WILD SWAN BOOKS
Light Railways & Narrow Gauge Lines
W.H. Smith 136 pages Softback 2002
A most welcome reprint of one of Wild Swan's best ever books, first published in 1993 and out of print shortly thereafter. The subject was highly photogenic and consequently quite well covered by photographers of the day, but what sets this book apart are the photographs taken by the late Charlie Smith. Charlie was a driver on the line who sometimes took his camera to work, and the details and character that he captured with it are truly remarkable. The author and his collaborators have done a superb job of presenting the material and also include the whole story of the line's promotion, construction and demise, building upon and paying due tribute to Mowat's earlier history. This is an inspiringly beautiful book and a model of just how very good a branch line history can be.
Brian Hart 282 pages Hardback 2009
A well researched and well written account of the development and operation of Colonel Stephens' favourite railway up until closure by BR in 1961. It is also a beautiful record of an era and world that has entirely vanished - a real light railway publishing tour de force.
Peter Paye 216 pages Softback 2003
Reprinted in 2003 as a softback, a lavish and delightful book, with superb photograpic coverage including the work of Dr Ian C Allen and including full track plans and scale drawings of buildings - a real delight.
Laurie A. Cooksey 188 pages Hardback 2006
Fully up to Wild Swan's highest standards, this is a well written and fantastically detailed account of a most interesting minor railway. The photographic coverage is astonishing, revealing much more than I have ever seen in print before and all of the line's trials and tribulations are fully explained and illustrated. Laid with incredibly light rail and utilising flimsy rollng stock, the line became part of the Colonel Stephens empire and staggered on until January 1935, after which it was sold off piecemeal as the Southern Railway had sensibly declined to take it over. A second volume details all of the line's hardware and rolling stock, although this book in itself provides a very complete record of the whole enterprise.
Laurie Cooksey 146 pages Hardback 2006
This second volume describes the line's route and all of the rolling stock and is an ideal source book for modellers. The locomotives that the line used were a fascinating collection of industrial types and are illustrated and described in very great detail, including the very attractive 2-4-2 "Selsey" supplied by Peckett for the opening of the line in 1897. An assortment of internal combustion based railcars were also used and this book is the most detailed record of this type of vehicle that I have yet seen. Scale drawings of the antiquated stock used are included, mostly derived from photographs, together with sketches and details of the private owner wagons that were used on the line. Another lovely book from Wild Swan.
Brian Hart 104 pages Softback 1992
By the same author as the "Hundred Of Hoo" book and every bit as interesting, this book is complete in every detail, from the articulated coaches used through to the Edwardian seaside scene. Closed in 1950, an unusual feature was a siding into an airfield.
S.C. Jenkins and R.S. Carpenter 106 pages Softback 1997
Losing its passenger service in 1929, and finally closing to goods in 1960, this minor branch was a GW rebuild of part of the much earlier Stratford and Moreton tramway of 1826. This book is up to the usual high standards of its publisher, and the attractive rural route with its numerous level crossings is well illustrated, as is the terminus and even the tramway north of Shipston which survived until just after the Great War.
Jaye Isherwood 168 pages Softback 2010
A much enlarged book compared to the original of the same title from this publisher which tells the complete story of how a government vehicle depot with its origins in the turmoil of the First World War became the prototype of a new concept - the trading estate. This is an unusual book in that it covers many themes, commerce and railway communications predominate but the reader also gets more than a glimpse of all aspects of life on the site, including architecture, social history, the A4 and some very well known brand names. The quality and variety of the numerous photographs are first class - this is a singular and stylish book which will appeal to the enthusiast and interested "lay" reader alike.
Mike Lloyd 112 pages Softback 1990
First class photographs of railway, landscape and details of lineside and operation make this Wild Swan book almost a manual of light railway life. Comprehensive scale drawings of buildings, lineside structures and rolling stock complete this picture of a charming Welsh border branch line. This is one of my very favourite railway books of recent years, and a copy has made its way into my personal book collection. Reprinted 2009.
Nicholais de Courtais 96 pages Softback 2017
A much enlarged edition of the author's 1981 book describing and illustrating the roadside tramway that ran fron the Great Western main line at Wantage Road to the town of the same name. Indisputably one the most idiosyncratic and delightful of Britain's diverse collection of light railways and tramways, this new edition contains a wonderful collection of images together with a surprisingly large number of recollections of both using and working on the line, collected over a period of years by the indomitable Chris Turner. Hopefully this will prove irresistable to followers of light railways and quaint English institutions alike!
Glyn Williams 282 pages Hardback 2010
The story of the Welshpool and Llanfair Light Railway before closure and subsequent preservation and regeneration. This is a very well illustrated book containing a large number of widely ranging and beautiful photographs that cover the whole line and every aspect of its life. Given what is left and the nature of the changes that have taken place in more recent years, the section of line through the town and into the Cambrian station is particularly fascinating, although the coverage of the actual operation of the line is also remarkable. If I had any criticism it would only be that the scale drawings of the coaches are not as good as they could have been, given that three replicas have been built in recent years, but this is a carping criticism when set against the magnificence of the whole book, which is simply stunning.
Gerry Beale 94 pages Softback 2001
A very pleasing photograph history of an extremely photogenic line. A distinctive feature of the Dorset railway scene for many years, the tramway has even now not quite died, although it sees no current use. The author acknowledges the late John Lucking and his 1986 book, which remains the definitive history on the subject, but goes on to present an inspired collection of views. I have the earlier book, and while some of the earlier and "official" views appear in both, this collection makes a very worthwhile addition. There is a wonderful panoramic view of Weymouth Station taken from the tower of a now demolished church and the shots of the earlier tramway locomotives are as interesting as ever - a really lovely book.