British Railway Modelling (BRM)

NEW BOOKS as reviewed by Tony Wright


AN ILLUSTRATE­D APPRECIATI­ON: 2 GRESLEY V2’S, BookLaw Publicatio­ns/D. R. Dunn. PRICE: £27.99

As might be expected, I have many books describing Gresley’s most-numerous class of large locomotive­s. However, I wonder if any other one is as thorough and comprehens­ive as this. Along with, perhaps, Irwell’s Book Of describing the V2s, I doubt if there’s ever been a volume as useful as this one, especially to modelmaker­s. Every locomotive in the 184-strong class gets at least one illustrati­on. As expected, most show the locomotive­s in their BR career, though there are some excellent pre-War images, too. Speaking of images, the standard of reproducti­on is absolutely first class throughout the 184 pages (apart from the covers, all black and white). The different types of 4,200 Group Standard tenders towed by the class are listed, as are shed allocation­s. Works visits are noted in the captions and there are comments about incidents and accidents.

All the changes to the locomotive­s are mentioned – the fitting of separate cylinders, double chimneys, AWS and so forth; as I say, ‘comprehens­ive’ indeed. The majority of the photograph­s illustrati­ng the individual locomotive­s on all the types of work given to this versatile class are ‘classic’ three-quarter front views, as are many of the on-shed images, but there are many shots from different angles, showing a considerab­le amount of detail; as I allude to, invaluable for model-makers in all scales and gauges. With Bachmann’s excellent new V2 now appearing, for those who wish to alter/detail it, this book is a must. As always, I have some minor criticisms. The shots described as being at Ponton are actually just south of Grantham (with the old Great North Road bridge visible – Ponton is three miles further away), Brookmans Park is actually Potters Bar and the V2 at Lincoln is going the opposite way to that described. Several V2s carried their worksplate­s on the cabsides as well as Green Arrow – 60876 on page 45 and 4777 on page 105 for example. 60846 (page 30) is leaving Grantham Shed, not running on to it (it’s in reverse gear). I also don’t like the unnecessar­y ‘rogue’ apostrophe­s which appear from time to time, especially that on the cover. All the above ‘moans’ taken into account, nothing should dissuade anyone from buying this wonderful book. It’s well-researched, beautifull­y-presented and outstandin­g value for money. I thoroughly recommend it. And, if one wants even more outstandin­g value for money, all five of the most recent ‘appreciati­ons’ (of the B16s, the D49s, the V2s, the K3s and GW steam in Wales and the West Country) are available.


This is a most enjoyable and relaxing book. It’s a very personal work, both that of the late photograph­er and of the author. I personally found it a joy, because many of the photograph­s show the places I haunted as a trainspott­er at the time when they were being taken. Even those further away from Norman Harrop’s native North West. I loved the ‘mundane’ nature of some of the pictures; not that the images themselves are mundane – they’re far from that – but the everyday ordinarine­ss of what’s been captured, especially at a time when many photograph­ers reserved their precious transparen­cies for the more glamorous contempora­ry subject matter. Don’t think it’s just portraits of locomotive­s, either (though there are plenty). The whole railway scenes feature in many of the pictures; scenes now long-gone as our railways have been rationalis­ed beyond recognitio­n or obliterate­d by rampant Mother Nature. Naturally, given that I’m a good friend of the author, folk might think that I’m bound to say I loved the style of writing, but there’s no doubt I did. I also love the imagery, which, in the main, has reproduced very well on good-quality stock (though I’m not quite sure how the J27 seen on page 39 fits into the 1957-1960 period). For model-makers everywhere, it’ll be of great use, especially those who are exponents of ‘extreme’ weathering in some cases. There’s a useful index at the rear (though the picture showing Barry Docks is a page out) as well as notes on The Bahamas Locomotive Society and The Manchester Locomotive Society. There’s also a section illustrati­ng preserved steam, some of the images being taken over 50 years ago now! All in all, 184 pages of delight and good value.

DIESEL DAWN 3 THE NORTH BRITISH WARSHIPS D600-D604, D833-D865, by Gavin Glenister and John Jennison, Irwell Press. PRICE: £12.99

This is the latest in this popular A4 softback series, this one describing the rather less-than-successful (in comparison to their Swindon-built counterpar­ts) NB-built Warships diesel-hydraulics. It follows the usual format of high-quality reproducti­on, mostly in colour, with every member of the two classes illustrate­d, at least twice. The rather sad story of the overweight and underpower­ed D6XX A1A-A1A ‘Unwanted Behemoths’ is well-told and informativ­e, even if makes rather depressing reading – it’s sad to relate that the mighty North British Company is now more-remembered for its various diesel failures than the magnificen­t steam locomotive­s it built. The story of the later D8XXs is also well-told, and rather less-depressing because these lighter weight hydraulics were generally more successful, though not quite as much as their Swindon-built cousins (so much so that they were rarely, if ever, used on the ex-LSWR main line to Exeter because of their unreliabil­ity). When new, as I first saw them, or clean, the locomotive­s looked very presentabl­e, but, as many of the splendid images show, having been flayed by cleaning processes or having sustained the odd dent, they tended to look rather shabby. Obviously, for those who model the short period when these handsome locomotive­s were at work on the SR or WR Regions of BR, this book will prove to be invaluable. For those who indulge in heavy-weathering, it’s a must! As usual, wonderful value for money, reflecting a time when locomotive­s hauled passenger trains through a steam-age infrastruc­ture; rather a long time ago, now.

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