This website uses affiliate links. When you buy something through these links, we may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you.

< Overview >

Steam locomotives - British Railways: books - history

Illustrated books on the history, models and technology of steam locomotives of British Railways (1948-1968).

British Railways Steam Locomotives 1948 - 1968

In 1948 the newly-created British Railways inherited more than 20,000 steam locomotives from the 'Big Four' companies and from the other smaller railways Nationalised at the same time. Over the next 12 years production of steam locomotives continued, many of which were to pre-Nationalisation designs before the introduction of the new BR Standard classes in 1951. A total of 999 BR standards were built and in addition, more than 750 ex-WD Austerity locomotives were also taken into stock.
Despite the vast numbers though, by the end of 1968 all BR owned locomotives had been withdrawn, and the vast majority consigned to the scrap heap.

First published in 2005, High Longworth's monumental work chronicling each steam locomotive operated by British Railways between 1 January 1948 and the end of main line steam in August 1968 has become a standard work of reference. Since the book's first publication, the author has been updating and correcting the information as new sources emerge which has enabled the publication of a completely revised second edition.

The book includes updated data and illustrations of many of the classes and as a new feature, line drawings of each locomotive class listed in the book.
Covering all the locomotives inherited in 1948 as well as those constructed post-Nationalisation, the book enables the reader to identify precisely the history of each individual locomotive.
Information provided includes technical data, modifications, date of construction, names, date of withdrawal and much more, thus providing the reader with a single-volume reference to the many thousands of steam locomotives operated between 1948 and the end of main line steam in 1968.

Author:Hugh Longworth
Specs:360 pages, 30.5 x 21.5 x 2.6 cm / 12 x 8.5 x 1.02 in, hardback
Illustrations:numerous photographs and drawings
Publisher:Oxford Publishing Co. (GB, 2013)
Book: British Railways Steam Locomotives 1948 - 1968

British Railways Steam Locomotives 1948 - 1968

Language: English

Buy from Amazon UK
Buy from Amazon CA
Buy from Amazon.com

British Railways Steam 1948-1970

Over the 45 years since the last BR steam locomotive was taken out of service, there have been many books and articles devoted to re-threshing the facts in the matter of the Standard classes of steam locomotive, some praising the development of the 'last best chance' for British steam and others suggesting that they were appalling anachronisms, the investment in which would have been better spent on diesels.
Few of those publications actually examine the circumstances in which they were built, not just the engineering considerations but political difficulties and the international and domestic economic situation, not least locomotive development abroad.

In this book, L. A. Summers attempts to do just that, for the first time bringing together as many of the prevailing factors as possible, in the process delivering a stinging criticism of BR management, some of the BR engineers and politicians looking for a quick fix, as well as Whitehall officials determined to impose their views on professional railwaymen.

Author:L. A. Summers
Specs:224 pages, 23.5 x 15.5 x 1.3 cm / 9.25 x 6.1 x 0.51 in, paperback
Illustrations:120 b&w and colour photographs
Publisher:Amberley Publishing (GB, 2014)
Book: British Railways Steam 1948-1970

British Railways Steam 1948-1970

Language: English

Buy from Amazon UK
Buy from Amazon CA
Buy from Amazon.com

British Railways Steam : King's Cross to Aberdeen - From the Bill Reed Collection

Nottingham-based Bill Read was a fireman on steam locomotives in the early part of his working life, eventually graduating to being a driver on diesel-electrics. Much of his spare time has been taken up with photographing (in black and white and using colour slides) many aspects of railways throughout Great Britain, Europe (including the former Iron Curtain countries) and in the USA.

In this selection he has used convenient vantage points on and off the East Coast main line to capture the Indian summer of steam.
Many of the familiar classes of locomotives A1s, A2s, A3s, A4s (and their variants) are featured with pin point sharpness by Bill. But a few early diesels are featured too like the prototype Deltic.
Familiar customs once associated with steam traction are brought to mind again in a collection of over 220 black and white images. An example is seen at Muskham Troughs where Gresley's thirsty engines picked up water in a seemingly primitive but effective way - in the middle of the track - to help speed them on to their respective destinations.

This book is part of one man's life work of photographing the railways and his enthusiasm is evident in every picture.

Author:Peter Tuffrey
Specs:128 pages, 25 x 17 x 0.6 cm / 9.8 x 6.7 x 0.24 in, paperback
Illustrations:220 b&w photographs
Publisher:Fonthill Media (GB, 2012)
Book: British Railways Steam : King's Cross to Aberdeen - From the Bill Reed Collection

British Railways Steam : King's Cross to Aberdeen - From the Bill Reed Collection

Language: English

Buy from Amazon UK
Buy from Amazon CA
Buy from Amazon.com

BR Steam in Colour : London to Aberdeen - From the Bill Reed Collection

This rare and evocative collection of colour photographs from the 1950s and '60s was chosen from many hundreds of 35-mm colour slides taken by veteran railway photographer, Bill Reed, on and off the East Coast Main Line between London and Aberdeen. This was a pivotal moment in the history of locomotion; the archetypal steam engine, an emblem of Britain's national character, was rapidly succumbing to new diesel-powered engineering.

Steam's fading glory is reflected in the grimy condition of many of the locomotives in this collection - a number were photographed on the scrap line - and the contrast of hulking coal hoppers and water tanks to the comparatively slick new diesels is very apparent. But despite the obvious decline of steam locomotion, the engines within these pages are still redolent of an age of industrial magnificence.

