Category: Transport Page 1 of 2

Author Guest Post: Tim Hillier-Graves

Arthur Peppercorn the LNER’s Last Chief Mechanical Engineer Remembered

By chance, during a family visit to Hadley Wood in the early 1960s I was delighted to find the house in which we stayed sat very close to the LNER’s old main line. It was a summer Saturday and express trains flew past at regular intervals. For some reason, one came to a halt within thirty or so yards of where I stood – a Peppercorn A1, No.60149, Amadis, by then a Doncaster engine. The fact that the driver and fireman called a greeting and both waved made me an instant fan of them and their locomotive. From that moment, I longed to travel behind one of these A1s but it wasn’t to be while BR operated steam locomotives. In fact, I had to wait until the reborn A1 Tornado was visiting the West Somerset Railway fifty years later for this particular wish to be granted. I wasn’t disappointed.

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Author Guest Post: Geoff Scargill

Stars of the Victorian Era

The Victorian Era, an age when Britain ruled the world, threw up a stream of great characters. Even if you haven’t been interested in puff-puff engines since you were little and don’t read Thomas the Tank Engine before you go to sleep any more, the chances are that you’ve heard of Isambard Kingdom Brunel, if only because of his exotic name. He built the Great Western Railway with its own broad-gauge tracks, which meant that when you travelled to the south-west from anywhere else in Britain you had to get out at Exeter and board one of Brunel’s wider trains. He was one of the supremely confident men who captured the spirit of the age. If they had an idea, they did it.

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Author Guest Post: Matthew Wharmby

Even modern buses can manage twenty years in service if there are enough of them on aggregate. The Dennis Trident in London achieved that milestone, the last examples coming off service in 2019 after two respectable decades carrying Londoners around the city.

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Author Guest Post: Anthony Burton


This book might never have happened at all, if my writing careers had gone the way I first intended. I left a career in publishing in order to write full time in 1979 and I started out as a humourist. My first book, A Programmed Guide to Office Warfare, was a success – hard back and paper back in Britain and America and translated into other languages – I have an incomprehensible to me copy of the Japanese book. But my next effort, The Jones Report, sank without causing a ripple on the surface of the literary world. My agent Murray Pollinger then asked a very pertinent question: “What is the book you have read in the past year that you wished you had written yourself?” My answer was The Railway Navvies by Terry Coleman. The next question was obvious: was there a similar subject that interested me? My wife and I had already taken to enjoying canal holidays and I had become increasingly interested in their history. One element that seemed to be lacking was any information about the people who had constructed them. There were biographies of the main engineers, but very little about anyone else – their hard-working assistants, the administrators, the contractors and, of course, the navvies. I wrote an outline and Murray got me a very good contract, for what was to become The Canal Builders.

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Author Guest Post: Tim Hillier-Graves

Gresley and Thompson – A Controversy Analysed and Untangled

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Author Guest Post: Steve Bartlett

Worcester’s Great Western Diesel Railcars

Working on the Severn Valley

Steve Bartlett

Ex-GWR Diesel Railcars – Worcester

Allocation – April 1960







Many will be familiar with the role ex-GWR diesel railcars played on Severn Valley passenger services. They could be seen daily working from Hartlebury to Bewdley, Bewdley to Tenbury Wells & Woofferton and on the Kidderminster – Bewdley – Shrewsbury line. On the latter most GWR railcar worked services only went as far as Bridgnorth, although at least one went through to Shrewsbury daily; the balance was worked by engine and coaches.

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The Story of Reliance Motor Services

It started in 1917 as a horse-drawn carrier and grew to become one of the UK’s most respected family-owned independent bus companies. Along the way, Reliance Motor Services touched the lives of several generations in small villages across the Berkshire Downs. This short video supports the history of the company written by David Wilder and Barrie Hedges and published in April 2020 by Pen & Sword.

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Guest Post: Howard Piltz

In this new guest post, Pen and Sword Transport author Howard Piltz explains the inspiration behind his new book Aircraft and Aviation Stamps.

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Author Guest Post: David Mather – The Final Years of London Midland Region Steam

The years leading up to the end of steam on BR in 1968 were a time for many railway enthusiasts to pull out all the stops in a last-ditch attempt to record on camera the ever dwindling stock of steam locos still working on our railways. I was amongst those, lucky in that the north west of England was their final stronghold. My home in Bolton was close to the busy Manchester to Preston line, the route of what became the last ‘named train’ to be steam hauled, ‘The Belfast Boat Express’ to Heysham Harbour. From Preston, travelling the West Coast Main Line between Wigan North Western and Lancaster Castle stations became a regular week-end activity, venturing over Shap to Carlisle when opportunity arose. Most of these journeys were steam hauled, usually by a ‘Black 5’ or one of the last ‘Pacifics’, the Britannias, while shutters were kept clicking as grimy 8Fs and 9Fs hauled their freight through smoke filled stations.

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Author Guest Post: Jim Blake

Today we have a guest post from Pen and Sword author and transport photographer Jim Blake. Jim has written numerous titles for Pen and Sword which can be viewed here.

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