Kevin (KPJ) Philip Jones at eighty five

History of British railways before 1923 [a student bibliography]. Glasgow: School of Librarianship, 1958. typescript.
Extremely scarce (possibly unique): see below.
Steam locomotive development: an analytical guide to the literature of British steam locomotive development, 1923-1962. London: Library Association, 1969.
Normally cited as "Jones". In retrospect, the work would have been more valuable if it had concentrated on the professional literature and had covered the entire history. It is still extremely difficult to access the Victorian literature: finding one paper may require looking at half-a-dozen volumes: although this is now being greatly eased by their availability in electronic form at prices vastly greater than can be afforded by an impoverished pensioner. Cox's Speaking of Steam is a useful adjunct, but a more thorough trawl would still be of great value (unfortunately Cox fails to provide full citations). Several authors have clearly made use of this guide without acknowledging it in their work. Described as "scarce" by secondhand purveyors: one copy was quoted at £22!. Access to the early literature is also hindered by the trashing of the Internet into the hands of greedy present day Robert Maxwells like the Sage organization, but there were small glimmers of hope. Some of the search engines are a disgrace and the automatic abstracts are primitive as compared with what could be achieved via the application of artificial intelligence..

Brief biography

The Jones family bathed in the Cam at Grantchester to celebrate my eightieth. Eileen was highly dubious of this adventure, but the sun shone and only one grandchild was absent (on her first trip abroad) and most of the daughters entered the Cam and prevented an aged pair heading for the Wash. It is now very clear that no formal account of life's adventures is going to appear other than herein: so the muddle of a life follows (and will be modified as it is jogged by articles like that by Geoffrey Skelsey in the March 2016 Backtrack: the 10 o'clock to Manchester fails to get a mention so read on, or do a control F to non-stop to Harrow.

Kevin was born at about the same time as the A4 Pacifics, on 21 July 1935. His birth was registered at Harrow-on-the-Hill and the certificate bears a  George V stamp: very John Betjeman. He was taken to Newquay (Cornwall) by train in June 1939, but has no memory of the Great Western in its great days, although he retains vivid memories of Crantock and enamel bowls of clotted cream and of being bored at Mass in the Catholic Church. He spent some of his early childhood in Potters Bar where his sister Mary was born in May 1941 (died Christmas 2005). His favourite walk was alongside the railway line between Potters Bar and Brookmans Park where he saw express locomotives hauling long freights. The family later moved to Edinburgh in time to see the Gresley P2 class (first seen on a holiday in Dundee in 1941: Cock o' the North arriving on the train joined for the return journey) (the most magnificent locomotives ever seen by him), the LMS streamlined Pacifics in both their blue and red liveries, the Sentinel railcars and to travel on the Balerno branch. He also loved the Edinburgh trams and the Edinburgh hills. He also has vague memories of long tedious journeys between Edinburgh and London to see his grandmother in Charlton..

Kevin made his First Holy Communion at St./Cuthbert's Church in Slateford and very shortly after was Confirmed taking the Confirmation Name of Peter as he hoped that he might acquire a rock-like Faith and Edinburgh impresses by rock being everywhere.Thus he can claim the City as his Spiritual Home and his whole being tingles at the thought of approaching the City from any direction, although he considers the Eastern approach, whether by rail or by road to be the finest, but the train has the edge as it is both faster and precipitates the passenger right in the heart. The Waverley Steps, now modernized with the assistance of his son-in-law, Richard Wild, lead right onto Princes Street with its wonderful trams now restored complete with the magic of bells. 

A highly memorable event occurred during 1944. Kevin and his father were queueing to travel on the 10 o'clock from Waverley to King's Cross (having left my mother and sister to join us later) when my mother arrived in considerable distress to warn us that shs had received a telegram from my grandmother in Charlton warning us not to travel implying, so far as censorship permitted, that it would be too dangerous to travel. This was at the start of the V1 doodlebug attacks on South East England which destroyed Charlton station on 23 June 1944, at 15.00 hrs, (REC records courtesy John Helm: see Backtrack, 21, 678): station severely damaged, lesser damage to signal boxes & empty emus. 3 passengers & one other individual killed, 2 railway workers injured. Delays 14 hours, 42 minutes. This was ten days into the campaign and Kevin had always assumed that this message came before the attack on Charlton Station (now he is not so sure). His grandmother was thrown during the attack, and it is probable that her relatively early death was due to this event. Subsequently, Kevin was horrified at the total destruction of the station, and on a subsequent journey sourh when taken by his uncle by car from King's Cross to Charlton he was overpowered by the stench from the huge piles of rubble  in South East London

He spent some of the early post-war period commuting between Bexleyheath and Blackheath (the extraordinary variety of the Southern Electric rolling stock with even the possibility of travel in a saloon was a source of amazement): at the latter he saw the wonderful sight of a West Country Pacific in malachite green. At this time he took an interest in the shipping on the River Thames, mainly as viewed from the promenade at Erith. Thames barges with their huge red sails were still relatively common and there was always activity at the wharf with Cory colliers being unloaded. At this time there were still trams to Abbey Wood and he delighted in riding on the single track section through Plumstead to Woolwich and through the change pit (overhead to conduit) at Woolwich...

His father was then moved to Manchester at the behest of George Dow (just in time to see the last of its traditional trams which were utterly delapidated compared with those in Edinburgh and London). This brought the advantage of first class travel, and commuting (3rd class) from Greenfield to Manchester Exchange which put him off the LMS for ever (being punished for being late due to the failings of steam traction, so vastly inferior to the Southern electric).

