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cairns (Haddington)

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Forth Railway Bridge: A Celebration
Forth Railway Bridge: A Celebration
by Anthony Murray
Edition: Hardcover

5.0 out of 5 stars Railman, 1 Feb 2014
A good guide to the iconic bridge that does not go into heavy detail. The story is formed into an easily read style, but there is enough information for the reader. As you would expect the history of the lead up to the current bridge is well explained, as are the preceding bridge schemes. The relevant history of the railway is also covered. There are lots of archival black & white pictures and a small colour section too. This includes such diverse information as using the bridge image for advertising, postcards and souvenirs. The book was published in 1983, so obviously events post that year are not included. A nice well thought out nostalgic book. Well worth having.


FOURTH BRIDGE RESTOR.AN ICON
FOURTH BRIDGE RESTOR.AN ICON
by Ann Glen
Edition: Paperback
Price: 18.50

5.0 out of 5 stars Railman., 1 Feb 2014
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Another well produced and presented book by Ann Glen. This one features the fairly recent major refurbishment of what is rightly regarded as an icon. The work starts off by providing the reader with a historical perspective of the railway approaches, the reasons for building the current bridge and the earlier plans for bridging the Forth. After the tragic collapse of the Tay bridge, " big guns" were brought in as part of the pre building planning. William Henry Barlow, a very safe pair of hands, was an enthusiast of the current design. There are many archival black & white photo's, as well of lots of colour pictures of the refurb, and these give the reader a taste of the mammoth task that it was. The bridge is still with us, expensive to maintain, but carrying heavier trains than at first envisaged. The successful re-opening of Alloa to Stirling obviously takes some of the pressure off as will the more modern coatings used. Refurbishment work was very extensive and well planned and is a credit to all employed. There is one slight niggle, the list of the people involved, at the book's rear has gone awry. The second letter of a few of the the peoples names are used as an alphabetic reference instead of the first letter of their surname.


Edinburgh Waverley
Edinburgh Waverley
by Ann Glen
Edition: Hardcover

5.0 out of 5 stars Railman., 1 Feb 2014
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This review is from: Edinburgh Waverley (Hardcover)
An excellent book outlining the recent extensive refurbishment of the station. It begins by providing the reader with a grounding of the history of the railways in the Edinburgh area, and of the previous and current stations on the present site. Profuse and detailed photo's and plans, both black & white and colour, all well explained add to the well researched background. The volume is not unlike the excellent Alastair Lansley book about St. Pancras although, of course, on a smaller scale. There are some facts and figures towards the back, for instance, who could have thought that 344,100 tonnes of timber would have been recycled? Another excellent book from Ann Glen, and a well presented and produced one too.


Diesel Memories
Diesel Memories
by Roger Siviter
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 17.78

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Railman, 31 Jan 2014
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This review is from: Diesel Memories (Hardcover)
Good photo's with good descriptive text. Pictures taken in many locations throughout Britain, all in black&white, and covering a timeline from the 1960s to the 1990s. I would prefer this type of book to feature at least some, if not all, colour pictures. Going further than that, I would say that traction and infrastructure books should be in colour, It's a colourful railway and a colourful world. Unless the aforementioned are secondary to the main thrust of the book, or the author is trying to emulate the superb O. Winston Link, non colour pictures should go the way of non colour TV. The subject should transcend the " art ". I saw these sights in colour and someone who was not around at the time would get a better idea of things by the use of colour. A very nostalgic look at the railway system, most of which is now history. Would appeal to those who were around at the time.


