"Modern Railway Working" books

Status
Not open for further replies.

Peter C

Established Member
Joined
13 Oct 2018
Messages
4,018
Location
GWR land
Hello :)
I recently obtained, through the "Free to a good home" section on RMWeb, a set of three Modern Railway Working volumes - these being Vol. 2, Vol. 5, and Vol. 6. On the inside title page of Vol. 2, it seems to list 1912 as the publishing date, and in Vol. 5 and Vol. 6, 1913 is the year given. I've done some looking into this online and it seems as though these books were published in 1912 and 1913, but that they may have been reprinted at some point. I've attached some photos of Vol. 2 - the cover and title page are the same in all of them bar the date on the latter - and I was wondering if someone might be able to give a more definitive answer.
Another question is, what were these made for? They're heavy books, and they go into an awful lot of detail about pretty much everything on the railway at the time. I understand that, given the time they were first published, it wouldn't have been odd for someone to own the full set of eight volumes and have them on a fancy bookshelf in a fancy house, but they seem more like textbooks in the information they provide than anything else.

Thanks,

-Peter
 

Attachments

  • Cover.jpeg
    Cover.jpeg
    464.6 KB · Views: 6
  • Title Page.jpeg
    Title Page.jpeg
    110.9 KB · Views: 6
  • Vol 2 5 6.jpeg
    Vol 2 5 6.jpeg
    86.9 KB · Views: 6
Sponsor Post - registered members do not see these adverts; click here to register, or click here to log in
R

RailUK Forums

Dr Hoo

Established Member
Joined
10 Nov 2015
Messages
2,657
Location
Hope Valley
I've assembled a complete set over the years, having initially been given some odd volumes during an office clearout. There seems to have been only one 'edition' (i.e. no updates) but it was re-printed as a widely-used standard set of railway text books.

Some of the detail on such obscure subjects as how to get the best spread of illumination from high-pressure gas lamps on stations is amazing.

They are definitely intended for professional reference rather than a casual read on the beach.
 

Peter C

Established Member
Joined
13 Oct 2018
Messages
4,018
Location
GWR land
I've assembled a complete set over the years, having initially been given some odd volumes during an office clearout. There seems to have been only one 'edition' (i.e. no updates) but it was re-printed as a widely-used standard set of railway text books.

Some of the detail on such obscure subjects as how to get the best spread of illumination from high-pressure gas lamps on stations is amazing.

They are definitely intended for professional reference rather than a casual read on the beach.
Thanks very much for the detail there - really helpful. :)
I wonder how long they would have been reprinted for? If there were no updates - at least, I can't seem to find any copies which seem to be different from the ones I've got - then I expect the books would have only had a limited lifespan, even if that lifespan was a couple of decades, if that makes sense?
The amount of detail on seemingly everything is really cool. I think you could probably plan, build, and run your own railway using all the volumes!

-Peter

EDIT: some looking on eBay shows that there was a book published in 1957 named "Modern Railway Working", apparently formed of 114 pages. Whether you could condense the amount of info in eight volumes in 1912/1913 into one book in 1957 I don't know.
 

Dr Hoo

Established Member
Joined
10 Nov 2015
Messages
2,657
Location
Hope Valley
I think that I was told by an antiquarian bookseller during my search for 'odd' volumes that the series was sold into the 1920s but was obviously getting more and more out of date, especially in areas like electric traction and signalling. There was nothing to replace/'succeed' it in terms of breadth. There were various other standard textbooks specifically on railway economics, management, statistics, operation and so forth. These were often more of the 'pocketbook' size than tomes for the display case and sometimes ran to several editions.

Anything published in 1957 was doomed to become dated very quickly because of technological advances at the time.
 

Peter C

Established Member
Joined
13 Oct 2018
Messages
4,018
Location
GWR land
I think that I was told by an antiquarian bookseller during my search for 'odd' volumes that the series was sold into the 1920s but was obviously getting more and more out of date, especially in areas like electric traction and signalling. There was nothing to replace/'succeed' it in terms of breadth. There were various other standard textbooks specifically on railway economics, management, statistics, operation and so forth. These were often more of the 'pocketbook' size than tomes for the display case and sometimes ran to several editions.
Ah - thanks again for the detail. Definitely sounds like the books are very much 'of their time' in terms of content and what they talk about then.

Anything published in 1957 was doomed to become dated very quickly because of technological advances at the time.
That's a very good point - I hadn't thought about that.

-Peter
 

S&CLER

Member
Joined
11 Jan 2020
Messages
566
Location
southport
The book I bought from a charity shop is Modern Railway Administration, 2 vols, Gresham Publishing 1925. It's very comprehensive, especially on the financial and commercial side, with lots of examples of standard accounting forms, stuff about claims, rates etc, less so on the engineering and technical aspects, though it does have a fine pull out track diagram of Rugby as it was in the 1920s. The statistics of the Big Four companies are specially interesting and very detailed. Worth buying if you see it .
 
Last edited:

Peter C

Established Member
Joined
13 Oct 2018
Messages
4,018
Location
GWR land
The book I bought from a charity shop is Modern Railway Administration, 2 vols, Gresham Publishing 1925. It's very comprehensive, especially on the financial and commercial side, with lots of examples of standard accounting forms, stuff about claims, rates etc. It less so on the engineering and technical aspects, though it does have a fine pull out track diagram of Rugby as it was in the 1920s. The statistics of the Big Four companies are specially interesting and very detailed. Worth buying if you see it .
Thanks for sharing - I'll definitely look into that. It might be quite interesting to draw comparisons between the 1912/1913 books with all the pre-grouping companies and then the 1925 book with the Big Four.

-Peter
 
Status
Not open for further replies.

Top