|Journal of the Railway & Canal Historical
Volume 39 Part 1
No 228 March 2017
'The Heathcoat Works outing to Teignmouth' (detail of painting by W P Key)
(National Trust Images)
see pp 31-41)
Robert F Hartley. George Stephenson - the railway surveys. Part 2 : 1832-1848. 2-12
David Parry. Murray Gladstone : George Stephenson's assistant in Chester - 13
Pat Jones. The inception and demise of the Roman Fossdike: a postscript - 24
The railway signalman (1936) 29
To Teignmouth for the day: a Heathcoat factory excursion from Tiverton - Tim Edmonds 31
The Leominster Canal: derelict, abandoned or closed? - David Slater 42
The location of Edward Jones's 1799 tram road : an assessment based on contemporary correspondence - Bryan Morgan 45
Railways in the Landscape: how they transformed the
face of Britain. Gordon Biddle. Bamsley: Pen & Sword. 216pp,
147 illustrations (98 colour), Reviewed by Stephen Rowson.
No-one is better suited than Gordon Biddle (one of our Society's founding members) to produce this compact readable survey of the visual impact that railways have had on the British landscape. His preface and comprehensive bibliography brilliantly place the book in context. In five themed chapters he describes 'Transforming the rural scene' from the birth of railways, covering routes, civil engineering, viaducts and tunnel portals; 'Country stations and buildings' (houses, signal boxes, engine sheds and yards), explaining how vernacular architecture using local materials in the early period gave way to company standard designs using ubiquitous materials now available because ofrailway transport and then to a third period towards the end of the nineteenth century that was born in reaction to standardised fashions and mass-production; 'The coast', covering the development of resorts and railway ports; 'Townscapes' (perhaps the best chapter), analysing how railways were allowed into London and provincial towns and cities, the siting of termini, goods yards and warehouses and the corresponding development of suburbs; and 'Places the railways made', recognising the difference between new railway towns, railway villages and the more common occurrence of railway enclaves in existing towns. Themes are drawn from many examples each one described assertively within the text from the author's encyclopaedic critical knowledge of his subject. Illustrations, without exception, dramatically support the text. The book's usability is enhanced by an overall feeling that Biddle is describing the now and not what used to be; ifhe does mention a building or feature that has gone then he tells us, but generally he describes what is still there to be seen. A sixth, short, chapter points out how abandoned railways continue to mould the landscape and how some have defined later road building projects. The seventh chapter then deals, with equal relevance, with the modem railway scene from the 1923 grouping to the present, including Crossrail and the plans for HS2 (whose impact on the landscape, Biddle comments, 'will certainly be far less than that of the great gash made by the M40 motorway through the same area, accompanied by continuous traffic noise'). A final chapter 'A Case Study of Landscape Change' compares in some detail the present day route of the former London & Birmingham Railway from Euston with the illustrations by J C Bourne at the time of its construction. Whilst the Euston Arch is gone, the terminus at Birmingham is conveniently the surviving Curzon Street which allows this lovingly written book to finish with another positive mention of the future HS2.
Front: Back: Early Great North of Scotland Railway buses (from Mike Mitchell, Great North
of Scotland Road Services, reviewed on pp 53-4)
Volume 39 Part 2
No 229 (July 2017)
Grahame Boyes. The business of running a canal: evidence from the Peak Forest Canal. 66-72
Reg Davies. Opportunity, isolation and prejudice: black workers on
British Railways, 1948-1997. 73-
Essay originally submitted in 2002 for Certificate course at the Institute of Railway Studies.
Robert F Hartley. George Stephenson the railway surveys. Part 3: Work outside England and Wales, additional information, corrections to Parts 1 & 2. 83-7
Tim Edmonds. Bradley Gate: myth and mystery at Blue Anchor station. 88-95.
David Slater. LlDAR and QGIS : modern technology applied to the Leominster Canal. 96-104
Brian J. Goggin. The sinking of the Longford. 105-13.
Alan M Levitt. A further means for financing canals (and other works) .114-16.
Obituary: Professor John Armstrong. 117
The railway dilemma: the perpetual problems of ownership, costs and
control . Sim Harris. Ian Allan, 2016. 288 pp, 8 colour plates,
hardback, Reviewed by Mark Casson
The railway dilemma, as described in this book, is that a modern public-service passenger railway network can never be profitable. The external benefits it generates serving commuters, reducing road congestion and so on make it indispensable, however. The overhead costs of the railway system are enormous but the additional coast of filling an empty seat on a train is very small. The railway faces a pricing dilemma whether to charge high or low which is only partially resolved through discriminatory pricing or 'market segmentation'.
