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Alfred Raworth's Electric Southern Railway (Hardback)

Transport Photographic Books Colour Books Trains and Railways

By Peter Steer
Imprint: Pen & Sword Transport
Pages: 344
Illustrations: Black and white illustrations & maps, 16 page colour plate section
ISBN: 9781526778413
Published: 28th February 2022

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RRP £40.00

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The Southern Railway between 1923 and 1939 was the only British company to carry out a sustained programme of electrification which became known as the Southern Electric. Unlike many recent projects, each incremental step was completed on time and within budget. This successful project was more impressive as it was achieved during a period of economic stagnation (including the ‘great depression’) and despite government disapproval of the method of electrification. The driving force behind this endeavor was the railway’s general manager, Sir Herbert Walker, but at his side was his electrical engineer, Alfred Raworth, the man one journalist described as an ‘electrification genius’.

Alfred Raworth’s career began working with his father the eminent consulting engineer and entrepreneur, John Smith Raworth. Following the collapse of his father’s business Alfred joined the railway industry and devised an ambitious and innovative electrification design. This was discarded when the railways of southern England were ‘grouped’ into the Southern Railway after which he took responsibility for the implementation of the electrification schemes. With Walker’s retirement in 1937, those who continued to support steam traction took the policy lead. A marginalised Raworth retired but was later to witness the fruition of many of his discarded ideas.

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About Peter Steer

A life-long railway enthusiast, Peter Steer’s career was as an engineer and manager in the electricity supply industry. He is a member of the Institution of Engineering and Technology (MIET). Since retirement he has written articles for and edited the Southern Railway Group’s magazine ‘Southern Notebook’. To add to his technical and managerial qualifications he has been awarded a Master of Arts Degree in Railway Studies by the University of York.

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