THE CAS­TLE AND THE BEAR/GOOD AND SAFE WEE RAIL­WAY

Steam Railway (UK) - - Reviews - BY A.J. MULLAY T: 01290 551122 W: www.sten­lake.co.uk ISBN: 9781840337488 (cas­tle and Bear), 9781840337471 (G&sWr)

Ex­cel­lent in­tro­duc­tion to two pre-Group­ing sys­tems. Could do with more pic­tures of trains.

In­spired by SR472’s fea­ture on Scottish pre-Group­ing en­gines, I plucked th­ese ti­tles from the ever-grow­ing re­views pile and quickly found my­self be­ing ed­u­cated and en­ter­tained at the same time.

In just 80 pages (The Cas­tle and the Bear) and 64 pages (Good and Safe Wee Rail­way) the au­thor pro­vides an en­gag­ing in­tro­duc­tion to the Scottish lines that bore those nick­names – the North Bri­tish Rail­way and the Glas­gow & South Western Rail­way re­spec­tively. Both chron­i­cle the com­pli­cated ri­val­ries, takeovers and amal­ga­ma­tions of the time in sim­ple terms, telling the com­pelling story of how each com­pany grew into a ma­jor player. Doubt­less be­cause of space con­straints, both con­tain rel­a­tively few pic­tures, and most de­pict sta­tions rather than the glo­ri­ously colour­ful lo­co­mo­tives and trains of th­ese lines. The maps, how­ever, are good and clear, pro­vid­ing a use­ful guide to the net­works. Nei­ther pre­tends to be a de­tailed or in-depth ac­count – but they are en­joy­able enough to in­spire the reader to re­search the sub­ject fur­ther. Great value at just a ten­ner each.

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