so much, both for the common reader and the professional, but the book is also an intemperate jumble, hitting on any subject with impunity – serving the browser with no idea of what's to come next, which may well be part of the fun.
In the end the book reminded me of many things I enjoy about trains and exploring the country to find the chance to use them at the other end, but equally much that just goes over my head. I'm sorry to say I skim-read some sections. Still, its reach is most admirable, from Hornby sets right up to the large gauge tracks that for ease of use were eventually retired (and why could we not have a picture to use as contrast?). For the right audience this will be delectable, but I must admit to not always being the perfect reader.
I must thank the publishers for my review copy.
The Trains Now Departed: Sixteen Excursions into the Lost Delights of Britain's Railways by Michael Williams is a eulogy for much that has been lost.
You can read more book reviews or buy Railways (Amazing and Extraordinary Facts) by Julian Holland at Amazon.co.uk.
You can read more book reviews or buy Railways (Amazing and Extraordinary Facts) by Julian Holland at Amazon.com.
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