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Steam at Work (Hardback)

Preserved Industrial Locomotives

Transport History Trains and Railways

By Fred Kerr
Imprint: Pen & Sword Transport
Pages: 128
ISBN: 9781473896574
Published: 12th July 2017

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The author, Fred Kerr, was introduced to the world of industrial railways in 1956 when his parents moved from Edinburgh to Corby in Northamptonshire, where the local steelworks offered a mix of locomotives from several manufacturers. When steam traction finished on BR in August 1968, Fred's interest in railways continued with diesel and electric traction, whilst retaining a passing interest in industrial locomotives through his visits to the heritage lines which were initiated in the post-Beeching era.

When the author converted to digital photography in 2001, he visited many heritage lines as he sought to gain experience in the digital world. When he looked back after a decade of digital photography, he noted that industrial locomotives were still at work on many heritage lines throughout the UK. He also noted that during the 1960s the effort to preserve main-line steam traction had overlooked the availability of industrial locomotives, leading to the scrapping of many locomotives with both a story to tell and an incomplete working life.

The result is a book that pays tribute to industrial locomotives which are still at work by detailing the manufacturers of these work-horses and the locomotives which they built; identifying their working lives where possible; showing their entry into preservation and paying tribute to those heritage lines which appreciated the value of these unsung heroes of the Industrial Revolution by buying the 'scrap' locomotives then restoring them to working order.

Some people are fascinated by passenger steam trains, but there is another world of steam railways, that of freight. Fred Kerr's amazing memoir showcases some of the most iconic and finest of their time. One wonders if doing away with steam was the best thing when looking through these amazing pictures.

Read the complete review here.

Books Monthly

Fred Kerr was introduced to the world of industrial railways in 1956 when his parents moved from Edinburgh to Corby in Northamptonshire, where the local steelworks offered a mix of locomotives from several manufacturers. When steam traction finished on BR in August 1968, Fred's interest in railways continued with diesel and electric traction, whilst retaining a passing interest in industrial locomotives through his visits to the heritage lines which were initiated in the post-Beeching era. When Fred converted to digital photography in 2001, he visited many heritage lines as he sought to gain experience in the digital world. When he looked back after a decade of digital photography, he noted that industrial locomotives were still at work on many heritage lines throughout the UK. He also noted that during the 1960s the effort to preserve mainline steam traction had overlooked the availability of industrial locomotives, leading to the scrapping of many locomotives with both a story to tell and an incomplete working life. The result is "Steam at Work: Preserved Industrial Locomotives " is a beautifully and profusely illustrated compendium that pays tribute to industrial locomotives which are still at work by detailing the manufacturers of these workhorses and the locomotives which they built; identifying their working lives where possible; showing their entry into preservation and paying tribute to those heritage lines which appreciated the value of these unsung heroes of the Industrial Revolution by buying the 'scrap' locomotives then restoring and preserving them for the benefit of future generations. A unique and highly recommended addition to both community and academic library History of Railroading collections and supplemental studies lists, it should be noted for the personal reading lists of dedicated railroading buffs that "Steam at Work: Preserved Industrial Locomotives" is also available in a digital book format.

Midwest Book Review

I love it. A book to enjoy beautiful and detailed images through a current visual documentation.

Read the complete Spanish review here.

José Manuél Rico Cortés (Mister JM) - Miniaturas JM

This volume is of the ‘Picture book’ genre. As such it is beautiful, with the photographs being of frame-able quality...


Because of the quality of the images, it is possible that this book may have a wider appeal beyond the railway world; perhaps to readers who simply like quality images of small steam locomotives; or want something to share with children who are fans of Thomas the Tank Engine. It is also likely to appeal to ‘generalist’ railway enthusiasts, although those with a specific interest in preserved British industrial steam locomotives in contemporary settings are likely to find it a delight. Railway modellers with a specific interest in the subject may also find it of use.

NZ Crown Mines

About Fred Kerr

Fred Kerr is a life-long railway enthusiast who was born in Edinburgh in 1948 and moved to Corby in 1956, where he was introduced to industrial locomotives operating in the local steelworks. Whilst more familiar with main-line locomotives, his conversion to digital photography in 2001 saw him renew his interest in industrial locomotives, especially those still working at the many heritage sites throughout the UK which he visits as and when the opportunity arises. He is currently a life member of the A4 Preservation Society; The Keighley & Worth Valley Railway and The Ribble Steam Railway.

Perfect Partner

BR Diesel Locomotives in Preservation (Hardback)

When British Railways (BR) initiated its Modernisation Plan in 1954 it had little experience of diesel locomotives thus initiated a Pilot Scheme to trial combinations of the three elements comprised within a locomotive – the engine, transmission and body. The initial orders for 174 locomotives were placed in November 1955, but even before the first locomotive had been delivered, changes in Government policy led to bulk orders for most designs being trialled. It was only in 1968, once steam traction had been removed from the network, that BR was able to review the success, or otherwise, of its…

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