Railwaywomen: Exploitation, Betrayal and Triumph in the Workplace
Railwaywomen: Exploitation, Betrayal and Triumph in the Workplace
by Helena Wojtczak
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 23.91

5.0 out of 5 stars Railman., 30 Jan 2014
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The previous reviews, and the fact that people of the calibre of Tony Benn, Christian Wolmar and Terry Gourvish, among others, are admirers of Helena Wojtczacs' writing, together with authors of the calibre of Michael Williams using the book for reference, gives you the impression that this is a great work. They are substantially correct. This book charts the whole history of women on the railways from the very beginning. A reader could be forgiven for thinking that the massive innovation of the railways would lead to innovation in working arrangements. Not so. Perhaps because they were run in a military fashion, quite often by ex military officers, and that the personnel were " railway servants", precluded this. The early reference material just is not there, so the book really gets going at the beginning of WW 1, where there is obviously lots more material on record. The unions, NUR, and ASLEF quite rightly, are shown in a very bad light. The former took the women's subscriptions but did nothing for them. This I found very touching. Their official history apparently tries to cover up their blatant wrongdoings thus making a terrible story even worse. They had to face quite an amusing dichotomy. Should they try and get equal pay for women doing men's jobs during the war thus keeping the rate for the job, or should they ensure that women's pay seriously lagged behind men's, as usual, which perhaps would lower the rate for when a man returns to the job! Lots of head scratching there no doubt. ASLEF did not worry itself over the problem, it just did not accept that women existed. The RCA was a little bit better, but not as good as it should have been. Most women had to leave their comparably well paid jobs at the end of hostilities . Previous railway histories have hardly mentioned women's roles at all, airbrushing history. This was a pity as some of the earlier writers would have been able to interview women from that era and get first hand stories. Alas, now no longer possible. The book continues, situation normal as far as women are concerned, through the inter war period and into WW2. Obviously even more material available here with the added bonus that some of these women were still alive and able and willing to tell their stories. There were a few cosmetic changes in the situation, but, for instance, a list of medals awarded show the ones on the "front line" received the BEM, whilst the PA's to higher management received the OBE! The class system was still functioning then. There are some very heroic stories that required great bravery, which was supposed to be one of the qualities absent in women. How could they expect to deal with emergencies such as dead bodies on the line, for instance. Did women nurses or police officers not deal with that sort of thing? That supposes that all men were capable of dealing with dead bodies, completely untrue. Many men would have had trouble coping, in fact I personally know of one man who was too squeamish to change his own children's nappies. Again most women had to leave their jobs on cessation of hostilities. Post war and Nationalisation follow, and still major anomalies occur particularly in regard to crossing keepers. Laws are brought in, particularly the Equal Pay Act, by a women more than equal to the men, Barbara Castle, a caring constituency MP, a very capable parliamentarian and a very formidable Minister. Surely things would now get better. Unfortunately BR management chose to ignore the law on things like equal rights, toilets and other facilities, and were aggressive when the subject was brought up. Inept and incompetent management is very much the " British Disease", not unionised labour as the media would have us believe, for example Railtrack and more recently, the Banks. I am sure that there were some good managers in BR, for instance Peter Rayner and Chris Green, immediately spring to mind, but there was also lots of rubbish, as you would expect in any large organisation. The personal stories toward the end are very interesting, none more so than the Authors own. What a way to treat an employee! There is no happy ending to her time with the railways, unable to carry out guards duties, she is made a carriage cleaner, a job much harder, and this in spite of having a degree. She was even called a malingerer. Obviously the railway was over staffed with highly intelligent people, although I saw no proof of this. I find the comment of Alison Forster MD of FGW a little puzzling in her press release quoted on page 369, " achieved her position through hard work, expertise and respect ". Apart from the respect bit I would have thought that the vast majority of women exhibited these qualities, but the got nowhere. The Author throws a bit of a lifeline to the unions towards the end, but I don"t agree with all of it. I think that a large part of the problem has been " know thy place " as much to do with class as any thing else. This was very evident to me at school leaving time (1964), in regards to which job to choose and the expectation that the ceiling was not very high, and by the way I am male. I also found it very prevalent upon starting work among both sexes. My final comments. The expressions about the book quoted on page 372 by two men are pathetic, and way wide of the mark. Grow up. I was also dismayed to read that sexism is alive and well on Heritage Railways, surely perpetuating abysmal mores is taking heritage too far. The people concerned should be deeply ashamed. You too should grow up. This book is absolutely required reading across many subjects. Railways, women's issues - obviously, history, sociology and how not to be a manager. Railway Women is a milestone in literature, impeccably researched, very well written, full of facts without being dry and very well balanced. Helena's work experiences obviously played a major part in writing and publishing this book. There is no bitterness, although she could be forgiven if there was. The Author is as I would say "non-standard" meaning that she is very capable, determined and above the norm. This is what got her the degree, made her a great writer and a publisher as well as everything else. Her railway adventures helped to bring out what was already there in abundance. Absolutely essential reading and should be in every library, and in everyone's collection. If you are not angered or disgusted after reading it, you must be a corpse. A very sad indictment on society, the railways, politicians and unions. Two last thoughts, had she not published it herself would she have had problems getting it out? Judging by previously quoted comments she may have had. Several women were asked for comments, but refused. More fool them, they could have been in a landmark volume. I believe that there is a similar book in preparation. I eagerly look forward to that. Buy it, or get your library to stock it. It is one of the best, of many, books that I have ever read. Just compare the pictures of the lost soul in a 4sub wearing a cleaners jacket with that on the rear dust jacket of a proud employee commanding passenger confidence. She won.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 2, 2014 10:19 PM GMT