The author shows that politicians have always found it difficult to choose between a profitable railway and a public service one. A profitable railway system today would be very small a collection of isolated freight lines and a few passenger routes connecting airports with nearby cities. Not even InterCity was ever really profitable, the author contends. At the moment the UK railway system is expanding traffic is growing and infrastructure is being enhanced. Private train operators are doing reasonably well but etwork Rail is accumulating massive losses. Track access charges are low to encourage franchise bidders, so revenue is weak, whilst construction budgets are out of control. Treasury borrowing is close to the limit, and the accounting value placed on the loss-making network is highly dubious, to say the least.
The author states the dilemma very clearly. The focus is exclusively on the UK. The book is well written, entertaining and highly informative. The historical perspective, which provides the main body of the book, is based on a wide range of source material. The book will appeal particularly to readers interested in government transport policy, railway regulation and management, and the history of privatised and nationalised railway systems.
Man of iron: Thomas Telford and the building of
Britain. Julian Glover. Bloomsbury, 2017, 416 pp, 24
illustrations, 1 map, hardback, Reviewed by Peter Brown. 118
Of all the biographies of Telford, this is the one which most vividly portrays the man: incredibly hard-working, travelling vast distances in all weathers, robust, restless, driven. But also good company, able to mix in all levels of society, but with no intimates or close family.
Whilst his appointment to major projects owed much to influential men such as Sir William Pulteney (an acquaintance from Eskdale) with regards to his Shropshire and his early Scottish works, Sir Henry Parnell (a leading Irish MP) for the Holyhead Road, and Nicholas Vansittart (Chancellor of the Exchequer 1812-22) for his government-financed works generally his achievements were the result of his own efforts. Proper credit is given to the loyal group of men Telford appointed to supervise works and to his faithful contractors. He chose well, and whilst not falling into the trap of micro-managing, nevertheless kept closely involved through extensive correspondence and periodic personal inspection. Due credit is also given to the administrative colleagues with whom Telford worked, especially John Rickman and James Hope. No other biography has the depth of study of letters to and from Telford, or of the mentions of him in other people's writings. Nor has any other biography made such a good case for appreciating Telford as a town planner.
As the author was from 2012 a special advisor to the government on transport, I had hoped for a special insight into the wider strategic issues but was rather disappointed. For example, when comparing Telford's and McAdam's recommendations concerning road-building, he concludes that there is no way of resolving such disputes because 'they are disputes about accountancy, not civil engineering'. The author was a Guardian columnist before being appointed David Cameron's chief speechwriter. It is therefore no surprise that this book is fluently written, well deserving its becoming a Radio 4 'Book of the Week'. However, I sometimes found myself wishing for the more straightforward prose of Anthony Burton's Thomas Telford: master builder of roads & canals (1999). Burton also generally gives more information about the works themselves. For a professional engineer's assessment, The Story of Telford by Sir Alexander Gibb (1935) is still the best. But Glover's book would be my recommendation for the non-specialist reader.
British Rail designed 1948-97. David Lawrence.
Ian Allan, 2016. 272 pp, approx 600 illustrations (many colour),
hardback. Reviewed by Kevin Jones. 119
'Designed' should perhaps be in bold print: this is a book about how external design consultants created the British Rail image. The Corporate Identity Manual of 1965 may be regarded as being at the heart of the study. A walk past our local station on a single track branch line is dominated by the large twin arrow logo: Gerry Barney's work is at least comparable with the London Transport roundel. The Manual is not considered until well past the middle of the book, yet all is either leading towards it, or (sadly) away from it. It included specific colours for rolling stock, motive power units, ships, fabrics, uniforms (including vile headgear for females) and signage including lettering. For a time nothing escaped.
The book is divided into six chapters: (1) a brief introduction; (2) branding the nationalised railway; (3) station architecture 1948-85; (4) Design Panel 1956-60; (5) design researched 1960-81; (6) the new look 1982-97. There follow notes to the text; a glossary of design terms; a glossary of colours; reference sources; and an excellent index.
