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Works Trams of the British Isles (Hardback)

A Survey of Tramway Engineers' Vehicles

British History Transport Photographic Books Colour Books Trams

By Peter Waller
Imprint: Pen & Sword Transport
Pages: 152
Illustrations: 250
ISBN: 9781473862234
Published: 7th October 2019


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Often little known and generally unfamiliar to the passengers that used tramways, works trams were an essential facet of the efficient operation of any system – large or small – and this book is a primarily pictorial overview of the great variety of works trams that served the first generation of tramways in the British Isles. Although construction of most tramways was left to the contractor employed on the work, once this was completed the responsibility for the maintenance and safe operation of the system fell on the operator. The larger the operator, the greater and more varied the fleet of works cars employed; specialist vehicles were constructed for specific duties. Smaller operators, however, did not have this luxury, relying instead on one or two dedicated works cars or, more often, a passenger car temporarily assigned to that work. This book is a pictorial survey to the many weird and wonderful works cars that once graced Britain’s first generation tramways.

We have looked at trams before in our book reviews, but it is only when you come across this book do you realise how many vehicles were in existence for the maintenance of the tramways and it is great to look back in time.

Read the full review here

Rail Advent

This is a well-illustrated and well laid-out book which will be useful to those with any curiosity in the vehicles used to support first-generation electric tramways. The variety of vehicle architecture presented is impressive.

Tramway Review, March 2020

This unusual title features around 200 monochrome pictures of engineers’ vehicles, largely comprising retired passenger vehicles, but also including tower wagons, water cars, a snow sweeper and steeple cab locos, many of which would have escaped the attention of visiting photographers. It will provide a valuable addition to the many books already published on tramways, including those listed in the two page bibliography. This reviewer particularly liked the image of one of Birmingham Corporation’s welding cars, whose corrugated iron bodywork is more reminiscent of a GWR pagoda shelter than a rail-mounted vehicle.

West Somerset Railway Association

An essential book for lovers of trams and already occupying a special place in my library.

Read the full Spanish review here

Miniaturas JM

The sub-title "A survey of tramway engineer's vehicles" got me intrigued, I do like unusual and quirky rail vehicles, and this book is full of them. All sorts of tramway vehicles are included - stores vans, tower wagons, snow ploughs, open and tipper trucks, even a crane; and I was surprised at their variety and the number that are found in this substantial book.

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Michael's Model Railways

This well produced hard back contains a large amount of historical information in the form of discursive photo captions. Recommended.

Ffestiniog Railway Magazine

"Mechanical marvels which were the workhorses of Britain’s old tramways system come under the spotlight in a new book by transport historian Peter Waller."

As featured in

Shropshire Star and Express & Star, 7th January 2020

A very interesting book because it deals with a very specific subject that is not usually paid attention, the trams of construction. Its 250 photographs allow you to get to know better such special vehicles. All this with a lot of information and the high print quality of the publishing house Pen and Sword Books. It can be seen that the author (Peter Waller) knows the subject, as he has written many books on historical trams.

Read the full Spanish review here

Unes Cuantos Trenes Blog, Jorge del Valle

Primarily pictorial overview of the great variety of work trams that served the first generation of tramways in the British Isles.

Bookseller Buyers Guide

About Peter Waller

Peter Waller is a life long, transport enthusiast and historian, a founder of the Online Transport Archive which preserves transport photographic archives.

He has written many books on tramways, buses and railways over the years and this volume on British Trolleybus Systems is his latest.

He was for many years the senior commissioning editor for Ian Allan Publishing and is an authority on many aspects of transport history.

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