New Northern Germany "Freight Only" book

Bigchris

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8 Mar 2017
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North Lincs
Hi all,

Just thought I'd stick this on here as it may be of interest to many of you. Recently a friend of mine compiled a new book entitled "Freight Only - Germany". This is in fact the first of 4 proposed books that will cover the whole of Germany, and being volume 1, covers Northern Germany including Hamburg, Bremen, Hannover etc. This isn't a sales pitch but having received my copy recently I just wanted to make people aware of it's existence and give my whole-hearted recommendation. It includes a range of very detailed information such as what freight operates in the area, breakdowns of specific freight yards (especially good for the various yards around Hamburg docks), operators in the region, lots of good photos, and most importantly, numerous timetables for all manner of freight flows at various locations around the region. This has been compiled after considerable time researching, sightings and reports, and I have to say, is unlike any other resource I've seen. His original post from another forum is below if anybody is interested, and there's a link to a preview of the book.

If you're interested in the German freight scene I can guarantee this book will be of interest to you, and it would also be really good if you could support the project as this first volume has been produced on "Blurb" which isn't particularly user friendly, and if interest can reach a certain number then it could give the go-ahead for the next 3 volumes to be produced via a proper publisher, which would also bring the cost down and improve on options for the layout of the book.

Anyway, details are here, the book is actually available as a mail-order physical copy (Blurb postage is expensive though so always worth clubbing together if you have mates that would also like it), or you can order it as a PDF copy (personally I think the physical book is much better as the photos and tables look better). I'm more than happy to answer questions on my copy but would thoroughly recommend it if you want something with a bit more specialist detail than any other books I've seen on this subject.

Original intro by the author:

Ladies and gents - "this is the moment you have all been waiting for" as the great Mr Jackman once said in The Greatest Showman.

After hundreds of hours and more than a few false starts, I've finally put a book together with Michael Rhodes that aims to explain to the novice and the experts where freight trains go in Northern Germany and when they operate. We've created a whole load of individual timetables for various hotspots. The timetables are broken down by flow, so all the car trains are in one table and all the container trains are in another, etc, etc plus lots of narrative and photos - aim is to help people identify some of these trains - many can be identified if you use the book.

There is a 10 page preview in the link below.

Pdf (90mb so you've been warned!) is obviously cheaper than the book and the book does come with a hefty delivery charge, but unfortunately I have no say in the prices that Blurb put on these things. We will be lucky to get £1.00 a book for each sale, so this ain't a money making exercise by any means - I even have to buy my own book and pdf
:eek:


This venture is all about gauging interest (and btw - blurb is set up for narrative with no bullet points, no font changes, no anything and certainly no tables!). I'd say price is the biggest downside of this venture - the alternative was to go to a publisher and a printer, but we had to shelve out thousands of pounds in advance and no guarantee we would sell any and they would still be priced similar to the Blurb book.

Anyway, back to the positives - I recommend the book over the pdf. The photos, narrative and tables just work better over two pages sat side by side. Should make for a really good read whilst we are all sat on a local beach / park in the UK during the summer and planning our next trip abroad later this year
:lol:


And if nothing else, it is a useful record of what was operating when and by whom (just like our old back issues of Freightmaster book have been).

And if it is successful, then we may well do another one (the purpose is to find out what interest there is in this potential venture)...

Link to 10 page preview and book / pdf for buying is below
https://www.blurb.co.uk/b/10124565-freight-only-germany
 
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Bigchris

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8 Mar 2017
Messages
46
Location
North Lincs
Good morning all,
I'm not sure if anybody has looked at the link for the German freight book, or if anybody has seen a full copy or purchased a copy for themselves. I just wondered if anybody, assuming it is a topic of interest, could give any reasons why they wouldn't want to buy it, or if there is any feedback either positive or negative? Just trying to do a bit of market research for the author to assist with future plans.
Many thanks :D
 

TRXsouth

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Joined
1 Aug 2020
Messages
2
Location
Surrey
Hi Bigchris
l can echo your recommendation of ‘Freight Only - vol 1: Northern Germany.’ As well as following European railways generally, I am researching cross border Poland-Germany freight services for a model railway so was intrigued by your post with details of this new book. I visited the Blurb publishing website on 21 July and was impressed by the book’s preview pages. Price was initially £17.99 but a 25% discount code pop up resulted in £13.50, which helped reduce the sting of £7.99 postage, so £21.49 overall. The book arrived in a robust cardboard package on 27 July.