A great many individuals are mentioned, including E G M Wilkes and Peter Ashmore; Sir Kenneth Grange who refined the shape of the High Speed Train power cars almost single-handedly with the aid of the Imperial College wind tunnel; Jane Priestman, a czarina for design; and Nicholas Grimshaw whose Waterloo International brought central Paris to central London. The professional railwaymen do rather less well. Chris Green is acknowledged for the brief flowering of Network SouthEast which to those who experienced it adjusted their perceptions of travel in the Greater London Area
James Ness, General Manager of the Scottish Region, is given brief mention in connection with the Glasgow Blue Trains, but fails to be acknowledged for the Inter-City diesel multiple units. George Dow, who worked hard to establish a corporate identity on the London Midland Region, is ignored. Riddles' standard locomotives were a misconceived design statement, but the pictorial images on pages 36 and 37 fail to produce a coherent picture: a book on design deserves better.
Too many of the illustrations are based on Modern Railways covers which fail as icons for excellence. Nevertheless, as Sir Alex Moulton once said, 'If it looks right, it probably is right' and this probably encapsulates the aims of those industrial designers who sought to produce a simpler to use and more attractive railway system.
Lewes & East Grinstead Railway the Bluebell Line. Richard
G. Long. Ian Allan, 2016. 112 pp, 171 photographs (66 colour),
5 maps & plans, hardback, Reviewed by Matthew Searle.
A curate's egg of a book, this opens with a reasonably detailed account of the line's construction and description of the stations (including the Ardingly branch). Five pages then cover its commercial working life before a comprehensive discussion of its closures (plural) is reached. More than the last third of the volume is devoted to the line's life as a . heritage railway. Anyone requiring a thorough history of the line's operation in pre-closure times should consult Klaus Marx's An illustrated history of the Lewes & East Grinstead Railway from the same publisher in a similar format (2000) and referred to in the bibliography of the current work, which is best regarded as a supplement to it.
Front: The seal of the Peak Forest Canal Company, 1794 (see pp 66-72)
Back: (upper)An imaginary reconstruction by Edward Paget-Tomlinson of a PB&SSR
train crossing above road works just south of Beddgelert had the line been completed in
1910 as an electrified link (from John Manners, Ghosts of Aberglaslyn: the Portmadoc,
Beddgelert & South Snowdon Railway, reviewed on p 123); (lower) Milverton station
nearing completion circa 1870 (from Freddie Huxtable, The Taunton to Barnstaple line:
a history of the Devon & Somerset Railway, vol1, reviewed on p 122)
No. 230 (November 2017)
Brian J, Hudson. Transport and travel in the world of Arnold Bennett.
An analysis of Arnold Bennett's writings (novels, essays, etc) both as portrayed in the media and through interpretation of Bennett's life: for instance, he was both a confirmed walker and its assistance to creative writing and as an owner of motor cars, both as a driver and as one who employed a chauffeur. Raiway travel enabled escape from the Five Towns into other areas, but he was able to appreciate how visitors to the Potteries would be struck by the filth. Several references are made to Ian Carter's Railways and culture. Manchester Unviertsity Press, 2002
Nicholas Hammond. Could this be one of Joseph Boughey's 'new directions
of waterway history', 142-55.
37 English and French bridges covering 1763 to 1831 are examined to eestablish a typology with a view to establishing a criterion to classify canal bridges.
Maxwell Craven. The LMS School of Transport, Derby;
with an Introduction by Graham H. Wild. 156-61.
William H. Hamlyn was the architect who was also responsible for the rebuilt Leeds station and Queen's Hotel.
Richard Dean. Churnet valley conundrums. 162-8.
Robert Humm. Dudley Docker and the railways.
Frank Dudley Docker was a very powerful business man who was born on 26 August 1862 in Birmingham, the youngest son of a successful solicitor. He attenderd King Edward VI Grammar School but did not like legal work in his father's practice. He excelled at cricket. In 1881 he set up Docker Bros. with his elder brother William to supply varnishes for bicycle frames, and metal furniture and tools. By 1886 a third brother, Ludford Charles had joined the business and when their father died his bequests were added to the company's finances and the company moved to a larger factory in Smethwick which employed 16. This enabled the company to supply high quality paints and varnishes to the railways and rolling stock supply companies. In 1899 Dudley Docker became a director of the Patent Shaft & Axletree Company of Wednesbury, at that time Britain's largest supplier of steel wheel and axle sets to the rolling stock industry. In 1900 he bacame a director of W.S. Laycock, another Black Country manufacturer of rolling stock components.
