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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant
Just what you'd expect from the author of "London Underground" - interesting, detailed and informative. This book not only covers the current Overground but the history of the lines that existed beforehand.

My only gripe - the only map of the Overground is hidden on page 70 and is only half a page. I would have expected a full page map. And a map...
Published 19 months ago by billt

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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Well written, nicely printed, poorly planned.
The London Overground is a heavy-rail concept - a 'real' railway, if you like - created by joining up various lines which were previously operated separately in order to form an outer circle route well beyond the existing underground Circle Line, together with a handful of linked radial routes. Probably the best-known component of the outer circle is the former East...
Published on 26 May 2012 by Stanwegian


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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Well written, nicely printed, poorly planned., 26 May 2012
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Stanwegian (Tyneside, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: London's Overground (Hardcover)
The London Overground is a heavy-rail concept - a 'real' railway, if you like - created by joining up various lines which were previously operated separately in order to form an outer circle route well beyond the existing underground Circle Line, together with a handful of linked radial routes. Probably the best-known component of the outer circle is the former East London line between Shoreditch an New Cross/New Cross Gate, utilising Marc Brunel's pioneering tunnel under the Thames between Wapping and Rotherhithe. Opened originally to pedestrian traffic in 1843, this was the first successful attempt to tunnel under a river anywhere in the world. Continuing clockwise, the new route diverges near Surrey Quays to join the South London Line near Queen's Road, Peckham, and thence to the West London Lines at Clapham. Passing through Kensington (Olympia) to Willesden, the route continues through Gospel Oak, Highbury and Islington and Dalston Junction to return to our starting point at Shoreditch. London Overground also embraces the service from Euston to Watford and the lines from Willesden to Richmond, Gospel Oak to Barking and Highbury and Islington to Stratford. There are also services from Highbury and Islington to West Croydon. Most of the system is already operational, and the last link - the South London section - is due to open later in 2012.

It's clear from the above that the creation of Lodon Overground has been a mammoth undertaking, and the project has had to overcome a whole raft of problens on the way to fulfillment. Even now, enthusiasts will be unable to ride around the circle without changing trains, as part of the system is powered by a 'main line' style AC overhead supply, and part by Southern-style DC third-rail supply. John Glover is a competent and knowledgeable writer, and he conducts the reader carefully through the labyrinthine story. The book is in two sections; Part One provides, in eight chapters and forty-odd pages, a reasonably detailed history of the various bits and pieces of former railways which have been brought together to form a unified whole. Part Two is rather longer, with just under 90 pages shared between twelve chapters, and offers a coherent explanation of the concept from inception through gestation to eventual realisation. There's plenty of technical detail for those who want it, though the author never allows this to bog down the narrative. Even more importantly, he isn't afraid to criticise the aspects about which he has concerns, and - at least in the opinion of this reviewer - his criticisms are perceptive, fair and worthy of attention.

The book is published by Ian Allan Ltd, once the doyen of transport publishers, but showing a disappointing lack of direction in recent years. Series have been introduced and discontinued with gay abandon, and individual books have been cancelled shortly before the publication date with no indication of whether the cancellation is temporary or permanent. The company still shows signs of an uncertain future, but I am delighted to report that this is the best-quality mainstream railway book I've seen from Ian Allan for some considerable time. It's a hardback, cloth bounnd with a separate laminated dustjacket, and the whole book is crisply printed (with the one exception mentioned below) on high quality coated paper. There are around 170 illustrations, well cropped and reproduced, and the vast majority are in colour. Most of those in black and white are historic. The overall design of the book is of a standard not often seen from this publisher; it's hard to resist browsing ahead, because the book looks so inviting.

Why, then, with so much to like, do I award only three stars? Well, in my view the book has only one defect, but unhappily that defect is huge. This is a well-written, well-designed and well-produced book about modern changes to railway infrastructure creating a major new public transport network in our national capital. The key lies in the word 'network'. A railway network is above all a geographic entity; it needs to be viewed against other related networks, and on a geographic basis. If you're a rail enthusiast AND a Londoner, this book is definitely for you; you'll be familiar with the locations mentioned and will easily understand what is being discussed. If you aren't a rail enthusiast, you're unlikely to have any interest in the book. But if [like me] you're a rail enthusiast but not a Londoner, you may have considerable difficulty in visualising what, precisely, is being constructed. In short, there is an unforgivable lack of maps. Part One (the historical section) is illustrated with a series of diagrams, mostly reproduced from the Railway Magazine, but each of these is a standalone sketch, not linked to the others, and the most modern dates from 1969; others first appeared in 1964, 1953 and 1922. They serve their intended purpose by clarifying the historical background, but fail to shed any light on the big picture. For that, we have to rely on a single map, squashed at a ludicrously small scale into the bottom half of an A4 page. It's a reproduction of the 2012 Transport for London geographical map of the system, and the only other detail shown is the Thames and some unexplained faint grey lines which presumably indicate borough boundaries. The printed station names are very small and difficult to read, being printed in a typeface not designed for such a drastic reduction. It simply isn't fit for purpose, to use a phrase which has acquired buzzword status. Not only that, it doesn't provide any indication of context in relation to other transport networks. The subject matter of the book needs - in fact, demands - a copy of the above map at full-page size, together with a double-page spread of the current Underground map, which since 2008 has also included the Overground iines. Londoners may see the latter map on a daily basis; the majority of the British population does not. It isn't even particularly easy to access on line.

Railway enthusiasts don't have to live in London to have an interest in developments such as the Overground, or Tramlink, or Crossrail. This fine book would be worth five stars but for the omission of adequate mapping to provide a context for the general reader, but that omission is glaring and unforgiveable. Many enthusiasts will still find a place for it on their bookshelves, but with a little intelligent forethought it could have been so much better.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, 28 Jan 2013
By 
billt (Winchester) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: London's Overground (Hardcover)
Just what you'd expect from the author of "London Underground" - interesting, detailed and informative. This book not only covers the current Overground but the history of the lines that existed beforehand.

My only gripe - the only map of the Overground is hidden on page 70 and is only half a page. I would have expected a full page map. And a map showing its interaction with other lines on Network Rail would have been a good addition. Something for the second edition, now that the Clapham Junction branch is open.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Railman., 25 Jun 2014
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cairns (Haddington) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: London's Overground (Hardcover)
A thorough and very interesting story of London's Overground. A blow by blow account of all the component parts and their development and everyday running, including historic background. There are plenty of photo's, mainly in colour, and some early track plans. There is however no real map showing it's position in the scheme of things. Very well worth getting. One particular point of interest to me was where BR did put forward partial schemes during their tenure. Of course, like so many of their great ideas it was not taken seriously as far as investment went. The book ends with a thought on where the future lies. It would be interesting to reread it in say ten years and to compare what the author says with what actually happened.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Remarkable, 1 May 2014
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This review is from: London's Overground (Hardcover)
The book in itself was fine, an excellent purchase. But the price was incredible, almost in the give-away stakes. I just couldn't believe it.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Yesterday's history today!, 8 Dec 2012
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This review is from: London's Overground (Hardcover)
This was a "not put me down book"! There were so many facts, lots of photos and maps, and it was a real delight to read about positive happenings in our city, and that it just keeps getting better.
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London's Overground
London's Overground by John Glover (Hardcover - 2 Feb 2012)
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