British Railway Modelling (BRM)
ROBINSON EIGHT-COUPLED LOCOMOTIVES, by Jeremy Clements. Crecy. PRICE: £25.00
Three from Crecy this month, the two I’m reviewing and a Rail Atlas of the West Midlands. Without doubt, Robinson’s 2-8-0s built for the GCR railway were among the most successful freight locomotives of all time. Quite rightly, they’re given due prominence in this splendid volume. Odd, isn’t it, that Robinson’s big freight locomotives were far better, in the main, than his big passenger locomotives? The author gives due credit to works describing the GC eight-coupled locomotives, published in the past, including those by the RCTS and the late Peter Rowledge (works I’ve got). Oddly, there’s no mention of Willie Yeadon. No matter, really, because this new book is the most comprehensive study I’ve come across with regard to these locomotives. I think it’s fair to say, it’s a splendid work, written by a self-confessed ‘GWR diehard’! There’s an interesting back story behind the types’ developments, including copious notes on Robinson and Sir Sam Fay, plus chapters on the workings of freights, the introduction of the ‘Tinies’, the use of three cylinders, the 2-8-0 family, war service (in both global conflicts), dispersal and disposal of the ROD 2-8-0s, the LNER Garratt project (much work being done at Gorton), Gresley’s alterations, Thompson’s rebuilding programme and the final years. There are six useful appendices and 12 digests of relevant locomotive histories. The work is well-written, printed on high-quality gloss stock, with scores of B&W photographs, most of which have reproduced well, though some are a bit ‘thin’, as well as numerous drawings and tables. It will be of immense value to modellers everywhere, and not just those who follow the GC, LNER and BR/ER, because other railways bought or loaned the ROD 2-8-0s after WW1, and certainly used their tenders behind the indigenous classes – they suited the Claughtons very well. There’s a nice shot of one of the ROD 2-8-0s still in service in NSW in 1971, lasting 55 years in active service before it was scrapped – a testament to a great design. A first-class work, deserving of being on every enthusiast’s library shelf, and outstanding value for money.