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Railways Strangest Journeys: Extraordinary but True Stories from over 150 Years of Rail Travel (Strangest Series) Paperback – 28 Nov 2003


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Railways Strangest Journeys: Extraordinary but True Stories from over 150 Years of Rail Travel (Strangest Series) + London Underground's Strangest Tales: Extraordinary But True Stories
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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Robson Books Ltd; 1st ed edition (28 Nov. 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1861056796
  • ISBN-13: 978-1861056795
  • Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 2.8 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 749,324 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Tom Quinn is a journalist, juggler, orange peel collector and expert on Victorian fish painters, who spends much of his time travelling round Britain looking for quirky subjects to write about. He has written five titles in the best-selling Strangest series. Tom also writes occasional obituaries for The Times and edits Country Business magazine.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Peter Durward Harris #1 HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on 6 Jun. 2009
Format: Paperback
This series includes books devoted to various sports (and I`ve reviewed the ones covering golf, tennis, horse racing and the Olympics), but other subjects have also been covered. This book about railways is the first of the series that I've reviewed on a nom-sporting subject, though it probably won't be the last. If you're familiar with other books in the series, you'll have some idea of what to expect. Like the equivalent horse racing book, this one has a clear bias towards the nineteenth century as well as a bias towards Britain. Not all books in the series are like this but for railways, like horse racing, the nineteenth century was a period of major development when many lessons were learned. A lot of strange things that happened then couldn't have happened more recently. So the nineteenth century bias may not be typical of the series as a whole (the golf, tennis and Olympics books focus mainly on the twentieth century) but there is always going to be a British bias, because this is a British book.

Despite the title, not all of the railway stories involve journeys, though most do. Many of the stories are hilarious. They are presented in date order, the first one being about a journey on the Maryport and Carlisle Railway. It supposedly dates from 1817, eight years before the Stockton and Darlington Railway opened, but the railway in question didn`t open until 1845. I wonder if the story is really about a stagecoach journey. Apparently, a farmer refused to buy a ticket for his dog so the dog was loosely tethered to the rear of the train. In those days, journeys were very slow and the dog, running behind, kept pace easily despite the driver going as fast as possible in an attempt to prevent it.
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Format: Paperback
As other readers have pointed out, this book contains one or two historical inaccuracies. However, it must be noted that it is not a book of history, or indeed engineering. It is rather an amusing collection of anecdotes. The railways have attracted some of the most talented engineers in history, but they are also a magnet for eccentrics. And all the better for it. This book describes a large number of the latter. There are hints of the tragedies that sometimes befall new and emerging technologies before they are properly understood. Generally, however, the book has an up-beat tone. Sometimes, I felt that I would like some further information on the events described. It is a straightforward read and will not tax you. It is also suitable for dipping into, reading one story at a time, although I read it from beginning to end. Read it, and it will raise a smile.
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Format: Paperback
As another reviewer has written this book has a number of errors that jump out such as the stationary steam engines at Camden pulling the trains out of Kings Cross (it should be Euston), the London & Greenwich running to a station at Cornhill (an area by the Bank of England) in the City of London I have never heard of and Silver Link being the LMS steam engine that briefly held the world speed record. Silver Link was an LNER locomotive of the same type as Mallard, the current record holder, Coronation held the record for the LMS.

There are funny stories in here but you have to wonder how much of them are correct.
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