The Book of the Black 5s (Parts 1-4)
In the ‘Book of …’ series the first question to be answered with a Book of the Black 5s is, how many volumes? The answer – five. Part 1 covers the 1934 batch from Vulcan Foundry and the 1935 engines from Crewe, Part 2 the similar 1935 Vulcan Foundry and Armstrong Whitworth locomotives, Part 3 is describe as the ‘Mark 2’ 1936 Armstrong Whitworth locomotives and sweeps up the remaining pre-war engines and Part 4 deals with the war-time and immediate post-war LMS batches. Follow the link for details of all volumes ⇒
The Book of the A4 Pacifics
As a very small boy Peter Coster could remember a little of his first railway book. It had a title something like The Boy’s Book of Trains and, like his contemporaries, he would pore over the pages of British, European and transatlantic trains, becoming almost word perfect. One illustration stood out, which he later learnt was staged by the LNER Publicity Department at Waterworks Sidings at Wood Green, which he had seen repeated many times since. It showed three A4s, each at the head of a rake of coaching stock, in echelon, with towering exhausts, with an A3 farthest away from the main line, accelerating away. It left a small boy impressed but bewildered. It was a very impressive sight, but if the A4 was the best of the LNER’s express locomotives, why wasn ‘t it called an A1? Didn’t A1 mean the best, the absolutely top quality? Find out more in this definitive book on the A4 pacifics. If you thought you knew everything there was to know about A4s and you thought you had seen every photo; think again.
The Book of the A1 & A2 Pacifics
In this book dealing with the principal steam express locomotives of the LNER and its nationalised successor, we consider the Pacifics that followed those of Sir Nigel Gresley, finishing with the last, and perhaps by post-war railway operational standards, the most successful steam design, the A1 Pacific of Arthur Peppercorn. The A1 was introduced not merely in the eleventh hour of the old ‘Big Four’, but almost in the last five minutes of that hour. In the mêlée of nationalisation, the new Railway Executive’s mechanical engineering team, determined to create a new railway with the new standard locomotives, turned its back on the most successful large passenger designs. These were Gresley’s A4 and Sir William’s magnificent ‘Duchess’ Pacific, joined by Peppercorn’s A1. The sequence of events that led to the A1 actually started with Gresley’s Mikado of 1934, and it was the need to resolve the problems of these magnificent but flawed locomotives that led to the emergence firstly of the Pacifics of Edward Thompson, then secondly those of Arthur Peppercorn. With the relatively abrupt abandonment of steam in favour of diesel and electric traction, the working life of all post-war designs was truncated, and the engines’ working life became shorter with the later designs.
The Book of the Jubilee 4-6-0s
Since this book was published in 2002 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 Book of the Jubilee 4-6-0s sold out in 2004 and with the growing popularity of the series the demand has been to reprint this very popular class of locomotive.
The Book of the Ivatt 4MTs
When a class of engine is christened by enthusiasts ‘Doodlebugs’ or ‘Flying Pigs’, amongst a number of other less than admiring nicknames, there is an implication that the LMS Ivatt Class 4 2-6-0s were not the most admired of locomotives. Little has been written about them compared with their more glamorous brethren and it seems that in their early days there was some confusion about their purpose. They were the last steam design produced by the LMS and intended as a replacement for the 4F freight engines, but much of their time was spent on passenger work. They were quickly re-designated mixed traffic engines by their new British Railways owners and this book uses ‘4MTs’ as an appropriate short-hand for these 2-6-0s.
In their early days the 4MTs had something of a Jekyll and Hyde existence: although fitted with all the post-war labour-saving fixtures and equipped with well-intended creature comforts for the enginemen, there was obviously something amiss in their proportions because they were often chronically short of steam. It took several years and some Swindon magic to make a few simple but transformational changes to put them right. After that, they settled down and became widely travelled and generally well regarded, at least by railwaymen if not by enthusiasts. As is now standard in the Book of series a large chunk of the material by volume comes from the Engine History Cards and Engine Record Cards aided and abetted by information begged and borrowed from a number of sources, and backed up by a large number of photographs.
The Book of the Stanier 2-6-0s
When William Stanier, C.B. Collett’s Principal Assistant at Swindon on the GWR, walked out of the Traveller’s Club after a good lunch with Sir Harold Hartley of the LMS, one day in the autumn of 1931, he was looking forward to taking over as CME on the LMS first thing in the new year. At that moment he could hardly have thought that the first design on which he could bring his notions to bear would be a modest and destined-to-be anonymous 2-6-0.
Freight power on the LMS was not nearly as good as Stanier had a right to expect. The Midland 4F 0 6 0 had been widely perpetuated; a good machine, it could have been much better if the axle box bearing surfaces had been man enough for the job. The same failing prematurely terminated the careers of the Fowler 7F 0-8-0s, all the more regrettable for the boiler being an excellent steamer. Similar woes afflicted the Garratts, leaving only the curious Hughes ‘Crab’ 2-6-0s to shine, relatively, on freight working. In the Stanier revolution that was coming, the hordes of 8F 2-8-0s and Class 5 4-6-0s would alter this picture beyond recognition, but it was destined to start in a small way. One of them, ‘The Mighty Mogul’, is prominent in preservation today.