It is a truly absorbing book; the quality of research, range and depth of information on locations, services, locomotives and rolling stock across its 112 pages is outstanding. The colour photos are well produced with highly detailed captions, and there are also aerial views of several marshalling yards.

Some feedback for the authors and publisher? A simple map of the northern Germany would be helpful to establish the relationship between the featured locations in the region. Curiously, the captions for the cover and foreword’s photos are missing dates. The timetables could be darker; they seem to be printed a little lighter than the body text. Finally, wider spacing in the text between each operator’s services at the locations would help presentation.

In summary, congratulations on a valuable publication which is worthy of support. I hope that the planned series covering other German regions does get produced. Hope this review helps - I have no connections with any parties producing this book.
 

Bigchris

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8 Mar 2017
Messages
46
Location
North Lincs
Thanks for the response TRX. I'll pass your comments on, I'm sure the authors will be very pleased to have such constructive comments. Like you, and just to be clear, I have no financial or production connection with this book either other than knowing one of the authors and wanting it to succeed due to my own interest in the subject and the amount of effort it has taken to get it into print.
 

Bigchris

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Joined
8 Mar 2017
Messages
46
Location
North Lincs
Just to pass on Guy's thanks for the feedback TRX, he's more than happy with your comments and thoughts for the next volume. Response was:

"Agree on the map comment - we just didn't have the money to buy a copyright map! Hence why I tried amateurish diagram maps on pages 34 and 86. For the 2nd book we are going to have to do something more sophisticated as it is a complicated area stretching from Mainz to Hagen Vorhalle!

Caption dates on cover and foreword - Soz. Forgot them. Also the headcode on the foreword is wrong. Should be 51392, not 1392!

Timetables - As everyone will know from this thread, unfortunately this is the limitations of publishing with Blurb. These tables were originally done on excel, then copied and pasted and tailored into correct size and shape so that they fit on one page in Word, then converted to JPEG (photo) using an on-line free tool. Only issue was that the on-line tool converted at very low resolution, so any attempt to increase size of table in the book met with alarm bells on the Blurb system as the pixels simply weren't good enough.

Good idea on the wider spacing - Originally these were bullet points, but Blurb does not like bullet points (cocks up all the alignments if you run into a 2nd or 3rd flow, so after playing around with it for days, we ended up binning the bullet points). Next time we will put in more space and minimise the number of bullets and indents".

Personally I think this is great, a very good resource being tweaked and developed as it goes with feedback from readers and full interaction with the author. Lets hope there is enough interest to keep this going and get a full set of books to cover the whole country.

On another note, I was planning on visiting Poland this year but it's now on long-term hold until this Covid faff is a bit more predictable. Can I ask if your interest is purely from a modelling point of view or have you had any experience over there with where to go to see freight?
 

TRXsouth

New Member
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1 Aug 2020
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2
Location
Surrey
Hi Bigchris
Thank you for the authors’ comments on my feedback. I should have also mentioned my appreciation of the book’s finer details such as platform numbers for ideal viewing, local eateries plus really helpful specific wagon types used in workings.

I thought that the page 34 Hannover and page 86 Hamburg maps were rather clever linear summaries for those areas! So instead of a geographic map of a book’s region, a regional route map would provide the wider view. l also note the Blurb limitations with table resolution and spacing; interesting to see the bullet points you mention on pages 74-75....!

Best wishes for the further volumes; I look forward to them. ln the meantime, I would suggest submitting a copy of Volume 1 to ‘Today’s Railways Europe‘ magazine (Platform 5 Publishing) for their review and to further publicise its availability, plus details of the further volumes.

I was planning my first visit to Poland this year after hearing about a model railway show in Poznan. After looking into flights to Berlin, then the Berlin-Warsaw trains through Poznan, the Covidvirus situation developed so all shows and plans are suspended - same waiting mode as you! So no, unfortunately I do not have personal experience of Polish freight locations. The subject is sometimes raised on model railway forums with continental railway sections - such as rmweb and ngaugeforum.
 

Bigchris

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Joined
8 Mar 2017
Messages
46
Location
North Lincs
Thanks for the extra info, I'll pass on you other comments. As for Poland, sounds like you ended up in the same situation as me. I was literally about a week off booking flights & hotels before Covid really took hold and messed everything up. I've visited once before but that was with my other half so very limited time for exploring the railways. I visited the loco depots in Krakow & Wroclaw and spent a few hours photographing the passenger workings at Wroclaw Glowny. When I finally get over there it will be a full on dedicated trip, probably a couple of weeks travelling all over, or at least as many places as time allows as getting around in Poland isn't as quick and easy as my usual choice of Germany.
 

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