Alfred Raworth's Electric Southern Railway (Kindle)
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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.
"This is a beautifully produced large-formatTenterden Terrier, Summer 2022
hardback book which describes the life and
work of Alfred Raworth."
"Produced to Pen & Sword’s usual high standards, this must be one of the most important books on the history on any of the ‘Big Four’ companies published in recent years, and is highly recommended."Tony Kirby, The RCHS Journal
Featured inHeritage Railway Magazine
If you like to get your teeth into a mega read which covers all aspects of electrification from the early innovations to the massive plan to transform Southern, then you will really enjoy this book.PB Preservation Group members magazine - March 2022 Issue No88
Book review as featured inRail Express
This scholarly book by Peter Steer is an absolute masterpiece on the subject and covers not only the work carried out by Alfred Raworth and the electrification of the Southern Railway but, also looks at the achievements of his father John Smith Raworth, a distinguished consulting engineer and entrepreneur. This most interesting book is highly recommended to all electrical railway enthusiasts and all devotees of the Southern Railway in general.Peter A. Harding - Branch Line & Light railway Publications.
As featured inThe Bookseller
In 1961 I was given at the age of 11, my first box brownie camera. The very first photograph that I took was of the Brighton Belle passing Streatham Common while staying at my Grandparent’s house in Balham. Ever since I have had a love of the Southern Electrics.James Simmonds
This is probably the best book on the subject ever published. Well illustrated it not only covers in detail the history of the electrics but also explains the technical as well as operational details. I can’t recommend this book highly enough. Essential reading for all.