Peter William Brett Semmens
Born in Saltash on 13 September 1927; died 4 March 2007. Educated St Edward's School, Oxford and Exeter College, Oxford. Worked as an industrial chemist at ICI Billingham, but became a Deputy Curator at the Railway Museum in York in 1974. He succeeded Allen and Nock to the famous Practice & Pereformance series in the Railway Magazine from 1981 until 2003. Telegraph obituary.
A century of railways through the pages of 'Railway Magazine' and paintings
from members of the Guild of Railway Artists. Sparkford: OPC, 1996.
Landscape format: Pages 7 to 14 give an excellent historical sketch of the Railway Magazine, it Editors, Publishers and a few of the major contributors, notably C.J. Allen and Nock. This is followed by a relatively short section of brief extracts from the Magazine which fail to capture either the central character of the journal or the changing nature of that character. Finally there is a selection of art from the Guild of Railway Artists. These are well reproduced, but fail to mesh with the rest of the book which is really two books. The end papers display a representative collection of covers, at least two of which make one wonder how they sold as a bookstall magazine!
History of the Great Western Railway. Vol. 2. The thirties, 1930-39. London Allen & Unwin, 1985.
Includes an extensive analysis of the proposal by Merz & McLellan to electrify the lines west of Taunton (including the Brixham, Newquay branches and the china clay lines), a pair of air-conditioned coaches (using ice as the coolant), and of the creative accounting methods used to pay dividends during the period.
and Goldfinch, A.J.
How steam locomotives really work. Oxford University Press, 2000. 348pp.
Bill Hoole: engineman extraordinary. London: Ian Allan, 1974.
P.W.B. Semmens. Technological change. Locomotive Practice and Performance.
Rly Mag., 1981, 127,
Marked change over from Nock to Semmens: includes an appreciation of Nock's work.