Sometimes I am tempted to consider the transfer from the South East to the North West as a dreadful interuption, but it did introduce me to the Pennines and to the Great Central, including departure on the other 10 o'clock (not those from King's Cross or Euston), but the one from Marylebone usually powered by an A3 (the apple green Sir Frederick Banbury), first stop Harrow-on-the-Hill with its London Transport signage, then syncopating its way up into the Chilterns and down to Aylesbury. Stops were made at Rugby (no sign of a town at the rustic station), Leicester (trams glimpsed on the way in), Nottingham (deep beneath the City); Staveley and Sheffield. Motive power was changed at both Leicester and at Sheffield (B1 was the norm) then up to Penistone and through Woodhead Tunnel to Manchester London Road.

The first journey to Manchesterv was on The Comet from Euston with a black rebuilt Scot which ran via Stoke where the smoke began. The dining car reeked of gas. This was my first long journey on what had been the LMS. Euston and Manchester Exchange did not impress. The weird exit from the tube at the former was just the beginning of a strange jumble with notices noting arrivals sometimes hours late and black, dirty engines: the malachite green on the Southern seemed to be on a different planet.

Even the Delph Donkey (see Goddard below) and the joys of Delph Junction signal box (where Bill Hobson allowed him to shift the typical LNWR signal levers for the signals, but not for the points) could not cure this ill-feeling towards the tawdry LMS and the filthy, decrepid Manchester. To avoid too much of the LMS he tended to return on the 16.47 Manchester Exchange to Hull which stopped at Greenfield and was formed of LNER stock including Gresley buffet car. The motive power was varied: unrebuilt Patriots led to a late evening meal. Royal Scots (unrebuilt or rebuilt) ensured a prompt arrival. Rear end assistance was provided by former SDJR 2P 4-4-0 635/40635, but latterly this was dropped if a 7P was at the front.

On one highly memorable occasion the rebuilt Scot slipped massively as it left Greenfield station. This was in darkest winter and by this time I had crossed the railway and was in Ladcastle Road and able to view the awesome spectacle as red hot coal and flame was ejected from the two chimneys and flames flew from the rails. It was like a volcano in the depths of the Pennines, but eventually the crew tamed the beast and the train limped slowly towards Diggle.

Goddard, Larry and Wells, Jeffrey. Delph (Saddleworth and Greenfield) to Oldham, including Lees motive power depot, motor trains and the OA&GB to Ashton. Bredbury: Foxline, c2005. 160pp.  (Scenes from the past: 49)
Covers the Delph Donkey and its motive power: most of photographs are by Jim Davenport: many of this excellenet photographer's prints were given to young Kevin by Bill Hobson. This book resolves many of Kevin's unanswered questions about the rolling stock, notably the Oerlikon-like trailers were only "like", and not as thought (by Kevii) redundant vehicles from London. The photograph of 46156 The South Wales Borderer from Moorgate crossing was not hauling the 09.00 Liverpool to Newcastle as this was always formed from the best rolling stock: the train would appear to be a return working of a relief formed in Newcastle probably at Easter: the stock is very inferior former LNER vehicles. There is a disappointing lack of illustrations of LNWR motive power, but the brief use of L&YR 2-4-2Ts on the Donkey is illustrated: they seemed to arrive at the same time as the carmine and cream trailer and showed that railways used to be capable of producing strange combinations of motive power and rolling stock to amuse its passengers.. . :

National Service was spent in railwayless Cyprus, following basic training at Halifax (aptly named for its associations with Hull and Hell). En route to Cyprus he stayed in the underground transit camp at Goodge Street next to the Northern Line:: very odd to hear tube trains passing in adjecent tunnel. Returned from Cyprus on Empire Clyde which picked up last of Canal Zone troops in Port Said and landed us in Liverpool. Residue of service spent at Aldershot which enabled him to explore much of the  former LSWR and which gave him a great admiration for a railway system (1956) which worked, including the intensive steam services, in a way that the former LMS did not (the 21.25 Euston to Glasgow was a dreadful train which stopped all over the place and seemed to view its destination with fear and postponed its arrival for about twelve hours). The Bulleid Pacifics hauled trains which ran to time and lesser services were operated by old 0-4-4Ts and 4-4-0s which did everything more efficiently than more modern motive power used elsewhere, notably the LMR..

Following National Service he found that his parents had moved to Glasgow and there he became a librarian and explored its extensive tramway system, and the steam underground. Briefly he saw, and photographed (see home page) the wonderful Duchess Pacifics in glorious red.

Here he found the strange delights of St Enoch station where his father worked in a Dickensian office reached off the main departure platform and where his late sister, Mary, had her wedding reception in the Hotel on 29 June 1963. On a happier note he has vivid memories of his wife-to-be wearing her engagement ring just before Christmas 1960 on the InterCity DMU which left at 21.00 to connect at Stranraer with the boat for Ulster (she changed at Kilwinning for her train home to West Kilbride). Some journeys to the Coast had involved haulage by 2P 4-4-0s stopping at many stations: the journey was nearly as slow as that by Western SMT.

