Monday, February 29, 2016

Mersey rails

Being half-Scouse i've always enjoy visiting Liverpool though in recent years have not been as much as i'd like... and should. Last Saturday i headed up there again though instead of Liverpool itself i spent most of my time on the Wirral visiting places like New Brighton. The main reason was to travel on Merseyrail's third-rail DC network and their fleet of BR era Class 507 and 508 EMUs. Planning for their replacement has begun so i thought it was time i took some photos of them (though they probably won't be replaced for a good few years yet).

New Brighton was enjoyable too, a great seaside resort though of course a bit bleak in February, a return in the Summer would be a good idea. You can see my Mersey rails photos here.

Monday, February 22, 2016

'D' For Diesels : 8 (Booklaw)

As with other titles in this series this book presents a good and varied collection of black & white photos from the early days of British Rail "modern traction", specifically the days before TOPS numbers and the diesels were largely (but not always) green. The photos are accompanied by captions written in a conversational style, often pithy (though sometimes it does fall a bit flat).

This volume mainly features the photos of Gavin Morrison and covers the whole range of BR diesels from lowly shunters to huge main line locomotives. The photos are mainly taken in the 1960s and show a rail network and indeed a Britain before the ravages of standardisation and corporate identities.

Maybe everything was all a bit simpler and more innocent back then but nostalgia, like everything else, is not like it used to be.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Back to Stratford (at last!)

There was a time, when i was doing my masters dissertation, i was visiting Stratford-upon-Avon nearly every week but since then my visits have become much less frequent in fact last year i only went to the town once. That was just over a year ago so it was high time i returned to the town as i did today.

I really should visit more often though it is getting harder to see things and do things i haven't done (many) times before. Today though i did cross the Avon using the road bridge which gave me a good view of the boatyard, oddly never been that way before. You can see my photos here.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

The London Underground Electric Train (Crowood)

There are many books on the development of the tube trains of London Underground, quite a few of them really good too and this is another one to add to that list.

This excellent book approaches the subject from a novel direction: instead of a standard history of the LU network and its rolling stock this book instead describes the development of the many technologies that went into the LU train as we know now and how they all fit together. So starting with the earliest electric traction in the first tubes we see how electric motors and control systems, bogies, bodywork, brakes et cetera developed over the decades.

The book is well illustrated throughout, with a number of diagrams that explain how the various systems work. The London Underground was the first deep-level underground system in the world but it owes so much to early developments in the US as well as decades of evolution and different paths (not all of which worked). Much development work is ongoing and the book is very up-to-date with the latest details of the New Tube for London which will finally replace my beloved 1972 Stock in the next decade (perhaps).

Bogies at the LT Museum Depot

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Sopwith F.1/2F.1 Camel (Haynes Manual)

Once Haynes just did car manuals but sensibly have opened their horizons much further these days as less people are willing/able to maintain their own ever more advanced automobiles. Here is a Haynes manual therefore for the Sopwith Camel, the first truly famous British aeroplane. It could, of course, be of use for owners of the WW1 icon but the vast majority of readers will never own the plane, so is the book worth having?

Haynes manuals are very good value for the money, very readable and very well presented. These manuals for historic vehicles usually include a potted history of the type in question and then go on to technical details as to how it was built and how it can be maintained. The Camel book is no exception. The history of the Camel also includes a brief history of the origins of the RAF. Its a good read but maybe should have been gone in to a little more depth.

The technical portion of the manual does goes into depth on how the Camel was built. I find with these manuals there tend to be sections of interest and others which i skip over. The section on starting the engine for example is very good.

So yet again a good Haynes manual, and if ever i manage to get myself a Sopwith Camel (which isn't in 1:72 scale) i'll know how keep it all together!
N6812 at the Imperial War Museum