During 1901-2 he and his brother Ludford assisted in creating a large combine consisting of the Oldbury Carriage & Wagon Works, Brpwn Marshalls & Co. Ltd., Metropolitan Railway Carriage & Wagon Co. Ltd., Lancaster Carriage & Wagon Co. Ltd., and Ashbury Railway Carriage & Iron Co. Ltd.. The merged company was known as Metropolitan Amalgamated Railway Carriage & Wagon Co. and Dudley Docker was elected its chairman, a post he held for 17 years. In November 1902 the Patent Shaft & Axletree Company was steered into the new combine which gave it its own steel-making capacity. In 1912 the title was changed to Metropolitan Carriage, Wagon & Finance Co. (MCWF). Many wagon users had either hired them or bought them on hire purchase. It was posible for the combine to operate quickly on a large scale: 1500 large steel box vans werre supplied to the Japanese Government during the Russo-Japanese War. Two works were closed: Brown Marshall's Britannia Works (soldto Wolseley Motorcar Co. and the Lancaster factory.
British Westinghouse, wwith a huge factory at Trafford Park became a problem during WW1. Its general manager was born in Germany and it was a time of extreme xenophobia. The Board of Trade decided it should brought under British control and this was engineered through Electrical Holdings Ltd jointly owned by MCWF and Vickers. For a time Docker served on the Vicker board and received preference shares which he sold at the height of the post-war boom.
Docker sat on several railway boards: the Stratford-upon-Avon & Midland Junction probably followed a rolling stock hiring agreement in 1909. The others were much more serious and reflected Docker's growing interest in electric traction. A seat on the board of the Metropolitan Railway: at that time the Metropolitan Railway was buying new electric locomotives from Metro-Vick in 1921-2. He remained on the board until thge railway was taken over by the London Passenger Transport Board in 1933, but Docker ensured that the Metropolitan Railway Country Estates remained outwith the LPTB.
Shortly after WW1 Docker joined the board of the London, Brighton & South Coast Railway which had been electrifying iits suburban services on single phase overhead at 6700 volts AC. Sir Philip Dawson was the consulting electrical engineer and he could foresee electrification to Brighton. He graduated to the board of the Southern Railway where there was a contest between Sir William Forbes of the Brighton and Sir Herbert Walker, late of the LSWR which had opted for third rail electrification. Docker supported Walker and remained on the board until 1938 when Walker took his place.
In 1916 Cammell-Laird had built and managed the National Projectile Factory in Notttingham on behalf of the Government. After the armistice it was bought outright by Cammell-Laird to manufacture steel rolling stock. The Midland Railway Carriage & Wagon Co. was acquired and has/had continued to fuction as an autonomous concern. In 1923 the Leeds Forge which had acquired the Bristol Carriage & Wagon works was taken over by Cammell-Laird.
In the middle 1920s Vickers were in crisis and saw no future in electrical engineering and rolling stock and bought Metropolitan-Vickers at a knock down price and promptly resold it, less MCWF to International General Electric of the USA. In 1929 MCWF and the Cammell-Laird rolling stock intersts merged to form Metro-Cammell This led to the closure of the Nottingham plant and Leeds Forge. These actions led to him not receiving a peerage.
In December 1921 Elrafin (Electrical & Railway Finance Corporation) was founded as a private form of investment bank. This probably invested in British-owned Argentinian and Uruguayan railways and establiished links with Sir Edward Manville and with Sir Follett Holt: the latter with broad interessts in South American railways.
He invested in a small steelworks called Manage in Belgium as lower costs outweighed distance. He also invested in Sofina which had railway and tramway interests in Argentina, He died from Ludwig's angina in June 1944.
William Fairbairn: the experimental engineer
a study in mid 19th-century engineering. Richard Byrom. Market
Drayton: Railway & Canal Historical Society, 2017. Reviewed by David
The remarkable progress of William Fairbairn (1789-1874) from apprentice millwright to one of the nineteenth century's greatest engineers encompassed a wide range of engineering activities. Richard Byrom's timely new study explores not only Fairbairn's life and work during a hectic era of invention, innovation and rapid advances in technology, but also the mixed fortunes of the engineering company that he founded, and the extent of his influence on contemporary and later engineers.
