By the mid 1960s steam had pretty much disappeared from railways in the South West of England save
for a small pocket on the Southern Region which survived until 1967. To one enthusiastic teenager
living in Plymouth, the nearest place to see working mainline steam was in Weymouth, Dorset, with other
operations such as the Somerset & Dorset Joint Railway and the Isle of Wight also in their final throes of
steam. And so, armed with camera loaded with Kodachrome transparency film, the fifteen-year-old Roger
Malone set out to record the final months in these outposts of steam.
Now, over 40 years later, these images are again seeing the light of day in this fascinating new book. The
colour photographs taken all those years ago capture the essence of the times, as the last embers died in
the fireboxes of elderly locomotives ‘put out to grass’ in sleepy westcountry pastures. Added interest
comes from the author’s memories of those days, the locomotives he found and captured on film.
Over 150 photographs appear in the book taken at locations in Devon, Dorset, Cornwall, Somerset and
Hampshire, and including Weymouth, the Isle of Wight, Bournemouth, Corfe Castle, Eastleigh, Launceston
and the Exeter area. A section contains photographs taken at the famous Barry scrapyard where so many
locomotives ended their days.
Anyone with an interest in railway history will be fascinated by this unique pictorial memoir.
Roger Malone is a Devon-based journalist with a love of photography and a life-long fascination with
steam. This happy combination began in the mid-sixties, and continues through to capturing the current
main line steam scene.
Roger might occasionally forget his daughters’ birth dates – but not the last day of
steam on the Southern. To his embarrassment he can recall the names and numbers
of long gone locomotives while being unable to remember the week's shopping list.
He maintains it is because, in this hectic age, he has too much on his mind. His wife
puts it down to a conveniently selective memory! His first book for Halsgrove was
Railway Moods: Devon.
Imprint: Halsgrove. ISBN 978 1 84114 754 3, hardback, 230x214mm, 144 pages. Published September 2008. Reprinted September 2012