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Railways Strangest Journeys: Extraordinary but True Stories from over 150 Years of Rail Travel (Strangest Series) [Paperback]

Tom Quinn
2.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
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Book Description

28 Nov 2003 Strangest Series
A fascinating collection of entertaining stories from as far afield as Europe, Indian and America revealing unusual railway journeys across the centuries, including ghost trains, vanishing passengers and trains fitted with homing pigeons instead of a communication cord! From eccentric lords, who transferred their carriages complete with horses and footmen onto the train, to drivers who stole garden fencing to keep up a good head of steam. 'Railways Strangest Journeys' takes you from the dawn of railway travel when speeds of 15 mph were considered blasphemous and damaging to one"s internal organs through the Victorian heyday of Royal Trains and seaside specials, right up to the present day.

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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: 13.7 x 21.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 466,701 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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Customer Reviews

2.8 out of 5 stars
2.8 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
By Peter Durward Harris #1 HALL OF FAME TOP 50 REVIEWER
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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1.0 out of 5 stars Full of errors 29 Dec 2011
I only got to page 2 before spotting the first mistake in this error strewn book. According to Quinn the first train on the Stockton & Darlington Railway in 1825 left Doncaster, arrived at Darlington and then returned to Doncaster. If he can't get that right then how many of the other "extraordinary but true stories" can I believe?

Charity shop is the next stop for this one.
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5.0 out of 5 stars First Class 22 Mar 2011
This book was bought as a present - it arrived on time and in perfect condition. The description of the book was accurate. I have to say that it's first class. I think the recipient will love it!
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2.0 out of 5 stars Factual errors 3 May 2010
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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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By D6864
"Railways' Strangest Journeys" is clearly aimed at the 'normal people desperate for a gift for a railway enthusiast' market. As one of the latter, I cannot recommend this book due to many factual errors. The first story is typical; it purports to date from 1817 and concerns a journey on the Maryport and Carlisle railway, which opened in 1840! Sadly, many more of the stories are equally inaccurate or implausible to anyone with a little railway knowledge. At least the apostrophe in the title is correctly used.
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