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ISBN: 9781841149929
AUTHOR: Roger Malone
Last Days of Steam on the Midland Region
Last Days of Steam on the Midland Region
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“August 4 was a perfect sunny day and, apart from the fact we knew different, it still seemed steam could go on for ever. But late in the afternoon the last surviving Britannia Class Pacific, 'Oliver Cromwell', arrived on shed at Lostock Hall after completing its part in an enthusiasts' special. The polished lines of this simmering giant glinted magnificently in the sun. This was my last image on the last day of steam. It was over.”

So writes the author in his introduction to this book.To some, steam's demise in 1968 was merely a belated step towards progress, but to the steam enthusiast, nurtured on the sulphurous breath of these iron steeds, this last goodbye was a time for reflection and regret. Throughout the mid-sixties, the steam cull was relentless.The Western Region carried it out with almost indecent haste,while the Southern Region held on until 1967, along with the North East.

The Midland Region was the last to go. It had suffered serious steam casualties as depot after depot closed, yet incredibly a pocket of three Lancashire sheds survived to the last. The trio, Carnforth, Lostock Hall (near Preston) and Rose Grove (near Burnley) achieved almost celebrity status in 1968 as the only steam motive power depots still operating in the whole country.

Last Days of Steam on the Midland includes the author’s remarkable photographs taken during the period when, as he poignantly puts it, ‘Time ticked towards an almost surreal extinction of steam, with a countdown as cold as the steel of a locomotive whose fire had been dropped for the last time.’

Over 150 photographs appear in the book including 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 during the week and, when the opportunity arises, a steam railway photographer during the weekend. When not taking pictures he plagues his family by playing guitar badly; a cunning ploy that ensures his wife and three daughters actively encourage him to leave the house – thus allowing him to ‘bunk off ’ domestic duties and chase trains without a guilty conscience! Without too much provocation he will burst into a eulogy over the steamy wonder of locomotive sheds – and threaten anyone in earshot with a slide show. His first book for Halsgrove was Railway Moods - Devon followed by Last Days of Steam on the Southern Region.

Imprint: Halsgrove. ISBN 978 1 84114 992 9, hardback, 214x230mm, 144 pages. Published March 2010.

 
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