Looking back now, Bill says he wishes he had taken many more pictures of steam locomotives, but thankfully he has taken enough to show us why they will always be cherished in photographs and preserved in museums. Paired with Peter Tuffrey's impeccably researched captions, this collection of colour photographs is a fine tribute to the last days of steam.

Author:Peter Tuffrey
Specs:128 pages, 25 x 17.5 x 0.8 cm / 9.8 x 6.9 x 0.31 in, paperback
Illustrations:240 colour photographs
Publisher:Fonthill Media (GB, 2012)
Book: BR Steam in Colour : London to Aberdeen - From the Bill Reed Collection

BR Steam in Colour : London to Aberdeen - From the Bill Reed Collection

Language: English

Buy from Amazon UK
Buy from Amazon CA
Buy from Amazon.com

Search for Steam - British Rail 1951-1962

In the late 1950s, British Railways witnessed a rapid transition in motive power, as diesel and electric traction gained prominence, marking a significant shift from traditional steam locomotives on both passenger and freight services. By 1958, larger diesel locomotives were actively replacing steam counterparts of similar size, even as the production of standard steam designs introduced since 1951 had just concluded.

Charlie Verrall's book captures this transformative era with an array of previously unpublished images. It serves as a captivating homage to the zenith of steam power and a meticulous documentation of a pivotal phase in railway history. Organized by major regions and featuring diverse locations, from scenic linesides to locomotive sheds, Verrall's narrative unveils the varied operations prevalent across the nation during this period.
The book, richly adorned with illustrations depicting locomotives in action and repose, is a compelling exploration of British railway history.

Author:Charlie Verrall
Specs:128 pages, 23.5 x 16.5 x 1.2 cm / 9.25 x 6.5 x 0.47 in, paperback
Illustrations:200 b&w photographs
Publisher:Amberley Publishing (GB, 2019)
Book: Search for Steam - British Rail 1951-1962

Search for Steam - British Rail 1951-1962

Language: English

Buy from Amazon UK
Buy from Amazon CA
Buy from Amazon.com

Search for Steam: British Rail 1963-1966

In early 1963, author and photographer Charlie Verrall, disheartened by the extensive withdrawal of steam locomotives the previous year, reluctantly returned to his passion. From 1963 to 1966, he dedicated himself to documenting the railway scene.

This book follows "Search for Steam: British Rail 1951-1962," delving into the captivating concluding years of steam in Britain. Charlie, through rare and unpublished photographs, chronicles his travels to diverse locations such as Swindon, Bristol, Manchester, and Carlisle.
The narrative unfolds as a nostalgic journey, capturing the essence of the final days of British Rail steam. The book, lavishly illustrated throughout, offers a poignant reflection on the closure of this historic chapter.

Author:Charlie Verrall
Specs:96 pages, 23 x 18 x 0.8 cm / 9.1 x 7.1 x 0.31 in, paperback
Illustrations:200 b&w and colour photographs
Publisher:Amberley Publishing (GB, 2019)
Book: Search for Steam: British Rail 1963-1966

Search for Steam: British Rail 1963-1966

Language: English

Buy from Amazon UK
Buy from Amazon CA
Buy from Amazon.com

Steam in the North - Railways in the 1960s across the North of England

This is a book of previously unpublished images of steam engines at work on the railways of Northern England in the 1960s. Complementing the author's previous books "Steam in the North: Railways in the 1960s across the North of England" covers the Midland and West Coast main lines as well as Lancashire and Yorkshire, as British Railways' working steam fleet approached its end.

Locations include: Carlisle, Darlington, Manchester, Yorkshire, Lancashire, and North Wales.

The images look at the environment for working steam in its final months - the empty fells and rainy platforms, the gritty routine, hardworking freight as well as express passenger services.
They will bring back nostalgic memories for those who remember the railway network in the 1960s, but also appeal to those who enjoy dramatic scenes of the Pennines and the industrial parts of northern England.

Author:Richard Gaunt
Specs:112 pages, 25 x 17.5 x 0.9 cm / 9.8 x 6.9 x 0.35 in, paperback
Illustrations:206 b&w photographs
Publisher:Fonthill Media (GB, 2013)
Book: Steam in the North - Railways in the 1960s across the North of England

Steam in the North - Railways in the 1960s across the North of England

Language: English

Buy from Amazon UK
Buy from Amazon CA
Buy from Amazon.com

Looking Back at Riddles & Ivatt Locomotives

A photographic album depicting the designs of both Robin Riddles CBE and Henry George Ivatt. With 190 colour photographs, the book covers all of their British Railways Standard designs, the Austerities and Class J94s, as well as Ivatt's own designs and modifications to the earlier locomotives from both Fowler and Stanier.

This collection of photographs is sure to bring back wonderful memories of this last great era of steam-locomotive development on British railways.

Author:Kevin Derrick
Specs:96 pages, 23.5 x 16.5 x 1.1 cm / 9.25 x 6.5 x 0.43 in, paperback
Illustrations:120 b&w and colour photographs
Publisher:Amberley Publishing (GB, 2016)
Book: Looking Back at Riddles & Ivatt Locomotives

Looking Back at Riddles & Ivatt Locomotives

Language: English

Buy from Amazon UK
Buy from Amazon CA
Buy from Amazon.com

Related titles:

Locomotives of the Great Northern Railway

Locomotives of the Great Northern Railway

G.F. Bird

English | paperback | 160 p. | 2014

< Top >



Last update:05-04-2024