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3.5 out of 5 stars
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3.5 out of 5 stars
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on 25 October 2009
If you've read any of Mac Hawkins remarkable "Then and Now" series on disappeared railways you'll know that getting shots of locations years apart is a massive task. Obviously this isn't trying to emulate that and indeed to do so in the suburban London landscape would be almost impossible. However whilst it's inevitable that pictures of Southern's past will always be more interesting than the present my real problem is with the picture quality, and in particular the "present" pictures.
Any rail buff will know that the variety of traffic in our inner city areas in the past is bound to make for more interesting pictures. On Southern's suburban network Steam mixed with 3rd Rail Electric and traffic included local freight as well as one of the earliest high density suburban service networks anywhere. Modern railways are all about speed, comfort and multiple unit stock. Gone are siding's, local freight and loco hauled trains are much less frequent. You will inevitably end up with a succession of EMU (Electric Multiple Units) pictures and these will usually be in colour. Here's where one of the books biggest problems arises. The conversion to B&W of these pictures has not survived printing very well. I suspect that these images were worked on before printing but frankly the quality is pretty poor. Back to Photoshop for some more tweaking may help? ..or is it the printing quality itself?
My second issue is with the area covered. The map inside shows the lines covered but the actual locations covered are relatively few. If you're trying to cover an area with a theme past and present it's not necessarily going to provide the most scintillating shots but at least the majority need some "WOW factor" or you end up with a pretty dull book ...even for hardcore rail enthusiasts.
Sorry, but I ordered this in advance and had hoped for better from this publisher. I can't "blame" the author here for what might be editorial deciscions?
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on 3 June 2011
I have read or own nearly all the books in this fine series and sadly this is the worst of them by a long shot. My main gripe is the quality of the pictures which are particularly poor. Some locations have three pictures when really two would have been sufficient and with these being crammed onto one page it results in lots of badly cropped pictures. There is also a small section of pictures at East Croydon depicting passangers waiting for trains - a woman reading a paper with a coffee and another of a child's head virtually in the camera lens - who cares! This space could be used for better bigger better cropped pictures! Several of the present photos also have no baring at all to the past shot - I appreciate over time buildings or trees cover areas where pictures were taken but these shots seem so far off that it doesn't seem worth putting them in or the location. I agree with the other review about the area being to wide - they should have stuck with either the south east or south west lines and then done the other in a separate edition.
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on 7 April 2010
i think the title to this book is deceptive, it should say south west london suburban lines, i had hoped it would have more pictures of the other side of south london , the south east, instead it seems to concentrate more on south west london,i`m not taking anything away from the book in saying that, it is still a great book to read, the pictures are little time capsules and worth studying in detail , maybe the authors would like to do another volume on the south east (hint hint)please.....
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on 5 January 2015
Same style as others in the series with useful snippets of info
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