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ISBN: 9780857041227
AUTHOR: Robin Jones
  • Description

March 2011 saw the reappearance of a ‘fossil’ steam locomotive, rebuilt in all its original 1908 glory,which has now rewritten the history books. Great Western Railway steam railmotor No. 93 is now arguably one of our greatest steam era survivors. Comprising a steam locomotive built into a carriage fitted with driving cabs at either end, it marks the true beginning of the modern railway network as we know it. Today’s railway passenger services are mostly comprised of railcars and multiple units,which are not hauled by a separate locomotive but are self-propelled. All of them can trace their ancestry back to the steam railmotor concept.

Only one steam railmotor operates in Britain today. GWR No. 93 survived withdrawal in 1934 by being converted into a coach, and later an office, before it was acquired for preservation by the Great Western Society at Didcot Railway Centre more than 40 years ago. A truly astonishing story of re-birth saw it restored to a gleaming example of Edwardian magnificence, right down to the last detail, both inside and out. Furthermore, a matching trailer was sourced and restored to run with the railmotor, accurately reflecting a type of train regularly seen in service in Britain a century ago but which has all but been forgotten by time.

The book also covers a now-unique vehicle which reflects the very next stage in railway evolution, North Eastern Railway petrol-electric railcar No. 3170 built in 1903. It is the sole surviving example of the world’s first train to be powered by a petrol-electric engine, and is therefore of immense historical importance. It is now being rebuilt to original condition by acclaimed carriage restorer Stephen Middleton at the Embsay & Bolton Abbey Steam Railway in Yorkshire backed by the Heritage Lottery Fund, and once operational in 2012, will provide a perfect northern counterpart to the steam railmotor.

Together, they form the missing link in the real story of how our railways developed. Backed by a wealth of both archive and modern-day pictures, this unique and ground-breaking book reshapes the way we look at the history of passenger rail transport.

A graduate of the University of Central England, Robin Jones, founding editor of Heritage Railway magazine, was a news editor and chief investigative reporter at the Birmingham Evening Mail, and over the years has produced several books and special publications, along with historical features for numerous other newspapers and periodicals. He has been interested in railways from a very early age, when his elder brother Stewart took him trainspotting at Widney Manor station in Solihull at the age of four, at the end of the British Railways steam era.

Imprint: Halsgrove. ISBN 978 0 85704 122 7, hardback, 214x230mm, 144 pages. Published October 2011.

Web Price: £16.99
19.69 EUR 21.24 USD 27.83 AUD

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