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Railways of Central Scotland (Paperback)

Transport > Trains & Railways World History > UK & Ireland > Scotland

By Ian Lothian
Imprint: Key Publishing
Series: Britain's Railways
Pages: 96
Illustrations: 160
ISBN: 9781913295707
Published: 13th April 2022
Last Released: 28th July 2022

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The five years either side of the millennium was a period of great change on the railway network with the advent of privatisation and, on the passenger side, the introduction of franchised operations. On the freight side, the original British Railways network was initially split into three companies – Mainline, Loadhaul and Transrail – but they all ended up being purchased by EWS, the English, Welsh and Scottish Railway. The period saw new rolling stock, new locomotives and a staggering number of different liveries.

Illustrated with over 150 colour photographs, this book records some of the many changes to the main route network in Central Scotland, capturing the last days of some of the older classes before they were phased out and, equally, documenting the new as they came in. By 2005, the railways of Central Scotland had evolved almost beyond recognition when compared with how things had been ten years earlier and in this volume Ian Lothian provides an interpretation as to how things were and how they have been transformed over a decade.

The Highlands of Scotland always tend to grab the headlines, in terms of scenic railway photography, yet the Central Belt has long had plenty to offer rail enthusiasts. These two volumes by Ian Lothian offer a pictorial overview of an evolving rail scene, beginning in the late 1990s.

There’s a colourful array of passenger and freight traction on offer, with the first volume featuring traction with a British Rail heritage, while the second book inevitably sees the proliferation of new multiple units and the ubiquitous Class 66s taking over much of the freight traffic.

Indeed, by reading both books together, one can appreciate how the railway has developed since privatisation, with lines reopening and freight traffic ebbing and flowing. There’s plenty of useful supporting text (though no maps) and excellent images are presented in colour throughout.

Model Rail Magazine

Focussing on images taken within a few years either side of the turn of the new millennium, the book provides a very colourful overview of the liveries worn by both passenger and freight trains in the Scottish Central Belt. It is surprising just how much has changed in what seems a short timespan.

We look forward to seeing more examples in this growing series.

West Somerset Railway Association

This book can be recommended as a useful introduction to this versatile area of Scotland. The author has also produced similar volumes dealing with other areas of Scotland which may also be of interest.

Diesel and Electric Modellers United

In recent years Key Publishing has become a major player in the world of modern traction books, and the present title is Volume 2 in their Britain’s Railways Series linked to Modern Railways magazine. Focussing on images taken within a few years either side of the turn of the new millennium, the book provides a very colourful overview of the liveries worn by both passenger and freight trains in the Scottish Central Belt. It is surprising just how much has changed in what seems a short timespan.

The paperback format of 244mm x 170mm might have proved challenging for some publishers in a picture album with two or three views on each page, but in fact all the views have reproduced well on the semi-matt paper used and with most of the images taken in good lighting conditions, seemingly with quality photographic equipment. An eye-catching cover featuring a Virgin HST crossing the Forth Bridge is followed by 96 pages divided into 6 geographically-based chapters starting at Carstairs and ending at Perth, with a useful narrative introduction to each. A wide-ranging variety of motive power is included, with Classes 60, 90, 59, 67, 47 and 305 to name but a few, and inevitably the liveries worn are now consigned to history. In a book covering Central Scotland we would not expect to see the most spectacular of the nation’s scenery, but despite this the backdrops to trains shown in many of the views to the south of Perth are impressive, and the surviving mechanical signalling in this area provides an added bonus.

Competitively priced at £14.99, it will not break the bank to build up a library of books in this well-presented format, and we look forward to seeing more examples in this growing series.

West Somerset Railway Association

Another of Key Publishing’s rapidly growing range of D&E publications, this is Volume 2 of the Britain’s Railways Series in which Ian Lothian takes a look at the ‘Railways of Central Scotland’ between 1995 and 2005. This was a period of great change which saw the transition from BR to the privatised railway with many changes to the rolling stock and infrastructure.

Key’s usual format for this size of book includes an overview of the subject matter to set the photos in context. It is divided into various chapters which concentrate on a particular route and also includes an introductory written overview. The primary content consists of over 150 colour photos taken by the author each with a brief but informative caption. The photos show well the changing scene over the ten years featured with a wide variety of traction on show. There are two photos to each page and these are all in focus and exposed correctly so there are no issues with viewing them. The paper used is quite flat with no sheen but it allows excellent reproduction of the photos and text without light reflection. The text is clearly printed and of a suitable size for most people to be able to view.

This book can be recommended as a useful introduction to this versatile area of Scotland. The author has also produced similar volumes dealing with other areas of Scotland which may also be of interest.

Diesel and Electric Modellers United, Summer 22 Issue

About Ian Lothian

Ian has had railway photographs published in magazines and publications in the UK, Canada, the USA, various European countries, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. In 2003, he won the inaugural Photographer of the Year competition organised by Railways Illustrated magazine, one highlight of which was being asked to name Freightliner Heavy Haul's 66618 at the National Railway Museum at York.

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