Our visit to the South Devon Railway did, of course, include a visit to the second-hand book shop. (It has to be said, too, that we visited the bookshop at Buckfast Abbey and came out with a purchase.) I couldn’t resist this gem. I think I have a copy in rather better condition somewhere in the house, but for £3, it was a bargain and it would have been rude not to purchase it.
This book was an inspiration in my teens. I think the Beckenham and West Wickham MRC library copy was almost permanently lent out to me. I even spent some time building one of the locomotives described, a Holden 2-2-2 single. I recall that it had a tender drive (probably K’s, and Hambling’s drivers, as they were the only people doing a 7′ driver in those days. Even so, I had to remove the crank pin and tidy up the spokes, as this GER single had inside cylinders.) The model went to the tip some time back.
A review on Amazon sums the whole thing up rather well:
For those of us who love older steam locomotives, this book is a delight. Mr Hambleton’s wonderful drawings, his descriptions of small details and his personal reminiscences of an era long gone, all combine to make this an enchanting read!
What I love about the book is Hambleton’s enthusiasm for the subject, and the variety of late-19th and early-20th century locomotives illustrated. He does have a soft spots for singles. As an example, here are three examples from the LSWR chapter. Three of William Adam’s 4-4-0’s, all predating Drummond’s better known T9, and their tender. All are beautiful, well-proportioned locomotives. All just about made it into Southern Railway days in 1923, and a T3 (the third and most modern of the classes illustrated here) has been preserved as part of the national collection.
They would all make wonderful models – though it would be a challenge in ‘N’ to fit a motor in the tender and the drivers in the splashers. The splashers would perhaps be easier in 2mm fine scale.
Another one to add to my list of potential retirement fails??? But the book is unreservedly recommended – there are copies to be found on Amazon, and probably in many other railway bookshops.