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Freight trains - Great Britain: books - by region

Illustrated books on freight trains and the rolling stock in service in the various region's of Great Britain.

Rail Freight - Scotland

In the early 1980s, Ravenscraig steel works was the biggest source of rail freight north of the border, handling iron ore, coal, lime and scrap, as well as semi-finished and finished products. Opencast coal was thriving and would even lead to some lines re-opening later in the decade.
Wagonload freight was still providing a service on some rural lines, not least the Far North line where many intermediate stations still handled general freight, such as seed potatoes and fertiliser.

Today, Ravenscraig is a distant memory and coal is no longer carried by rail anywhere in Scotland. Wagonload freight has also disappeared, despite some attempts to revive the concept in the early 2000s.
However, in a few areas, rail freight has done well. The cement works at Oxwellmains is a big user of rail and Grangemouth refinery still produces three trainload flows. Intermodal traffic has grown substantially, with several regular Anglo-Scottish flows on the West and East Coast main lines as well as internal movements to Aberdeen and Inverness.

Illustrated with over 160 photographs, many of which are previously unpublished, this volume looks at the changing face of rail freight in Scotland. It details the changes in traction, rolling stock and railway infrastructure over four decades.

Author:Paul Shannon
Specs:96 pages, 23.5 x 17.5 x 1.3 cm / 9.25 x 6.9 x 0.51 in, paperback
Illustrations:160+ b&w and colour photographs
Publisher:Key Publishing Ltd (GB, 2022)
Book: Rail Freight - Scotland

Rail Freight - Scotland

Language: English

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Rail Freight - Yorkshire and North East England

NEW

Forty years ago, large areas of Yorkshire and the North East were criss-crossed by freight-only lines, many of them serving the heavy industries that had brought prosperity to the railways decades earlier. Classes 25 and 40 were enjoying their last few years of service in the early 1980s, while the unique Class 76s on the Woodhead route and Class 13 'master and slave' shunters at Tinsley lasted until 1981 and 1985 respectively.

The Class 37s still had plenty of life left in them, especially in the North East where they worked most coal trains and a share of other traffic, too. Often overlooked were the humble Class 08 shunters, busying themselves not just in marshalling yards but also sometimes on short main-line trips.

Today's rail freight scene may be less varied, but it still thrives where there are large tonnages to be moved regularly from A to B. As in most parts of Britain, rail freight haulage these days is dominated by the Class 66, but the uniformity is relieved by numerous livery styles, reflecting not only the different freight operators but also some of the customers that they serve.
Also, the Class 60s have made a comeback in some surprising areas, notably the GB Railfreight biomass trains out of Tyne Dock. Classes 70, 56 and, very occasionally, 68 all bring added interest. The wagon fleet, likewise, is more standardised, but arguably more colourful than it ever has been.

Illustrated with over 160 photographs, this book looks at Yorkshire and the North East's varied freight scene over the last 40 years.

Author:Paul Shannon
Specs:96 pages, 24 x 17 x 1.3 cm / 9 x 6.7 x 0.51 in, paperback
Illustrations:160+ b&w and colour photographs
Publisher:Key Publishing Ltd (GB, 2023)
Book: Rail Freight - Yorkshire and North East England

Rail Freight - Yorkshire and North East England

Language: English

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Rail Freight - North West England

This book illustrates the changing face of rail freight in North West England over 40 years. During that time the traction and wagon fleets have been almost completely replaced, freight trains have become heavier and less frequent, the amount of shunting and trip working has been dramatically reduced, and most small freight terminals have closed.

Perhaps the most striking loss has been freight from the oil and chemicals complex around Ellesmere Port and Stanlow and the former ICI complex around Northwich has lost almost all its rail traffic.
On the Cumbrian coast, just nuclear traffic remains after the loss of coal, steel and chemicals traffic. However, not all the change has been negative: we now have biomass on rail, increased intermodal traffic and significant growth in stone traffic from the Buxton area.

Illustrated with over 150 stunning photographs, many of which are previously unpublished, this volume looks at the evolution of rail freight in specific localities, detailing the changes in traction, rolling stock and railway infrastructure over four decades.

Author:Paul Shannon
Specs:96 pages, 24.5 x 17 x 0.9 cm / 9.7 x 6.7 x 0.35 in, paperback
Illustrations:150 b&w and colour photographs
Publisher:Key Publishing Ltd (GB, 2020)
Book: Rail Freight - North West England

Rail Freight - North West England

Language: English

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Rail Freight - South West England

From the intricate china clay operations in Cornwall to the major limestone quarries of the Mendips, rail freight has maintained a vibrant presence across the counties of South West England. However, the changes in traffic patterns and day-to-day operations have been substantial.
In the early 1980s, china clay was still carried in elderly wooden-bodied wagons from about a dozen loading points, with much shunting and short-distance trip working. Gradually, the operation has been modernised and streamlined, although even the latest generation of rolling stock is now over 30 years old.
The Mendip quarries have a different story to tell, as here the railway has fully exploited its natural strength by moving ever-greater quantities of stone to terminals across southern England. Meanwhile, many small-scale freight flows have disappeared as the railway has moved to full trainload operation.

