British Railway Modelling (BRM)

SCOTTISH RAILWAY ATLAS THEN AND NOW, by Paul Smith and Paul Jordan, Crecy. PRICE: £20.00


This is the companion volume to the 3rd Edition Railway Atlas Then and Now by Paul Smith and Keith Turner, and the 15th Edition Rail Atlas Great Britain and Ireland by the late S K Baker, both also published by Crecy. Initially, I was slightly puzzled by the perceived need to cover Scotland exclusivel­y, because it comprehens­ively appears in that 3rd Edition. However, on closer inspection, its presentati­on is quite different. This time, we have two sets of maps, separated by 101 years, the 1920 maps to the left of two pages, and the 2021 ones to the right. I have to say, for ease of understand­ing, the modern maps are far better to read. Those modern maps also include the lost lines, including where they’ve now formed parts of roads and tram systems. The old maps are still a delight, however, showing beautiful cartograph­y, all handdrawn, with representa­tions of the highest local peaks. As expected, there’s an almost morbid fascinatio­n in comparing (or contrastin­g in many cases) the century-apart maps, because so much has been lost, even accounting for new stations or reopened ones. Beneath most maps are very small images related to them, dating up to (almost) current times. My criticism is that these deserve to be much bigger; Wemyss Bay Station, in particular, deserves much greater recognitio­n. Almost two-thirds of this excellent publicatio­n are devoted to an Index of Stations, including small-scale plans of each one and a map reference. Where there is no plan, because the station is new, there’s a photograph. Some of the plans might be of use to modellers, even if they are small. The atlas concludes with a plan of the Glasgow Subway, a look at Edinburgh’s trams and a list (with codes) of British Railways’ Scottish Region MPDs, which are mostly long-gone and their current site status; I wonder how many shoppers loading their cars at Morrisons realise they’re standing on what was once 60A! There’s also a list of preserved railways, principal railway walks, some photograph­s of surviving signal boxes and aerial views of Scotland’s three best-known railway bridges. This work is an invaluable source of reference, is beautifull­yproduced and represents outstandin­g value for money.

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