British Railways in the 1960s: Southern Region (Kindle)
After the Second War, Britains railways were rundown and worn out, requiring massive investment and modernisation. The Big Four railway companies were nationalised from 1948, and the newly formed British Railways embarked on a programme of building new Standard steam locomotives to replace older types. These started to come on stream from 1951.
This programme was superseded by the 1955 scheme to dieselise and electrify many lines and so the last loco of the Standard types was built in 1960 and the steam locomotives had been swept entirely from the BR network by 1968.
This series of books, 'The Geoff Plumb Collection', is a photographic account of those last few years of the steam locomotives, their decline and replacement during the transition years. Each book covers one of the former Big Four, the Southern Railway, London Midland & Scottish Railway, Great Western Railway and London & North Eastern Railway, including some pictures of the Scottish lines of the LMS and LNER.
The books are not intended to convey a complete history of the railways but to illustrate how things were, to a certain extent, in the relatively recent past and impart some information through comprehensive captions, which give a sense of occasion often a last run of a locomotive type or over a stretch of line about to be closed down.
The photos cover large parts of the country, though it was impossible to get everywhere given the overall timetable of just a few years mainly when the author was still a schoolboy with limited time and disposable income to get around.
Pictures are of the highest quality that could be produced with the equipment then available, but they do reflect real life and real times. In simple terms, a look at a period not so long ago but now gone forever.
Image from book as featured in 'vintage recollections' articleWestern Morning News, January 23rd 2018
A top transport book in every sense.This England, Winter 2017
As featured inWestern Morning News
A superb photographic celebration of a steam era that ended exactly 50 years ago. For many southern steam enthusiasts, this publication is a real treat. All the favourite main players are well represented – Bulleid's impressive Merchant Navy Pacifics – plus his lighter Pacifics, the equally charismatic West Country and Battle of Britain Classics. The BR Standard Classes are well in evidence, but the book also features many of the, by then, rapidly diminishing older pre-grouping classes.Western Daily Press
In a mic of colour images and black and white – with the majority being in colour – it abounds with a rich assortment of locomotives and locations. All the images are full size and in good quality – and superbly convey the nostalgic atmosphere of the last years of Southern Steam.
The latest in the brilliant series of Geoff Plumb's photographic collection showing the last days of British Railways steam, some in glorious colour, the majority in black and white. An amazing collection.Books Monthly
Read the full review here.
The author has chosen a splendid number of photographs, 143 in color and 17 in black and white, which reflect to a greater or lesser extent and with great fidelity, the end of a period close to transition.José Manuél Rico Cortés (Mister JM) - Miniaturas JM
A collection of truly stunning photographs.
Read the complete Spanish review here.