In 1961 he married Eileen (they met at the Scottish School of Librarianship: her bibliographical effort was on dogs and a certain person suggested that the Barking Library had a specialist collection on this topic) and they moved to Wakefield to a brand-new semi-detached house (price: £1995)  from which it was possible to hear and feel the A4s as they blasted their way up on the final leg into Leeds (Eileen thought that the A4s were the latest form of motive power). Soon these were replaced by the highly vocal Deltics. It was here that he began work on Steam locomotive development under the generous guidance of George Ottley..

Before leaving traditional librarianship: i.e. public librianship it is worth remembering the huge amount of effort which was placed in supplying books to meet the needs of councillors, aspiring MPs, and chief officials. These were not the needs of the burgh engineer's to prevent the collapse of the town hall, but to provide holiday relaxation. The trip to the burgh waterworks was associated with far stronger beverages, but the Association of Assistant Librarians did enjoy jolly good teas in the town halls. Were those duck houses castigated by the extremely honest Torygraph any worse? My father seemed to think that the press required more lubricant than any run down West Country Pacific.

In 1965 they moved to Welwyn Garden City where for a long time they could hear the Deltics from their garden and Kevin worked as an information officer for the Malaysian rubber industry. His immediate boss was Peter Allen whose obituary (written by one  of his sons and published in The Times summaries his scientific achievements,, but does not mention his wife and family). Here Kevin had the great good fortune to meet Alex Moulton who used the expression "if it looks right it is right" in relationship to one of his automotive suspension systems. Kevin became interested in the use of rubber in railway applications assisted by the presence of the very great engineer Dr Peter Lindley who was one of the very few where it was possible to quantify his work in terms of increased uptake of natural rubber. Other activities of great personal interest to Kevin whilst he was at MRPRA were the development of buildings capable of being isolated from earthquakes (a highlight at the end of his career was standing in one such building looking across to the Java Sea before any thought of a tsunami). The greater uptake of this superb technique could save many lives and alleviate much suffering. He was also interested in the potential for rubber trees to act as a sink for carbon dioxide to reduce global warming, and had earlier been interested in mapping global ambient ozone levels.

Kevin developed information retrieval systems using feature cards and thesuari, then computerized information systems which used automatic indexing. He was a member of the Aslib Co-ordinate Indexing Group where he met Leo Jolley, an entrepreneur who sold feature card systems and had been recruited to Bletchley Park from his Cambridge College (he never told me this, but I learnt from Margaret Masterman). When Kevin realised that feature cards could be used in code breaking he naively told Leo this who shut up like a clam on hearing this. Kevin was forever grateful to Leo for him introducing him to the fast exit from Cambridge to Welwyn Garden City via the Water Tower (on the A1).

Kevin was also involved in very early online information gathering using an acoustic  coupler and a computer which required to be booted up using sense switches and paper tape. The output was solely in upper case. The system was known as MORPHS. He was also partly responsible for instigating the Aslib Informatics conferences. At the first of these in 1973, Kevin read a paper by Alan J. Mayne on the use of directed graphs as the basis for classification. Margaret Masterman found this very exciting and repeatedly interupted the presentation (which was not easy as the paper was "difficult"). In rertospect Mayne's work might be regarded as a precuror of hypertext and the remarkable web structures which can be created with it. During the early 1960s he became convinced that eventually all scientific and technological literature would exists solely in electronic form and later talked of an "electronic brick". Both these concepts now exist, although the bricks are microscopic in size and dangle around the necks of his grandchildren!

1995 was a pivotal year. On 31 May they had parked on the beach at Polzeath and enjoyed sufing in a brilliant sea; then gone to see John Betjeman's grave st St. Enodoc when they saw the hazard lights of emergency vehicles and feared that someone had drowned back at Polzeath. It was only in the evening that they discoved that the Maria Assumpta had gone onto the Manacles and that three had drowned

Latterly he was the Secretary to the International Rubber Research and Development Board (IRRDB). In this latter capacity he even managed to see some rubber trees, but managed to see few railway systems, but the experience of a live volcano more than compensated for this. It was in this post that he developed his first website and realised its power for the rapid transfer of news. He contributed both to the literature on rubber, to information retrieval, and latterly on global warming. He flew many miles to advocate the development of rubber tree cultivation to save the planet. His final paper on this topic was presented at at "international" conference in Cambridge where the American Administration (alias the Texan oil industry) had withdrawn funding for American "academics" to attend. Needless to relate a certain person travelled to the event by car in spite of the excellent train service. At Welwyn Garden City Kevin developed a great affection for the Deltics, the HSTs and the class 313 electrics and their eccentric behaviour. For all his love of steam trains journeys are best made via electric traction which can accommodate electricity production from solar, wind, nuclear and as a last resort from burning fossil fuel. Even battery power is possible..

In his IRRDB days Kevin attended one International Rubber Study Group (IRSG) meeting held at the Adelphi Hotel in Liverpool. The Hotel was also host to a huge flock of Anglican Bishops, all wearing their traditional red. These seemed to fill every lift. At the same time a BBC film team was making a documentary about the Hotel in which the colourful International delegates make several appearances. One of the high points for the film team was an indoor barbeque which filled the entire hotel with smoke. All the delegates feature at some point: some even spoke to camera. Not one bishop is seen: the Church of England must have mandated that no association was to be made between them and the rubber conference. The Hotel was magnificent in a faded way: there was a wonderful swimming pool in the basement; the bedrooms were magnificent; the food was pretty good (but not as good as in Mexico or in Bali) and the staff were helpful and fun (as emerged in the docusoap). It was also central: the porters met the delegates off the rather tacky Virgin trains from London. One poor soul travelled by train from Manchester Airport to Lime Street and had expected something better than a dog kennel on four wheels which stopped at every lamp-post.

