BRC Website Home
Quainton Virtual Stockbook
Quainton News Archive - Quainton News No. 62 - Spring 1987
Sales Talk [Note 1]
Books of Local Interest in The Junction Railway Shop
The best selling book last year at The Junction Railway Shop was The Brill Tramway by Bill Simpson. Published by OPC and costing £10.95, it describes in detail the branch from Quainton Road to Brill. The author recalls some of the line's characters and presents many facts and figures associated with this rural branch, which had pretensions of being a link between the Metropolis and Oxford. It is lavishly illustrated with well reproduced pictures, as well as drawings of station layouts and numerous other diagrams. There is also a chapter devoted to the main line of the Metropolitan Railway between Aylesbury and Verney Junction.
On the subject of our main line, another best seller is Main Line Lament, subtitled The last years of the Great Central main line to London. This book was first published in 1973 and has now been reprinted by Pendyke Publications. Priced at £15.95, it covers in words and pictures the last twelve years of the Great Central main line to London and traces its decline though the services it operated and how these were affected during its run down.
Published in 1986 by David and Charles was Alan A Jackson's The Metropolitan Railway. Priced at £20.00, this definitive study traces the history of the world's first underground railway from its inception in 1863 to its disappearance into the LPTB seventy years later. This very readable book covers every facet of the company and is illustrated with an interesting selection of original black and white photographs and a series of comprehensive maps. (We make no apologies for including below an extra review of this important new work.)
On the subject of Metroland, the Metroland trilogy from Baton Transport: Metro-Memories, Romance of Metroland and The Golden Years of the Metropolitan Railway are all still available at £8.95 each and have been joined by two new books: London's Underground Stations and London's Underground Suburbs, also at £8.95.
Also of local interest is the volume of David and Charles' Forgotten Railways series covering the Chilterns and Cotswolds. Priced at £9.95, this book gives a readable account, including history, working and atmosphere, of the abandoned railways north of London and south of Birmingham. It vividly records the lines' lives and times, their traffic and curiosities, as well as their building, closure and remains, and is well illustrated, with detailed maps and photographs of the lines in their heyday and since closure.
These are only a very small selection of the stock available at The Junction Railway Shop, which is constantly being updated as new books are published. If you require a special book that is not in stock, even if it is not on railways, why not place an order? We will do our utmost to fulfil your requirements.
THE METROPOLITAN RAILWAY
It is pleasant to report, in these days of over-priced and under-researched books, that somebody has succeeded in writing the definitive history of the Metropolitan Railway - and that this pleasantly weighty volume is in no sense the rehashed variation of somebody else's work (or lack of it), which seems to afflict most 'histories', especially those of the Garstang and Wigan Railway.
The author has substantial experience of writing about railway matters and subjects that were the children of their development, e.g. London's Termini, London's Local Railways and Semi-Detached London. He has also done some television work as a consultant.
The approach used has avoided the cliched format adopted by most writers of railway histories in that Mr Jackson has avoided filling the book with chapters on Locomotives, Carriages or - one of my pet hates - frequent tables of timed runs by express trains! Each chapter has copious notes located at the back of the book. Metroland (the railway's development of the countryside along its length in order to produce passengers) is well covered and the appendices provide much tabulated data.
There is something in this book for everyone and the only major pity is that it has taken 53 years since the demise of the Met. to write the history, but it may be that the book is better for it.
The arrival of a new periodical is now somewhat less of a rare event than was once the case; some flourish, others fall, but Backtrack most definitely deserves to become a recognised standard. Now published quarterly, after the success of the pilot issue, Backtrack concentrates solely on railway history and is written in a lucid style, which makes absorbing reading. Of equal merit is the pictorial content, 25% of which is in superb - and I mean superb - laser enhanced colour. Monochrome reproduction is better than many books. The whole package is well balanced and complimented by excerpts from the RCTS journal Railway Observer. Adverts are noticeable by their almost total absence, making the price and quality even more commendable.
I did, however, find one section of the magazine somewhat out of character. The articles on the operation and working of a steam locomotive, while technically correct, rather over-simplify a subject which is only fully mastered after years of practical experience. I feel the complete tyro - at whom the series is obviously aimed - might well gain the impression that magazine in one hand, regulator in the other, he could well conduct Duchess of Hamilton over the Settle and Carlisle. An exaggeration perhaps, but the articles do not bring home the almost human nature of the steam locomotive, nor do they do justice to the skill of men such as Duddington, Sparshatt, Hailstone, Gingell or Beale.
This quibble apart, Backtrack is thoroughly recommended and, if our Sales Officer is at all wise, he will keep a good stock!
Text © Quainton Railway Society / Photographs © Quainton Railway Society or referenced photographer
Page Updated: 25 November 2017