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Traction Engine Rallies (ePub)

An Appreciation Over Seventy Years, 1950-2019

Transport > Trains & Railways

By Malcolm Batten
Imprint: Pen & Sword Transport
File Size: 175.9 MB (.epub)
ISBN: 9781399081689
Published: 30th April 2023


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The commercial life of traction engines and steam wagons largely came to an end in the 1950s and early 1960s. It was also at this time that preservation and display in the form of rallies came into being. It is generally acknowledged that the traction engine rally scene has its origins in a race between two engine-owning farmers at Appleford, Berkshire in August 1950. The rally movement soon grew as area preservation societies were formed. Some of these early societies and rallies continued to flourish and a number of these have now celebrated fifty or more years of activity, albeit not always on the same site throughout. Other rallies flourished for a while but then ceased for varying reasons. There have also been a number of ‘one-off’ events.

The initial concept of rallies has developed over the years. Instead of just ring events many now try to incorporate working areas where the different types of engines can be demonstrated doing the tasks for which they were built.

This book features a number of these rallies, starting with some of the early events of the 1950s and 1960s. Then a few ‘one-off’ events are featured, followed by looking at some of the rallies that no longer take place, and finishing with examples of those that are still flourishing. It aims to show something of the individual character of each rally, and some of the highlights of events that the author has visited over the last fifty years.

"Normally photographic compilations are not to my taste, but as these albums go, this is an excellent example and one that every traction engine enthusiast will treasure."

The Journal for The Society of Model & Experimental Engineers - Volume 31 - Number 5 - October 2023

"...this (book) is one that every traction engine enthusiast should treasure."

York Model Engineers Newsletter - September 2023

Just what it says, a photographic history, mostly in colour of traction engine rallies since they began in Oxfordshire in 1950. Almost all rallies are covered, including some now ceased, notably the one at the Birmingham Museum of Science and Technology that flourished between 1969 and 1997. That was one of the few opportunities to see traction engines in an urban setting, and is well covered here.

The remarkable range of makers is represented here, including German and US examples, steam lorries, steam fire engines, and numerous variations on the traction engine. They include Showman's engines, ploughing engines, and crane traction engines among them. Rarities include the only survivor of the just three engines built by John M. Collings of Bacton, Norfolk. There is even a traction engine locomotive, and a fair share of miniature engines.

The Society of Model and Experimental Engineers Journal

About Malcolm Batten

Reg Batten was born in 1914 and lived in East London’s Dockland, where his father was a boilermaker working in the Royal Docks. With a lifetime interest in shipping, after retirement he spent much of 1976 to 1983 recording the scene around the Royal Docks and Tilbury as cargo handling methods changed and the docks adapted, until the final closure of the ‘Royals’.
His son, Malcolm Batten has inherited an interest in shipping and has had two books published about modern Thames shipping in the 21st Century.

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