Kevin retired to West Runton  on All Saints Day in 2001 . He is a Catholic, and member of the wonderful congregation at St Joseph's Catholic Church in Sheringham. The building is extremely beautiful and brings him great joy every time that he enters it, and where services are liable to be interupted by the sound of steam whistles from the nearby North Norfolk Railway!. He lives in West Runton in the most moutainous part of Norfolk where snow lies for days longer than in exotic Sheringham. Other joys are the Scottish accent of his wife, four daughters and nine grandchildren (happy the man who lives to see his children's children). In 2020 he added a great grandson (James Oscar) to  the collection who was seen reading Thomas the Tank Engine via the Internet. He required major retubing during the winter of 2009 at Papworth, but now appears to enjoy a new boiler certificate.

Ksvin remains a railway and tramway lover: the latter is difficult in East Anglia. In late September 2019 he enjoyed travel to Edinburgh. Outward by HST via Newcastle, Carlisle & Beattock. The journey up the Tyne in the late afternoon light was extremely beautiful: the fast flowing river alongside, the Nortumbrland countryside and just a hint of the Roman Wall. Down the otherside one had long views into Scotland. After a long pause in Carlisle for being ahead of time was followed by a fast run up Beattock, but not nearly as fast as by our only trip north by Pendolino, followed by an early arrival in Edinburgh. Before return Eileen met her old school sixth formers in Paisley and I wandered north to Dundee: outward by prosaic 170 class DMU and back by a four coach HST at lightning speed with stops only at Leuchars (for St. Andrews) and Haymarket (briefly visited by tram with bell rung at every opportunity) before setting forth over the Forth and the Tay  Bridges to where Dad had been born in 1901 in South Tay Street with the Catholic Cathedral at the foot of the road. the remarkable V&A building was also visited, but the permanent exhibition pays far too little attention to Scottish locomotive building and the models of ships dismally fails to attain the heights achieved in the former Glasgow shipping offices. In 2020 we were fortunatte to return to Arran, driven by our eldest grandson, and were treated to the appearance of young James: his first Scottish trip.

Kevin's wife, Eileen, brought the following to his attention. It is a fair interpretation of Kevin's normal state in West Runton when the sun is not shining and he is not in the sea. Penelope Lively obviously knows Kevin and here she is (again in Family Album) describing his frustrations with the library service and in the final incomplete state of work at the time of his fatal heart attack..

Kevin sometimes writes poetry. This is like his photographs and writing is not very good: a little of it is out here

Glyn works, amid this tide of paper — books, periodicals, offprints, maps. He reads and writes, he marshals information, he interprets and reinterprets. Even when he takes a break he is pondering the route of a canal, the advance of a railway; as he makes a cup of coffee, river systems are imposed upon the kitchen counter; as he walks to the shop to buy a newspaper he is considering connections and survivals.

Lively, Penelope: The photograph. London: Penguin Books, 2004.

Charles is writing. He doesn't feel too bad today – so thoughts come, words. He is having a mild attack of concurrence as his glance roams along the books on his shelves and falls upon names: Carlyle, Freud, Browne, Shelley, Stendhal, Malinowski . .. all these disparate dead people who rub shoulders with one another and are present still because he notices them. Everything – everybody – carrying on concurrently. This notion has always interested him. Long, ago he thought it might be the subject of his magnum opus, but he has never been able to get a sufficient grip on it, to. gamer enough material; so the magnum opus has never come about, in that or any other form.

He doubts that it ever will. In fact he knows it won't. But there is no reason not to get down a few thoughts, on one of the better days when these still occur.

Accordingly he writes.

'Thomas Carlyle died in (check date); (check sp. first name) Malinowksi died in (check date). These men lived far apart at different times, their intellectual concerns were in no way related, but their posthumous existence is concurrent – they are a part of the furnishings of my mind. Looking out of my window I can see a tree that I know to be an ilex (check botanical name), a tree of Mediterranean origin mentioned by Virgil (check reference), who also now joins this disembodied throng in a room in an English house in 2008. But the house is not of 2008 – its bricks and mortar, its stained glass, the marble floor of its hall, date from the 1890S, thus introducing a further element of displacement, of concurrence.'

Charles stops writing,' distracted; there is a more immediate concern.

KPJ: There is a marvellous moment earlier in the novel where poor Charles, father of six, opts to go to the local library in the London suburbs rather than going to the British Library, and of course fails to find what he is looking for. Oh for a London suburban library in bibliographiacl Breckland!

Lively, Penelope: Family album. London: Fig Tree, 2009.

Kevin's approach to railway and locomotive history should be all-too-evident within this website. His first love was the Gresley locomotive, especially the P2 and A4 classes. The former was but briefly seen but made a huge impression. He was also fortunate to glimpse the LMS Pacifics in both their original blue and red streamlined forms, and later to see them in their magnificent BR red (Brunswick green looked correct on a clean Great Western locomotive and on a gleaming Britannia, and nothing else). He can remember the original vision of a Southern Pacific in malachite green sparkling in the sunshine, and of Schools, A3s and B1s in comparable glory. Those post-war glimpses of the Brighton Atlantics, especially Trevose Head in malachite and the special run for the Doncaster Plant Centenary on 20 September 1953 of the preserved Ivatt Atlantics were also memorable (see Backtrack, 2019, 33, 252) and only served to show what had been missed before the sombre funeral rites under BR.

