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Steam on the Southern and Western (ePub)

A New Glimpse of the 1950s and 1960s

Transport > Trains & Railways

By David Knapman
Imprint: Pen & Sword Transport
File Size: 57.3 MB (.epub)
Pages: 144
Illustrations: 200
ISBN: 9781473892422
Published: 2nd October 2018


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Steam on the Southern and Western is a personal record of railway views that were captured on black and white film in the late 1950s and 1960s, until the demise of steam on British Railways.

The style of the book is the well-tried and- tested picture and captions format, and the majority of the pictures are black and white photography. Not every picture portrays a train as there are interesting branch line and infrastructure scenes to view as well. Furthermore, the book is intended to represent an eclectic mix of subjects and not to solely show main line scenes, for example.

The book covers the Southern and Western regions of British Railways, with the Somerset and Dorset Railway included for good measure, as it fits neatly into the areas of the country for this volume. It also carries its share of photographs of British Railways standard locomotives in the locations appropriate to the regions. Where preservation starts to overlap with the still-active steam scene, some historic photographs are included.

Photographs are grouped together by a particular location, for example, the Redhill to Reading line of the Southern, and Oxford on the Western. Each of these topic areas provides a flavour of the railway activity at the time. Overall, the book presents the reader with a gentle meander through the 1950's and 1960's railway scene and will stir the memories that so many of us have seen and still treasure today.

Subtitled “A New Glimpse of the 1950s & 1960s”, this publication provides an interesting collection of black & white photographs from the late 1950s to the end of steam. A few of the photos were taken with a Brownie Box camera and others subsequently with an AGFA 35mm camera by a young steam enthusiast with an eye for a good photo.

The book is divided into two main sections for Southern and Western steam, with chapters covering the various locations visited within the regions. The Southern section has an interesting selection of locations from Waterloo, Guildford and Ashford to the country byways such as the Kent & East Sussex line, Hayling Island Branch and the Isle of Wight railway. A few images of the Somerset & Dorset line are also included.The Western Region chapter likewise cobers a wide variety of locations from Paddington, Reading, Oxford, Tiverton & Hemyock branch, the Cambrian Coast and the Barry Island scrapyard.

This is a fascinating collection of photos, well captioned by the author and includes a number of infrastructure images as well the wide variety of steam locomotives. This book will bring back happy memories to those of us old enough to remember that period and provide an insight to younger readers.

Richard K Parkhurst, IPMS Portsmouth

Review by Ian Button

A number of the photos brought back memories to your reviewer, who was taken for trips on the Hayling Island and Hawkhurst branches just before they closed. The scenes were long gone from memory, but this book helps to rekindle them. All in all, an excellent book, well worth its money for the pictures of those long-gone days of our youth.

Bradford Railway Circle

This 140 page volume of David Knapman’s photographs from the fifties and sixties contains a mixture of gems and more standard fare. Amongst the former is a Hunslet Austerity on a test train at Oxford and a delightful view of Talybont Halt on the Cambrian. The book is slightly let down by some less than perfect images taken in poor light and a badly composed or cropped picture of a Castle Class loco without the top of its chimney. There is, however, a lovely picture of Charlton Road station at Shepton Mallet, one of the reviewer’s favourite S&D locations!

West Somerset Railway Association

Another quality work for our library.

Read the full Spanish review here

Miniaturas JM

As featured in

Stephenson Locomotive Society

As featured in

Great Western Society

This book really is a great collection of photos and information for some lines that will never see a train again, like the Ruabon to Morfa Mawddach (previously Barmouth Junction) line. The book is a great addition to any bookshelf!

Read the full review here

Rail Advent

Old locomotives, I always had and still have a fascination with new and older trains. In almost every town I go through renovation of trains and their tracks are being restored for historic and making new memories with families. David Knapman gives a passing look of the ‘Steam on the Southern and Western of the 1950s and the 1960s.

The book is of black and white pictures explaining the station yard, or demolished stations along with detailed description of the county or town and the type of train that’s arriving at the time. There are so much detailed description that’s involved with these timeless still masterpieces of portrays. This isn’t a story of railways of colorful pictures that gives a tug at your heart but memories of the past and cut to the chase information and to the next photograph.

It’s a great book for those enthusiasts who loves the adventure to be guided to the classic steam engines and wants to relive their path of destination.

Read the full review here

Oh My Bookness

"A book to thumb through, pause on a particular shot to hopefully bring back many happy memories of railway jaunts in days gone by."

Review by

Brian Dotson- Stephenson Locomotive Society

As a young boy in the 1950's early 1960's and living close to the Reading to Redhill line at Betchworth, David Knapman was able to take loads of photos of not only that line but also many other areas and branch lines on the Southern and Western regions. As most of these photos have never been published before it will be of much interest of a time gone by.

Peter A. Harding - Branch Line & Light Railway Publications

About David Knapman

Aged five, DAVID KNAPMAN’s railway interest was triggered at Reigate station by a Wainwright 4.4.0. Reading his father’s pre-war Railway Magazine and regularly taking Trains Illustrated fostered a lifelong interest. The Reading to Redhill line provided much steam interest and early main line trips included the Bristolian and the Kentish Belle in 1958. Photography started with a Brownie Box camera, which was soon overtaken by a 35mm Agfa Silette. A move to Brentwood and a career as a Chartered Accountant enabled the steam interest to flourish further and main line runs today still enthrall. The author hopes his photographs prove to be of much interest to the reader. Floreat Vapor!

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