The Book of the West Country & Battle of Britain Pacifics
Little that is wholly new remains to be said concerning any major class of British steam locomotive, though of course there is still a lot to celebrate and illustrate. A similar point was made in the five preceding books of this series. The Book of the BR Standards, The Book of the Coronation Pacifics, The Book of the Royal Scots, The Book of the Princess Royal Pacifics and the Book of the Merchant Navy Pacifics. There are always a few nuggets to be had, and one or two particularly glistening ones have been introduced to the story of the West Country and Battle of Britain Pacifics.d for the third time.
The Book of the Merchant Navy Pacifics
Scarcely can a railway board have entered on such a time of frustrating maintenance work, disappointing performance, lows mixed with thrilling highs, uncertainty, expense and worry with such an innocuous phrase – ‘Ten New Main Line Locomotives’. They were two sides of a coin, the Merchant Navy Pacifics – love ’em, hate ’em, scorn versus adulation; seldom could the phrases ‘brilliant steaming’ be conjoined so often with ‘heavy maintenance’, or the words ‘exhilarating performance’ with ‘caught fire’*.
The Book of the T9 4-4-0s
Usual ‘Book Of’ format, with comprehensive history, photographs, every detail variation and change, works histories. The nation’s favourite 4-4-0, a splendid Victorian design modernised by the Southern and best remembered for a protracted final fling on the ‘Withered Arm’ west of Exeter, out across Dartmoor to the sea at Padstow. Recently issued by Hornby as one of the firm’s superlatively detailed models; the thousands of OO enthusiasts out there who bought one can hardly wait to get started on customising them using this book.
The Book of the T9 4-4-0s
The ubiquitous passenger tank engine of Southern England, detailed and examined as never before. All the usual ‘Book Of’ goodies – works and shed data, and endless, dazzling, absorbing detail. There was no official differentiation between the engines and, until Southern days, there were no differences in the uses to which an M7 could be put. However, the various types of M7 had distinctive differences which are apparent to the locomotive historian and important to the modeller. They are teased out and demonstrated here for the first time.
The Book of the Castle 4-6-0s
There were three ‘generations’ of Great Western four cylinder express power. In the middle, between the Stars and the Kings, but greatly more important in terms of numbers and the breadth of their usefulness, were the Castles. They could be regarded as the high water mark of Great Western, or rather Churchwardian, steam practice and probably influenced steam design work across the country more than any other class. Their numbers were made up in a peculiar odd way. Of the total of 171 in the class only 155 were built new – and it took 27 years to do it. The rest were five rebuilt Stars and the rebuilt Pacific THE GREAT BEAR, together with the last ten Stars, originally built with Abbey names after Churchward retired and then ‘rebuilt’ into the 5000 series, 5083-5092. The Stars (also retaining their names) and the Pacific were officially rebuilds but the Abbeys were officially ‘new’. One odd outcome of all this was that the first withdrawal came before the final one was built.
The Book of the BR Standard Class 5 4-6-0s
Chart the in depth the life and times of the 172 Class 5 4-6-0s in the 73000 series, the popular BR successors to the LMS ‘Black 5s’. Extensive and detailed coverage extends to the variants of course; the Caprottis, the air pump fitted examples and so on. The exceptional range of photographs show both the detailed engineering and construction of the 73000s and the varied work they carried out, across all the Regions of BR. They were both workhorse and warhorse on BR and constituted one of the most numerous and successful of the Standard designs.
The Book of the Great Northern – Part 1
This is a book about the GNR from the engineering and operational perspective in particular, continuing from the last days of the GNR up to the present time. It is a description of the heritage that our predecessors created, their skill, experience and occasional mistakes, judged intelligently (it is to be hoped) with hindsight.
The two volumes describe the GNR main line in the form of a journey northwards to the centre of the universe for aficionados, Doncaster. Part One takes us as far as Welwyn Garden City. It is seen through the prisms of engineering knowledge and personal experience. It is illustrated with Ordnance Surveys of the period in most cases, although some post-date the 1922 Grouping, complemented with photographs. The book describes what would now be termed the ‘infrastructure’ of the GNR existing at the time of Grouping, describing the methods of construction used, the implications for subsequent maintenance and renewals and the methods used, over the decades up to the present. The commentary continues with subsequent events on the working railway up to more recent times, particularly methods on maintaining the working railway, with anecdotes from that working railway.
The Book of the Great Northern – Part 2
With the second book of the pair examining the engineering and operation of the GNR main line from Kings Cross to Doncaster over the years, Peter Coster turns his attention away from the metropolis towards the countryside. He has not repeated the preface of Part One, but the comments apply equally to Part Two. This is not a detailed history of the GN main line, but an engineering and operational commentary.