Branch lines were another love: the Great Western did them better than anyone else, but I knew the Delph Donkey better than any other, and had seen and travelled on the wonderful Balerno branch. Now I can appreciate the Sheringham branch off the mainline to Cromer which serves the beautiful West Runton stopping place maintained by the local WI. The new electro-diesel articulated units incorporate a safety step which makes it possible for the aged to board and alight in safety. The staff on this service are at least as friendly as those on the old Great Western and unlike those trains most of the Bittern Line services are well-filled especially on Saturdays when people travel to the seaside from Norwich. They still would at Hornsea or Withernsea, or might to Clacton or Brighton if weekend service were not disrupted in favour of uncivil engineering..

The Environment of classification: the concept of mutual exclusivity. J. Am. Soc. Inf. Sci., 1973, 24, 157-63.
The Environment of classification: Part 2. How we classify. J. Am. Soc. Inf. Sci., 1974, 25, 44-51.

Steam World letter: 'BR's standards...'

A generous Editor of Steam World enabled Kevin to encapsulate some of his views on later locomotive design policy: this was nominally in response to a stimulating feature Was Riddles Right? by L.A. Summers in January Issue.  There is an engineering maxim that "if it looks right, then it probably is right" (which the writer first heard from Alex Moulton, the inventor of the eponymous bicycle and the suspension for the original Mini). Thus Summers has some justification for bringing locomotive appearance into focus. I can remember my friend school friend, Carl, running over to me to come and see the remarkable new locomotive in the carriage sidings at Blackheath: it was a Bulleid light Pacific in Malachite green. Yes, it was a wonderful sight, as was the first viewing of a Britannia at Liverpool Street, also in its initial glory. Both Pacifics brought a new look, and the Riddles design team was by and large successful in producing good looking locomotives: in my own opinion, the Pacifics and the class 4 tank were especially successful in this respect.
Summers is certainly correct to question whether the Standards were required at all, and whether, if any, they should have been of a different type. He is on more dangerous ground in suggesting long narrow grates: these would have been successful on the Western Region, but would have been far less so on those areas burning Yorkshire coal. On the Settle & Carlisle line the A3 class was far more successful than either the Britannia or Royal Scot classes. Indeed the A3s tended to out-perform the class 45 diesel-electrics on that route. Readers questioning the "difficulties" of the Gresley Pacifics should read McKillop's Lighted Flame where he commends Gresley's designs for their ease of preparation with no need to lubricate inside valve gear: an operation which was both difficult and dangerous. There has been a tendency to deride locomotive design on the LNER, but there was far greater boiler standardization than on the LMS, and Hewison (Locomotive boiler explosions) notes that no explosions occurred on LNER designs (the Duchesses were especially accident-prone in this respect, probably due to their limited numbers and inexperienced footplate crews and maintenance staff).
The greatest waste in the Riddles programme was that nobody appaered to make any real attempt to identify what was needed. Certain bad operating practices remained almost to the end of steam. Long ago Stirling and Ivatt had attempted to erradicate one of them: double-heading. Only on the Somerset & Dorset was this wasteful practice partially eliminated by the new motive power, namely through employing the 9F class.
The small locomotives were not needed. Diesel railcars should have been built right from the start. There was no programme to retain tramcars and trolleybuses, or to develop steam lorries to limit imports of crude oil. Why should railways continue to use obsolete motive power on marginal lines? Light steam locomotives, if needed at all, should have been restricted to freight, and should have been as cheap as possible: something like a modernised J15 would have done. But one suspects that a go-faster standard diesel electric shunter might have been vastly more economical.
Certain lines, most notably the Great Eastern section, needed more powerful locomotives, and the Britannia class was highly successful in that respect: a sort of successful P2. One of the greatest "why didn't theys" must be why the V2 design was not adapted for use on the Great Eastern? A two-cylinder version would have needed new cylinders, but would have been lighter and Doncaster under Thompson had become adept at such conversions.
The Bulleid Pacifics were known to be troublesome: the light Pacifics should have been converted into far better "Clans" due to their superior and "more standard" boilers. They would not have been as good as the Jarvis design, but would have formed an excellent basis for a standard low cost Pacific. Boiler standardisation under Riddles and Stanier was a chimera. To obviate double-heading on the WCML required far more Pacifics. Ideally these should have been of the Stanier type as they would have been more standard within their domain. A small number fitted with dual left/right hand drive might have been excellent on the Western Region.
The 9F has not been mentioned: a 2-8-2 would have been more versatile. If a 2-10-0 really was required then the boiler from this should have been used on the Pacific classes and one boiler design would have been saved. The overall standardization concept was completely ruined by this dithering. Churchward, the standardising genius would not have been amused at the inept attempts made to follow the policy instigated by him.
Finally, a closer look should been made at existing orders. The LNER K1 design was excellent and cheap, and was certainly worth perpetuating. Modifications should have been made right from the start. Orders for the anchronistic Great Western types should have been modified to incorporate external valve gear and modern cabs. The orders for the 94XX class should have been replaced by the far more versatile Austerity tank design (if necessary fitted with pannier tanks and twin whistles), or by some of the so-called standard designs. Incidentally, delivery of the former would have been far quicker. One further thought (not in published letter): the 4-8-0 would have been rough riding, prone to frame cracking, and might not have been tolerated at Liverpool Street.


