The Essential Railway Library

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6Gman

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I was giving some thought to what are the key books which every entusiast should read (and - ideally - have a copy), given the thousands of books published on the subject.

My list follows (and I'll add more detailed comments later):

Gerard Fiennes - I Tried to Run a Railway - Classic 'insider' account of the railway from nationalisation to Beeching and modernisation

Peter Rayner - On and Off The Railway - A worthy successor, covering modernisation to privatisation

LTC Rolt - Red For Danger - Marvellous history of railway accidents which describes how the railway changed in response to said accidents. Another true classic.

Rocksborough Smith & St John Thomas - Summer Saturdays in the West - Describes the way the railways of the West Country dealt with seasonal traffic, with detailed accounts of particular Saturdays in 1957 and c.1971. A different world!

The Beeching Report. Millions have a view on it, but how many have read it? If you study it you might be surprised how it may change your perspective.

Colin Gifford - Each a Glimpse - If you want a book of interesting photographs of the late steam era, this is the one!


I'd add a footplate memoir to the list, but you'd probably want to choose one from your own favourite area.

Two obvious gaps: 1. A standard history of railway operating (does such a book exist?) 2. A standard history of railway engineering (civil and mechanical).

Discuss!
 
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Rugd1022

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How about an entire collection of Ian Allan ABCs / Locosheds / Combined Volumes etc from your childhood..... they'll have to shoot me before I ever part with mine...!

;)

PS : a good selection of the trusty old Bradford Bartons wouldn't go amiss either, steam and / or diesel.
 

John Webb

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I'd hate to lose my copy of "The Oxford Companion to British Railway History" - not only does it have a wide view of the UK's railways but many useful references as well.
And the current copy of "Railways Restored" would be my second choice.
 

LNW-GW Joint

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Apart from maps (especially the Ian Allan Pre-Grouping Atlas) and timetables, I am always using my copy of Passengers No More (Daniels & Dench), listing the dates of service withdrawals from 1923, with some great pictures.

Of the line histories, the recent book on the LNWR by Malcolm Reed is a splendid modern analysis of the most important pre-grouping railway, and links into all the adjacent lines (Midland, L&Y, GW, MS&L etc).

The book I really want to read hasn't been written yet (WCML since 1948)!
 

ChiefPlanner

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Charles Klapper "Sir Herbert Walkers Southern Railway" - the business history of all time.

John Davies "Valley Lines - The Peoples Railway" - ditto
 
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