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Red for Danger: The Classic History Of British Railway Disasters Paperback – 1 Jun 2009


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Product details

  • Paperback: 264 pages
  • Publisher: The History Press; 2nd edition (1 Jun. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0752451065
  • ISBN-13: 978-0752451060
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 2 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 98,260 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

Still one of the essential guides. --Rail Express, December 2009

Rolt's style and narrative is entirely readable and anyone with a general interest in the subject should find the book absorbing. --Engineering Designer, May/June 2010

About the Author

L T C Rolt trained as an engineer, but his fame rests on his classic biographies of Brunel, Telford, Trevithick and the Stephensons, his superb volumes of autobiography (Landcape with Machines, Landscape with Canals, Landscape with Figures), his volumes of transport history, and on his account of a journey along the waterways of England, Narrow Boat. He founded the Inland Waterways Association and was instrumental in encouraging the interest in Britain's industrial heritage at Tal-y-llyn and elsewhere. He died in 1975. His widow Sonia Rolt continues to promote his work.

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Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By G. J. Jeffery on 29 Mar. 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
'Red for Danger' was first published in 1955 and revised in 1966 by the author. It was the first comprehensive historical record of major railway accidents in Britain. The author's primary objective was to demonstrate the lessons learned and to highlight the successive improvements in railway safety. It was widely regarded as the standard work on the subject by those with a serious interest in railways and railway history. Rolt's style and narrative is entirely readable and anyone with a general interest in railways should find the book absorbing. However, to appreciate the circumstances of some of the accidents in detail, the reader needs to have have a working knowledge of railways in the days of steam and manual signal boxes. The book has been reprinted several times since its first publication and remains a classic: however, this latest 2009 reprint has apparently suffered as a result of a sloppy transcription from an earlier edition. There are almost 40 typographical errors, which are peculiar to this edition, hence the loss of a star from the rating.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By R. W. Durrant on 27 Aug. 2009
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This is a book for anyone interested in railways and railway safety systems.The accidents are well described plus the comments,conclusions and recommendations of the Railway Inspector.Over the years the lessons learnt from these accidents have created the safe modern railway we know today.The equipment installed over the period covered to promote safety is also explained.There is mystery here too,accidents at Salisbury,Shrewsbury and Grantham were never fully solved.
An excellent book.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Ferroequinologist on 14 Oct. 2009
Format: Paperback
If you have ever wanted to find out why railway accidents make the headlines, then this book will tell you. It covers the history of railway accidents, from the very earliest days. As you read through, you can learn how the Railway Inspectorate worked with (and often fought against!) the railways to make a railway train one of the safest places to travel. You can find out how accidents happened - the tiny mistakes or momentary lapses of attention that have caused disaster - and read of the improvements that were made in the light of these bitter experiences! There is mystery (accidents that were never explained), drama (hairs-breadth escapes) and even comedy (runaway engines). This is a book to read again and again.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Peter Durward Harris #1 HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on 11 July 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book was originally written by L T C Rolt, who updated it periodically while he was alive. Following his death, it was eventually updated to the end of 1980 by Geoffrey Kitchenside, but his updates are not included in this edition, which is limited to what L T C Rolt wrote. (See Red for Danger for an old edition featuring Geoffrey Kitchenside's additions.)

The three most famous British railway disasters were at Tay Bridge (1879), Quintinshill (1915) and Harrow and Wealdstone (1952), which have all been the subject of books in themselves. I've read and reviewed Britain's Worst Rail Disaster: The Shocking Story of Quintinshill, 1915, the most recent book about Quintinshill, which has the benefit of new evidence that wasn't available to earlier authors. I also plan to buy and read Tay Bridge Disaster: The People's Story, and it is possible that I may buy and read Harrow and Wealdstone: 50 Years on Clearing Up the Aftermath (Series X), if I can put myself through yet another disaster book :-) Those disasters are covered in this book, but obviously that coverage is brief here compared to those dedicated books. Also, those books have the benefit of more up to date research, although some people have doubts about the conclusions to be deduced from such research.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Newminster on 31 Jan. 2013
Format: Paperback
I happened on this edition in the bookshop at the National Railway Museum just after my original (Pan) copy finally fell to pieces.
Not only is it riddled with typos that ought to have been picked up with proof-reading but chunks of Rolt's text have either been left out or misplaced in the text. Possibly a new reader would not notice but over several readings of the original there were many parts that I knew almost off by heart.
It is ironic that a book by such a meticulous man as Rolt was should have been put together in such a slipshod way.
I would not recommend anyone buy this book. Look for a second-hand copy of the Pan edition or -- at worst -- the 1998 edition with additional chapters by Simmons.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Mountain Rover on 25 Jun. 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
missing the later Kitchenside additions, so not very pleased. the information could have pointed this out so I could have looked for the fuller version.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By jrdaddykins on 11 Oct. 2013
Format: Paperback
I have three previous editions of Red For Danger, all in paperback and somewhat dog-eared. I have read this version once and will probably never read it again. Someone with very little knowledge of spelling or grammar seems to have re-typed the whole book, introducing scores of errors that were never there originally. What a travesty! Poor old Mr Rolt must be turning in his grave at this shoddy re-creation of his masterpiece.
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