Someone requested a copy: so here it is. The original was on foolscap and was duplicated. In general the original text has been retained, but underlining has been replaced by italics. Bill Tyler's Secretary thought the task of duplicating these student efforts was a task beneath her dignity and some errors had to be corrected, notably Grimling and constituents where a tutu was introduced. In general this is as was, but a few errors are corrected. It obviously pre-dated Ottley. The bibliography was compiled from the extensive resources of the Mitchell Library in Glasgow and from a brief visit to the Scottish Region's wonderful Archive in Waterloo Place, Edinburgh under the genial guardianship of Mr Hogg. A return visit to the Mitchell Library in August 2007 was a culture shock as the new library has grown on the site of the old St Andrew's Halls. It is like the British Library in that there are loos on every floor, and an excellent, licensed restaurant (what would the Victorians have made of that?). Sadly access to the Library's riches is still via microfiche copies of the old guardbook catalogue and these are difficult to read. In recompense delivery of items from the stack is far faster than that at the British Library or at the Millennium "Library" in Norwich. Perhaps the Mitchell is in secret competition with the Edinburgh Central Library where items emerge remarkably quickly carried by their helpful staff.. I also note that I had not "discovered" the professional society engineerin journals, not even that of the Insitution of Locomotve Engineers..


Peddie, R.A.
Railway literature, 1556-1830; a handlist. 1931.
Books, pamphlets and periodical titles arranged in chronologica1 order by year of publication. Includes 1ocations in principal British libraries. Index of personal names and railway companies.

Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration. Baker Library.
A tentative check-list of early European railway literature, 1831-1848; prepared by Daniel Haskell. 1955.
Acts as a continuation to R.A. Peddie's Railway literature, Arranged chronologically by year of publication.

National Book League.
Railroadiana. 1952.
Catalogue of an exhibition of British and foreign railway books, prints and other relics. Covers 291 books divided into broad subject sections - including one for railway histories.

Thomas, C.E.
Collection of railway book, railroadiana, etc. 1931.
An annotated sale catalogue for a British enthusiast's collection. Gives full collations for books.


Fowler, G.L.
Locomotive dictionary: an illustrated vocabulary of terms which designate American railway locomotives, their parts, attachments, and details of construction, with definitions and illustrations of typical British locomotive practice. 1909.
5266 illustrations and diagrams.

Glossary of railway terms, prepared from Sekon's dictionary of railway words and phrases. (In: Railway Year Book. 1906 and 1907).


Bradshaw's railway manual, shareholders' guide and official directory. 1848-
For each company listed gives incorporation date, major Acts, length, capital, revenue, and officers. Pre-1923 editions include details about many of the smaller companies later amalgamated.

The Railway Year Book. 1898-1932.
For each main company gives brief historical sketch, financial and other statistics, officials and map. Tabulated information for minor lines. Liveries. Glossary.

Great Britain. Board of Trade.
Annual report of the railway commissioners. 1875-
Reports of cases brought before the commissioners - usually disputes between companies or between railways and other bodies.

Great Britain. Board of Trade.
Annual general report upon the accidents which have occurred on the railways of the United Kingdom. 1841-
Arranged firstly by kind of accident and secondly a report for each company. There is a section of general criticism.


Philips' railway map of the British Isles: with large scale inset maps of the principal industrial centres. 1916.
Each railway is denoted by a different colour.

Railway Clearing House
Official railway map of the Edinburgh and Glasgow District. 1920. Scale: ½" = 1 mile.
Each railway company is represented by a colour. .All stations as well as the major topographical features are shown.

General works

Bucknall, R.
Our railway history. 2nd edition. 1945.
A series of short historical sketches of pre-1923 main lines. Notes on pre-1914 liveries. Tabulated statistics. Bibliography. Large co1oured folding map. 122 illustrations.

Marshall, C.F.D.
A history of British railways down to the year 1830. 1938.
Author was president of the Newcomen Society. The work is arranged geographically. Bibliography. Glossary. Illustrations, maps.

Lewin, H.G.
Early British railways: a short history of their origin and development, 1801-1844. 1925.
Brief chronological description of railways, 1801-36 followed by a year by year account of traffic development, noting particularly the connexion of Parliamentary control and the Board of Trade. 8 maps (4 in colour, some folding).

Lewin, H.G.
The railway mania and its aftermath, 1835-1842. 1936.
Sequel and generally similar to the author's Early British Railways. Gives a general picture of the period's railway atmosphere. 13 coloured maps (some folding) trace the development.

Ellis, C.H.
British railway history, 1830-1876. 1954.
A broad outline suitable for the general reader. first volume of a railway history from 1830-1948. Coloured frontispiece, illustrations (including portraits).

Pratt, E.A.
British Railways and the Great War. 1921. 2v.
Author had access to official information. Covers all aspects from the preparations for war in 1912 until the fmd of control, 1921. In addition to a general survey there is a short account for each major railway. Illustrations (including portraits), maps.

Nock, O.S.
Branch lines. 1957.
An overall historical sketch of branch line development from its inception to the present day. Bibliography. Illustrations maps.

Company histories

MacDermot, E.T.
History of the Great Western Railway, 1927. 2v.
An official history of the company and its constituents from 1833 to 1921. Locomotives and rolling stock are surveyed by E.L. Ahrons for the period 1833-1863, whilst A.C.W. Lowe covers the remaining period. Tabulated chronology of opening dates. Illustrations (including portraits) maps (some folding). Kevin discovered on the early May Bank Holiday 2008 that this entry had an additional "t" at the end of MacDermot: he thinks that he may have to walk to Walsingham bare foot and pray for the repose of the soul of its Author! Mea Maxima culpa..

