4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Signalman's betes noires,
This review is from: Railway Blunders (Paperback)
A good book by the excellent Adrian Vaughan; it could have been a very good book. The book really gets into its stride a third of the way through, from the 1948 nationalisation onwards. Much of the earlier material is too well-known; for example, I learnt nothing from the chapter on the Tay Bridge disaster, which read as if it was entirely based on John Prebble's book.
The best parts of the book are:
-Those explaining obscure topics such as the short-lived use of the SMJ for ironstone traffic (I assume that, if you've read this far, you know what I'm rabbiting on about)
-The examination of some routes which were closed in spite of demand
-The in-depth treatment of failed modern technology, e.g. the Virgin Voyagers which are happy going along the Dawlish sea wall so long as the tide is not so high as to soak their rooftop computers!
-The fragmented structure since privatisation; we all know this in theory, but would you believe it took most of a day to clear a derailment because no one of the companies involved would admit responsibility, and thus incur the huge penalty fees
Time and time again, Vaughan pours well-deserved scorn on the way the privatised network (or non-network) relies on spin and supposed customer care, rather than outmoded principles such as running trains safely and on time.