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Life on the Railway Hardcover – 26 Oct 1989
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Too many railway histories concentrate on locomotives, with perhaps an occasional brief mention of the engine drivers or Firemen. Too often the men and women who worked behind the scenes are forgotten - the fitters, the tube blowers, the shunters, the booking clerks, the refreshment room staff, without whom the railways could not have functioned. This book, while not neglecting the locomotive scene, sets out principally to describe how one small part of Britain's railway network operated, and what life was like for all the employees on the railway.
Bath Green Park station and motive power depot provide the basis for the story though this is not just another Somerset & Dorset book. The S&D plavs its part but in partnership with the Midland Railway's Mangotsfield and Bath Branch, a relatively little known but equally hardworking component of the railway scene in Bath.
In this essentially human tale, we meet 14 year old call boys whose duties included 'knocking up' train crews in the small hours of the morning, and foreman Tom Rudd, famous for drinking his tea straight from the pot. We hear of train workings known as The Fish and Chip Special, The Ghost Train and The Rabbits, and of goose plucking in Weston signalbox. Here is the story of the ordinary working people of the railways, the story of a way of life which has all but disappeared.
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20 April 2004
This book allows the reader to understand the workings of former Midland and Somerset and Dorset Railways at Bath. The history of both the lines are covered before going on to look at day to day life in the last years of this railway site. Coverage of the two lines extends from their common terminus at Bath Green Park station to the city boundries and includes the locomotive depot and good yards in addition to the working of the station. Many personal memories of the people who worked on the line are included,and it is this which really makes this book something special. The details of operating the railway overlooked in more general histories are well covered and many stories related. The numerous black and white photographs follow this lead,looking at many of the hidden areas of the working railway in addition to the more popular overall views of trains and stations. This book is amust for anyone seeking to know how a large railway site really functioned, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. An excellent book recalling a lost era.