The book's approach is broadly chronological, and emphasises the discrete phases of Fairbairn's life. Each chapter opens with an introduction which sets the scene, and concludes with a discussion and summary of the main topics. The first chapter examines Fairbairn 's life up to 1817, from childhood in Roxburghshire to his arrival in Manchester where he would based for the rest of his life. Chapter 2 covers his fifteen-year long millwrighting partnership with James Lillie, when Fairbairn's improvements in water power technology, based on experiment and testing, introduced him to a network of leading engineers and scientists. One consequence of this in the mid-1820s was the start of his twenty-year long collaboration with Eaton Hodgkinson on a pioneering programme of materials testing and experimental work on cast and wrought ironwork for structural use.
Chapter 3 looks at the nine years following the dissolution of his partnership with Lillie in 1832. Fairbairn carried on in business as sole proprietor and expanded his field of work into steam engines, boilers and ships. In the early 1840s some of his sons joined him as partners in what became a family business, William Fairbairn & Sons. Chapters 4 and 5 examine the circumstances and dynamics that influenced the fortunes of the business over the twelve years up to 1854. Mill-building remained the core business, but was now augmented by locomotive construction and wrought-iron tubular bridges and cranes. Fairbairn's lifelong commitment to educating and training his employees is dealt with in Chapter 6. He never 'retired' at 65 in the conventional use of the word and Chapter 7 describes how he spent the last twenty years of his life, as active as ever. Chapter 8 relates the sad story of the decline and demise of the family business.
Copious chapter end notes and an extensive bibliography, augmented by tables and lists, provide an exceptionally rich resource for further reading and research. Of particular interest are the details of the astonishing numbers of mill buildings, waterwheels, steam engines, ships, locomotives, bridges and cranes which are listed in the appendices as being attributed to Fairbairn. The author's target readership is broad from academic historians and practising engineers of many disciplines to the countless engineering history and heritage enthusiasts. Likewise, the author acknowledges that many readers will have specialist interests, while his subject matter itself covers a very broad spectrum; members of the Society should perhaps bear that in mind.
Richard Byrom suggests that those who have no wish or inclination to read the whole book can catch its gist by merely reading the introductions and conclusions to each chapter. This may be so, but there is much, much more to be gained by following his masterly account of Fairbairn 's life and work from humble beginnings to a hero's funeral attended by thousands of fellow Mancunians.
The trouble with canals. John Liley. Audlem: Canal Book Shop,
2017. 202 pp, 170 photographs (45 colour), drawing, 2 maps, softback,
Reviewed by Joseph Boughey. 192
In a way this accompanies the author's early Journeys of the Swan (1971), which was republished in 2015, also by the Canal Book Shop; its design is similar to the present book. Mr Liley has known canals for 70 years since his first encounters with the canals in Ashton, and this may perhaps be best described as his memoirs. Much of this is episodic, embodying his trenchant views on waterways scenes in Britain and continental Europe that have greatly changed in his time. His thesis, lightly worn, seems to be that a lack of belief in freight carriage on British canals has hastened the decline in carrying, coupled with ignorance about waterways development in France and the Low Countries. 'The Trouble With Canals', he concludes, is that they 'are too undemonstrative for their own good'.
This view underlies his accounts of various involvements, notably writing for, and then editing, Motor Boat and Yachting, from the early 1960s to the mid-1970s; much of his memoir focuses on this period. With vivid portraits of colleagues on the magazine, he stresses the pressure to find material, some of which he provided by accounts of trips in the narrow boat Swan. His amusingly irreverent style shows through in this memoir, with insightful pen portraits of people like the Inland Waterways Association leaders Robert Aickman and Lionel Munk, and turns of phrase, like those describing Thames boat clubs, both pithy and gently barbed.
The appeal of this book to a transport history audience must be limited to those who know a fair amount about waterways history in the period since the 1950s, as it seems to assume a background knowledge of general events. For those who have such knowledge, this may well prove highly entertaining, with many insights.
The LMS Turbomotive: from evolution to legacy.
Jeremy Clements and Kevin Robertson. Manchester: Crecy Publishing,
2017. 159 pp, approx 160 illustrations (including diagrams and a few
in colour), hardback. 192
The Stanier direct-drive turbine locomotive, and its related Swedish locomotives, were amongst the very few non-reciprocating steam locomotives to achieve entry into revenue earning service. The book is structured as follows: a brief introduction; the innovation challenge (a partial examination of unconventional steam locomotives); turbine locomotive development (Reid Ramsay steam turbine electric locomotive; Reid-Macleod steam turbine and Ramsay turbo-electric); Ljungstrorn turbine; Stanier at the LMS; Turbomotive: conception and design; maintenance and modifications; operating performance; rebuild and tragedy; Philadelphia connection; metamorphosis; concluding assessment.