Marshall, C.F.D. comp.
A history of tne Southern Railway. 1936.
An official history extending from the time of the earliest railways until 1934. Treats each major company amalgamated into the Southern Railway separately, then describes events between 1923 and 1934. Bibliography. Plates (4 coloured), Illustrations (including reproductions of early prints), maps.

Steel, W.L
The history of the London and North Western Railway. 1914.
"A history for the non-technical reader." Illustrations, maps.

Williams, F.S.
The Midland Railway: its rise and progress. 1877.
Consists of a historical survey, a description of the topography and engineering of the line, and a contemporary account of the administration. Illustrated with. engravings.

Grinling, C.H.
The history of the Great Northern Railway, 1845-1895. 1898.
Aims to satisfy the general reader as well as the railway student.

Tomlinson, W.W.
The North Eastern Railway; its rise and development. 1914.
The author wrote many works on Northumbrian history. The work extends from the early waggonways until 1904; a short summary covers the period 1904-1914, Special attention is given to the Stockton and. Darlington Railway. 820 pages. Classified list of illustrations. 18 portraits, 18 maps and plans, diagrams. Includes many reproductions of early prints.

Barclay-Harvey, Sir Malcolm.
A history of the Great North of Scotland Railway. 1940.
A detailed account covering the period 1844-1923. Coloured frontispiece, illustrations, map.

Ellis, C.H.
The North British Railway. 1955.
A history of the railway with the accent on locomotive development. Coloured frontispiece, plates.

Vallance, H.A.
The history of the Highland Railway. 1938.
The author is editor of the Railway Magazine. The work includes a chapter and maps on railways proposed but not constructed. Illustrations, folding maps.

Stephenson Locomotive Society
The Glasgow and South Western Railway, 1850-1923. 1950.
Chronologically arranged notes of principal historical events, followed by more extensive notes on the locomotives, rolling stock, steamers and engineering features. Tabulated information for locomotives. Coloured frontispiece, plates, maps.
Also in the same series:
Caledonian Railway Centenary (1847-1947). 1947.
The Highland Railway Company, and its constituents and successors, 1855-1955. 1955.

Dow, G.
The first railway between Manchester and Sheffield. 1945.
A historicn1 survey issued by the L.N.E.R. to celebrate the centenary of the line. Illustrations, maps.
Others in the series by the same author:
The story of the West Highland. 2nd ed. 1947.
The first railway in Norfolk. 2nd ed. 1947.
The first railway across the border. 1946.
By H.F. Hilton:
The Eastern Union Railway, 1846 to 1862. 1946.

Kidner, R.W.
The Cambrian Railways. 1949.
Gives a brief history and general description of the line, plus much tabulated information for locomotives. Bibliography. Illustrations, maps.
Other works in the Oakwood Library of Railway History
Baker, C. The Metropolitan Railway.
Barrie, D.S. The Rhymney Railway.
Barrie, D.S. and Clinker, C.R. The Somerset and Dorset Railway.
Catchpole, L.T. The Lynton and Barnstaple Railway.
Griffiths, R.P. The Cheshire Lines Railway.
Parkes, G.B. The Hull and Barnsley Railway.
Robbins, M. The Isle of Wight. Railways.
Robbins, M. The North London Railway.
Simmons, J. The Maryport and Carlisle Railway.
Welch, H.D. The London, Tilbury and Southend Railway.

Locomotives and Rolling Stock

Sekon, G.A.
The evolution of the steam. locomotive (1803 to 1898). 2nd ed. 1899.
Author was founder and first editor of the Railway Magazine. Information was supplied by the various British railways. Little previous technical knowledge is required. Illustrations.

London. Science Museum.
Handbook of the collections illustrating land transport. III. Railway locomotives and rolling stock by E.A. Forward. 1931.
Part 1. Historical review giving a brief' outline of locomotive development from 1805 to 1930, divided into ten year sections. Part 2. Catalogue of exhibits. Bibliography. Illustrations.

Ahrons, E.L.
The British steam railway locomotive, 1825-1925. 1927.
Author was a locomotive engineer. A reasoned account prepared from the author' s series of articles in The Engineer for 1925. Maps, tables, diagrams.

Holcroft, H.
An outline of Great Western locomotive practice, 1837-1947. 1957.
The author was employed by the Great Western at Swindon work-shops and designed several of the company's locomotives. Plates.

Carter, E.F.
Britain's railway liveries; co1ours, crests, and. linings, 1825-1948. 1952.
A chronologically arranged reference work for the modeller or historian. The work also includes a list of preserved locomotives and rolling stock. Illustrations (8 in colour). .

Ahrons, E.L.
Locomotive and train working in the latter part of the nineteenth century. 1951-4. 6v.
The work is reprinted from articles in the Railway Magazine for 1915 and 1916 (KPJ 2006: period was somewhat longer). Covers 32 companies in Great Britain and Ireland. Many illustrations of locomotives.

Ellis, C.H.
Nineteenth century railway carriages in the British Isles - from the eighteen-thirties to the nineteen-hundreds. 1949.
The author, whilst not neglecting technicalities, phrases the work in a manner suitable for the general reader. Illustrations, diagrams.