Tribute to the Deltics
Tribute to the Deltics
by G.T. Heavyside
Edition: Hardcover

4.0 out of 5 stars Railman., 22 Jan 2014
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Decent book about the final years of the class in BR service. Well captioned black&white pictures, some in non standard locations. A good reminder of a great class of locomotive that won't break the bank.


Woodhead Countdown to Closure: A Colour Pictorial Tribute
Woodhead Countdown to Closure: A Colour Pictorial Tribute
by Graham R. Jelly
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Railman., 20 Jan 2014
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Another excellent book on the former Woodhead route. This one is about the lead up to closure. There are lots of well captioned colour photos, taken by the Author. The pictures are taken at various points along the electrified route, and most are of class 76 locos. The book is well produced and the Author has obviously created a labour of love. This closure was yet another case of the lack of joined up thinking, the closure was a trade off required by the government in order to keep other routes open. The 1500 volt system obviously needed replacing, but the route could have been kept as diesel only, or even made into the standard 25kv system. Unfortunately costings for the latter were overeggagerated in order to destroy any case that could be built for retention. What a pity that the line wasn't rewired, as with the forthcoming wiring of the Sheffield to London route once more trains could have run from Piccadilly to St. Pancras. Another lost opportunity as the Hope Valley route is not capable of the expansion of services required. A really good read and very nostalgic, who could forget, in particular, Guide Bridge, Wath and of course, Reddish. A must for anyone interested in railways.


The Great British Railway Station: Kings Cross
The Great British Railway Station: Kings Cross
by Chris Hawkins
Edition: Hardcover

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Railman., 19 Jan 2014
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A nice history written in an informal easy going nature. The book gives a background history to the reasons behind the station and the development of it, and all the surrounding railway infrastructure relating to it. The main focus of the accompanying black&white photos is from the 1930s to the 1950s, although earlier and later pictures are shown. I have not seen most of these, and they are not only of trains, but also of the building structures and the work that went on in the goods areas and passenger activities, and are all well captioned. The Top shed as well as the Bottom loco are of course shown. There are very detailed line maps of the area as well. A very nice book to have. There are mentions of the great "The Ladykillers", ( original one), a film which related to the 1950s brilliantly. Look out also for the pictures of the engine cleaners at work, no wonder these jobs were hard to fill post WW2. Many many years of hard and dirty work and unsocial hours for poor pay in the hope that one day you could become a driver.


CCS Swedish Foot Cream Tube 175ml
CCS Swedish Foot Cream Tube 175ml
Price: 5.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Railman., 19 Jan 2014
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An excellent product that does the job perfectly. The amount that you use each time is very small, so I can see the tube lasting for many months. The product can also be used on rough dry skin anywhere else not just the feet.


Indoor Fairy Lights with 40 Warm White LEDs on Clear Cable by Lights4fun
Indoor Fairy Lights with 40 Warm White LEDs on Clear Cable by Lights4fun
Offered by Lights4fun
Price: 12.95

5.0 out of 5 stars Railman., 19 Jan 2014
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An excellent small set of lights which I bought specifically to go across the fireplace, and at a good price. Nice and bright.


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