No. 54 - p264-270

© JUNE 1974



STEAM IN THE ANDES, by Brian Fawcett (112 pages, 155 illustrations).

LONDON MIDLAND STEAM OVER SHAP, by Derek Cross (96 illustrations).

LONDON MIDLAND STEAM IN THE NORTH-WEST, by J.R. Carter (100 illustrations).

SOUTHERN STEAM - SOUTH AND EAST, by Stanley Creer (91 illustrations).

Standard format, 96 pages, 8¾in x 8½in, art paper, cloth bound. Published in 1973 by D. Bradford Barton Ltd, Trethellan House, Truro, Cornwall. Price £2.75 (except STEAM IN THE ANDES, £3.50). (Society funds will benefit if copies are ordered - post free - from Mr A.D. Semmens, 44 Hicks Avenue, GREENFORD, Middlesex).

    These titles are further additions to the series of albums of which four were reviewed on page 191 of RECORD 52. They maintain the same high standard. Steam in the Andes parades the magnificent and varied British- and USA‑built motive power which blasted over mountains more than four times higher than Snowdon. A few of the pictures may be faulted technically but all are full of atmosphere, many being taken by the author during his twenty odd years service with the Central of Peru. Those who have read his earlier book Railways of the Andes (Allen & Unwin, 1963) will know of the immense difficulties encountered in operating heavy mineral trains in sub‑zero temperatures over severe gradients and tortuous curves. Runaways were numerous and we see pictures of spectacular smashes, including one in 1953 when a 40 wagon train of nitrate derailed at 100mph. Gravity worked milk trains running by night ceased only when the death rate of crews could be tolerated no longer. Against the magnificent Andean backcloth railway owned steamers on Lake Titicaca vie with Mallets and Garratts on lofty viaducts and spectacular zigzags. Vintage Rogers 4‑6‑0's, Baldwin 2‑8‑2's, North British 2‑8‑4 tanks and Kitson-Meyers stir the imagination, and one cannot but agree that in steam days the railways of the Andes were probably the most spectacular in the world. Nine are featured, from the Cerro de Pasco in the north to the Chilean Transandine in the south. Although common carriers they are essentially industrial railways for they were built to enable the vast nitrate deposits to be exploited. Now that steam has virtually succumbed to the diesel, this album is a fitting memento to an age of railroading now past. It cannot be recommended too highly.

    In London Midland Steam over Shap Derek Cross covers another hill section which is tame by comparison. However, this is not to detract from his many excellent photographs - taken in all seasons during the 1950's and 1960's - on the railway between Carlisle and Oxenholme over Shap which was undoubtedly one of the most frequented by Britain's photographers in steam days. Pride of place goes to the Stanier "Duchesses" but all the types which your reviewer can remember slogging up the 1 in 75 grade are depicted. However, the most pleasing picture to his eye was taken some miles north of the famous bank and features "Mickey Mouse" 46455 coming off the truncated ex‑NER Kirby Stephen line at Eden Valley Junction. As the electrics whine effortlessly through, one can now search in vain for the lofty box at Shap Summit and the diminutive cabin at Scout Green. This album evokes an era now past.

Quite a number of John Carter's photographs feature locomotives at rest, and his gem is a night shot of 45156 at Patricroft shed: this has been published previously but has lost none of its appeal. With the author being a footplateman he was able to capture certain scenes more easily than others, and presumably went to work with his shovel over one shoulder and camera on the other. His territory in the north-west is not so scenic as that covered by Derek Cross, but the atmosphere of majestic steam in action comes over very well and his photographs are technically very good. Both this album and that by Stanley Creer are highly recommended. Almost to the end of steam, the Southern had a large number of branch lines worked by a variety of often vintage locomotives. Although the Bulleid Pacifics feature in some fine studies it is the smaller engines which catch the eye. Both Creer and Cross have provided extended informative captions, and all four albums bring back nostalgic memories of the good old days.   (KPP)

CLIFFE HILL MINERAL RAILWAY, LEICESTERSHIRE, by M.H. Billington. 48 pages, 8¼in x 5½in, card covers, 18 illustrations (including one line drawing), one map. Published by Turntable Enterprises, 23 Portland Crescent, LEEDS, LS1 3DR. Price 55p. (Society funds will benefit if copies are ordered - post free - from Mr A.D. Semmens, 44 Hicks Avenue, GREENFORD, Middlesex.)