Contemporary Accounts

Whishaw, F.
The railways of Great Britain and Ireland. 1840.
A survey covering all aspects of early railways. Tabulated appendices give lists of locomotives with dimensions, and. results of experiments in haulage with them. Many diagrams of locomotives, rolling-stock, etc.

Francis, J.
A history of the English railway, its sociial relations and revelations, 1820-1845. 1851. 2v.
"An attempt to deve1ope (sic) the origin and progress of the railway system." Includes personal sketches of G. Stephenson, G. Hudson and. IK. Brunel.

Acworth, W.M.
The railways of England. 1889.
The railways of Scotand. 1890.
Descriptive accounts rather than histories.


Lambert, R.S.
The Railway King, 1800-1871, a study of George Hudson and the business morals of his time. 1934.
Illustrations (including portraits) maps. Bibliography .

Smiles, S.
Lives of the engineers (vol. 5); the locomotive (engineers) George and Robert Stephenson. 1874.
The author was assisted in preparing the work by Robert Stephenson. General biography with the accent on engineering achievements. Illustrated by engravings. Portraits.

Trade Unions

McKillop, N.
The lighted flame; a history of the Associated Society of Locomotive Engineers and Firemen. 1950.
The work, which was sponsored by the Society, was written by a former top-link engine driver and editor of British Railways Magazine Illustrations, portraits.


Railway Gazette. 1905- Weekly
Latest world developments for railway officers. The feature 'Scrap Heap' gives brief items of' unusual and historical interest. Reviews. Illustrated.

The Railway Magazine. 1897- Monthly.
A journal for railway enthusiasts, extending to current and historical topics. Specialises in locomotive performance and short histories of branch lines and minor railways. Reviews. Illustrations (some in colour), maps.

The Railway Observer. 1929- Monthly to members of the Railway Correspondence and Travel Society.
Mainly designed to keep railway enthusiasts informed of current events on British railways, but also includes articles on historical topics. Includes photogaphs of the last locomotive in a class. Reviews.

The Railway World. 1939- Monthly.
Mainly articles on locomotive working and railway history with an emphasis towards branch and narrow gauge lines. Intended for the enthusiast.

The Locomotive, Railway Carriage and Wagon Review. 1896-. Monthly.
A technical journal featuring the latest world developments. It also includes articles on British historical railway topics. Book reviews. Illustrations, diagrams.

Stephenson Locomotive Society Journal. 1909 (?)- Monthly to members.
Articles on matters of railway historical interest, especially on British locomotives. Detailed notes on extinct locomotive classes. Illustrations.

Trains Illustrated. 1946- Monthly.
Primarily intended for the younger enthusiast. Many descriptions of various British railways, often including potted histories.

Journal of the Railway and Canal Historica1 Society. 1955-- Bi-monthly.
A duplicated journal pub1shing the results of historical research by amateur enthusiasts (KPJ a professionally produced journal)

The Journal of Transport History. 1953- Semi-annual publication of Leicester University College.
Covers all forms of transport including railways, with the accent on Britain. Notes on contributors. Bibliographies. Reviews. Maps.

Herepath's Railway Journal. 1835-1903. Weekly.
Mainly a financial paper giving stock prices, Parliamentary proceedings and accounts of board meetings. Also gives the progress in railway construction.

The Railway Times and Joint-stock Chronicle. 1837-1914. Weekly.
A financial and managerial paper reporting board meetings. Also includes accounts of new lines and railway accidents.

The Railway Engineer; an illustrated monthly review of the construction, machinery, and administration of railways. 1880-1935.
Covers world railways, but bias on Britain. Folding diagrams.

The photographs of Glasgow St. Enoch (Backtrack, 33, 158) brought memories flooding back especially as she had "lost" her engagement ring at the time I was looking at them (the ring has since been found). We had picked up the ring from a Glasgow jeweller and although the engagement  was from Christmas 1960 she thought that it would be safer on her finger on her journey down to the Coast and safer still on the nine pm Stranraer Boat Train even though that involved a change at Kilwinning. I joined her as far as Paisley and she looked at the diamonds glinting in the light on the InterCity DMU. The Hotel was the venue for my late sister's wedding reception to Brian O'Hagan (who may still be alive). The Station was the location of my father's office reached by stairs down from the main departure platform.

Soap box Letter to Independent on Sunday following Hatfield disaster and still relevant with a bus loving  PM

Underinvestment in the railways
One day trains are rushigg around bends at over 100 mph. A. few days later; following the Hatfield crash; the same trains on the same track are limited to 20mph. Clearly, the travelling public has been exposed to highly dangerous track, or Railtrack has become over-cautious. Much has been said about the chief executive, but does Railtrack have a chief engineer?
The present lmpasse on the East Coast mainlirie could have been mitigated by a modest electrification from Leeds to York, but this was turned down by the Railtrack Board as being of no commercial benefit. I wonder if the inconvenienced passengers of the North-east are aware of this particular folly.
If the same regime that privatised the railways intended to form "Roadtrack" to privatise the rnotorways (a wonderful gift to the ' Treasury), what would public reaction have been to bridge failures and potholes endangering the passage of freight and passengers throughout the country? One assumes that even the greedy, backwoodsmeri of the Conservative Party would, have called for some form of.state intervention. The present incoherent state of the railway industry appears to call for immediate state control.
Welwyn Garden City

Return to Home page

2020-10-04 (amended!)