The text of chapter 4 sets out the financial and managerial framework within which Stanier had to operate and is a sensible prelude to what would be a bold experiment; unfortunately, many of the illustrations associated with it add little to the narrative. On the other hand most of the other illustrations are highly informative and excellently reproduced: chapter 3 is especially noteworthy in this respect. Chapter 8 covers the rebuilding of Turbomotive into the reciprocating Pacific named Princess Anne which was damaged beyond repair in the Harrow &Wealdstone accident. The Philadelphia connection covers turbine locomotive development in the United States and chapter 10 covers gas turbine development, including research into a coal-burning variant.
Excellent use is made of Roland Bond's Institution of Locomotive Engineers paper, including a reproduction of the discussion which followed, but the contribution of Sir Henry Guy (of Metropolitan Vickers) to the turbine design is underplayed. Two omissions must also be noted. There is no mention of the key Heilmann high-speed reciprocating-engined electric locomotive, nor of the LM S tentative 'might have been' turbine electric condensing locomotive with Lamont boiler featured in Robin Barnes' Locomotives that never were with the blessing of E S Cox. evertheless, this is a good account of a significant experiment.
The Swansea Vale Railway: a Midland Railway outpost John Miles,
Keri Thomas and Tudor Watkins. Lydney: Lightmoor Press, 2017.
264 pp, 453 illustrations, hardback, Reviewed by Richard Coulthurst
The Swansea Vale Railway, formed in 1845, was based on the earlier Scott's tramroad and was initially a local line intended to serve the collieries and copper smelting works in the Tawe valley. An extension line to Brynamman was opened in stages from 1852 to 1864 and a loop line through Morriston followed in 1875. Swansea is normally thought of as Great Western territory but in the nineteenth century the port and non-ferrous metals industry was proving attractive to the other main line railways. The Midland Railway saw the opportunity of achieving their objective of reaching the city by coming via Hereford and Brecon and taking over the Swansea Vale Railway as well as using their running rights over the Neath & Brecon Railway. From the passenger point of view this was never particularly successful and the through trains that were provided soon ceased with the line reverting to a purely local service which ceased in 1950. Freight traffic was rather more successful with the output from the metal works in Swansea heading for the factories of Birmingham. This is a greatly enlarged edition of a book first published by the Welsh Railways Research Circle in 2004. The first edition gave only a brief history of the line and concentrated on providing an illustrated account as the authors believed the someone else was preparing a more detailed book but this did not appear. The publishers and printers of this edition should be congratulated on the high quality of its presentation.
Vinter's railway gazetteer: a guide to Britain's old railways that
you can walk or cycle. 2nd edition, Jeff Vinter. Stroud: The
History Press, 2017. 167 pp,117 photos (64 colour), 4 maps, softback,
Reviewed by Davld Pedley. 193
Jeff Vinter has a lifetime involvement with walking and railways, especially as a former chairman of Railway Ramblers. This book grew from his early compilations. It incorporates the first professional edition in 2011 with additional entries and a large number of additional photographs. There are many existing books of selected railway walks but this volume aims to be comprehensive whilst basically sticking to what it says on the cover. Firstly, therefore, it is a gazetteer, and entries are by country (including the Republic of Ireland) and county. They are short and to the point. Users are expected to go to a general area to find a walk, so there is no index which would be useful to interested non-walkers. Ordnance Survey map references are given to all entries and there are no locational maps for casual identification. Details given are line opening, means of access and surface quality, extent, interesting features, where there are deviations from the former railway, and any continuation walks. Secondly, it relates to walking and cycling. Paths under two miles may be of railway interest but are generally excluded as not providing a sufficient exercise environment, although some county entries are preceded by brief details of non-conforming sites or path proposals of general interest. Four vignettes, oddly interspersed amongst the entries, are provided as to the general history of closures, re-use, restoration and cost/benefits. Further specific background information is given in the many copious captions to photographs which are all nevertheless relevant to the basic object of walkability. Regular updating will, of course, be required - thanks in no small part to the author's efforts to promote the creation of new public paths. This book is exemplary for its intended use.