Illustrated with over 160 carefully chosen photographs, many of which are previously unpublished, this volume looks at the changing face of rail freight in South West England. It details the changes in traction, rolling stock and railway infrastructure over four decades.

Author:Paul Shannon
Specs:96 pages, 24.5 x 17 x 1.2 cm / 9.7 x 6.7 x 0.47 in, paperback
Illustrations:160 b&w and colour photographs
Publisher:Key Publishing Ltd (GB, 2020)
Book: Rail Freight - South West England

Rail Freight - South West England

Language: English

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Freight Trains of the Western Region in the 1980s

From coal trains in South Wales to clay trains in Cornwall, there were still large numbers of unfitted and vacuum-braked wagons of various types in use across the Western Region at the start of the 1980s.
However changes were taking place, and by 1984 the traditional wagon-load freight network had disappeared, and with it many yards were closed or rationalised. The replacement Speedlink Network conveyed modern air-braked wagons, many of them privately owned. Company block trains also connected freight customers across the Region, hauled by a variety of loco classes.

Between 1980 and 1986 Kevin Redwood was working in the Area Freight Centre at Bristol with a particular interest in freight traffic. On his days off he frequently travelled across the region to photograph the changing scene. His journeys took him to busy mainline locations like Didcot, as well as more obscure locations in South Wales and the West Country.

Author:Kevin Redwood
Specs:96 pages, 23.5 x 16.5 x 0.8 cm / 9.25 x 6.5 x 0.31 in, paperback
Illustrations:180 b&w and colour photographs
Publisher:Amberley Publishing (GB, 2021)
Book: Freight Trains of the Western Region in the 1980s

Freight Trains of the Western Region in the 1980s

Language: English

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Rail Freight - Wales and the Borders

The changes to rail freight in Wales and the Borders since the 1980s have been dramatic in many ways and have often been a knock-on effect of huge transformations in the industries that the railway serves, most notably, the coal-mining sector. These have led to a railway with a slimmed-down infrastructure and renewed traction and rolling-stock fleets.

Until the 1980s, coal was still the lifeblood of many railway lines in South Wales. However, one by one, the pits closed, leaving just a handful of surface operations still active in 2020.
The sight and sound of a Class 37 winding its way up a steep-sided valley is now a distant memory. Industrial decline has affected other traffics too, with the loss of the heavy iron ore trains to Llanwern and many other flows.
However, Welsh rail freight is far from dead. Class 60-hauled oil and steel trains still ply the South Wales main line, and there have even been small revivals such as cement from Penyffordd.

Illustrated with over 150 stunning photographs, many of which are previously unpublished, this volume looks at the changing face of rail freight in Wales and the Borders, detailing the changes in traction, rolling stock and railway infrastructure over four decades.

Author:Paul Shannon
Specs:96 pages, 24 x 16.5 x 0.8 cm / 9 x 6.5 x 0.31 in, paperback
Illustrations:160 colour photographs
Publisher:Key Publishing Ltd (GB, 2022)
Book: Rail Freight - Wales and the Borders

Rail Freight - Wales and the Borders

Language: English

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London Rail Freight Since 1985

London's rail freight traffic is dictated by the geography of the city. When railways first came to London, each line was built by a different company seeking to link their area to the capital. There was no through service from one side of London to the other, and indeed the railway companies were prevented from entering the central area of the City and West End.

In order to transfer freight traffic from one company to another, the various railway companies made links to the orbital North London Railway, which ran from Broad Street station in the east to Richmond in the south-west, and also had a route into the east London docks.

Traffic from north to south London was dictated by the River Thames and the need to maintain height for navigation to the upriver docks and wharves. Thus there were no bridges east of London Bridge until Tower Bridge (road) opened in 1894, and no others until the QE2 bridge at Dartford (also road) opened in 1991.
Most cross-river traffic, which these days includes traffic to and from the Channel Tunnel, used the route through Kensington Olympia and the river bridge at Chelsea.

This book takes the freight routes around London geographically, in an anti-clockwise direction, starting in east London north of the Thames and ending in south-east London. It covers the period since 1985 when BR blue gave way to corporate sectors with different liveries and on into privatisation, and shows the various types of locomotives used, and freight traffic carried over this period.

Author:Malcolm Batten
Specs:96 pages, 23.5 x 16.5 x 0.8 cm / 9.25 x 6.5 x 0.31 in, paperback
Illustrations:180 colour photographs
Publisher:Amberley Publishing (GB, 2019)
Book: London Rail Freight Since 1985

London Rail Freight Since 1985

Language: English

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Related titles:

ABC Traction Recognition (Third Edition)

ABC Traction Recognition (Third Edition)

Colin J. Marsden

English | hardback | 296 p. | 2014

abc British Railways Locomotives 1954

abc British Railways Locomotives 1954 (Combined Volume)

Ian Allan Publishing

English | hardback | 256 p. | 2020

Miniature Railway Locomotives and Rolling Stock

Miniature Railway Locomotives and Rolling Stock

Royston Morris

English | paperback | 96 p. | 2018

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Last update:20-04-2024