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.
BRITISH STEAM IN COLOUR 1957-1975 THE COLOUR SLIDE COLLECTION OF NORMAN HARROP, by Graham Nicholas, Silver Link Editions. PRICE: £25.00
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.