    The narrow gauge railway network which served the quarry of the Cliffe Hill Granite Co Ltd at Markfield in Leicestershire was in several ways typical of similar systems once widely operated at quarries and chalk pits the length and breadth of the country. Virtually all these fascinating tramways are now, alas, no more, and the majority seem destined to fade quietly into oblivion unless a greater interest is taken to record them as fully as possible. Because of this Maurice Billington's book on Cliffe Hill is a welcome addition to present day railway publications. For over twenty years the author has painstakingly gathered details of the tramway and its locomotives from available records and by conversing with elderly employees of the company. The author's persistence has finally paid dividends: the story has been written and published and the product is credit to both author and publisher alike. The book itself is in the same format as other offerings from the same publisher of late, and one immediately recalls "The Heck Bridge and Wentbridge Railway" by Grahame Boyes as a particularly well-written booklet in this series. The present author's style is a little uneven at times, but what matter; the spirit of the railway comes over very well. In view of his remarks on page 39 he will be pleased to know that there were only two Sentinel locomotives at Cliffe Hill (Nos. 6751 and 6901). Built at Chester (not Shrewsbury), 6751 in error carried the worksplate of 6770 which went new to the Wigglesworth Colliery Co Ltd in County Durham (not the Northumberland Whinstone Co Ltd). Of particular interest is the account of the replacement of the narrow gauge system within the quarry itself; first with road steam lorries and ultimately with a standard gauge locomotive-worked rail system. Thus was created at Cliffe Hill the peculiar (unique?) situation where a standard gauge-worked quarry was connected to the main line exchange sidings by a narrow gauge tramway! The book is illustrated by a number of choice views in addition to some well known ones from the camera of the late George Alliez. Several of the former come, in fact, from the Cliffe Hill Company's own collection. Two of these are worthy of further mention: the line up of the locomotive stock about 1911 and the posed assembly of the fleet of road steam lorries. However, there are in existence several panoramic photographs of the quarry and the narrow gauge network, and it is rather disappointing to find that not one of these has been included. And why does the official Bagnall photograph of MARY only appear on the cover? There are, in the opinion of the present reviewer, two notable omissions. Close-up maps of the quarry area at various dates are not provided and a list of the locomotive stock would have been useful. The drawings of MARY (Bagnall 1943 of 1911) are of a particularly high standard and it is a pity that they are not done full justice by being squeezed on to one page. On the whole this is a reasonably priced and useful addition to literature on narrow gauge and industrial railways.    (TJL)

THE SENTINEL: Volume 1 1875-1930, by W.J. Hughes and Joseph L. Thomas. 320pp, 8¾in x 5¾in, 119 half-tone illustrations and line drawings. Published in 1973 by David & Charles, Newton Abbot, Devon. Price £5.95. (IRS funds will benefit if copies are ordered - post free - from Mr A.D. Semmens, 44 Hicks Avenue, GREENFORD, Middlesex.)

    This is the first of two volumes of the Sentinel story and covers the period from 1875, when Stephen Alley and John MacLellan established the Sentinel Engineering Works in Bridgetown, down to circa 1930 when The Sentinel Waggon Works were established as the foremost builders of steam waggons in the world. Whilst the name of Sentinel is perhaps best remembered for steam waggons and railcars the first products to bear the name were a series of high quality marine engines, air compressors and valves, etc, all of which this book describes in great detail, together with subsequent developments both in Glasgow and after the firm moved to the new works at Shrewsbury. The narrative is presented in a very readable manner and much hitherto unpublished information is included. There are no less than 22 appendices giving a variety of interesting facts and figures on the multiplicity of Sentinel products. Inevitably in a work of this magnitude some errors are bound to appear though there are more than one would have expected in a book costing £5.95. In the locomotive chapter the authors erroneously credit Kyrle Willans with the idea of building Sentinel geared steam locomotives in 1922 with the rebuild of ANCOATS, whereas this rebuild was not carried out until 1924, more than a year after S.E. Alley had conceived and patented the Sentinel steam locomotive himself. Other sections of the locomotive chapter appear to have been lifted straight from contemporary Sentinel catalogues. The book is, however, one which proves impossible to put down once started and should be on the bookshelves of every steam enthusiast. (JMH)

SLATES TO VELINHELI, by D.C. Carrington and T.F. Rush worth. 60 pages, 8½in x 5½in, cardcovers, 35 photographs, nine locomotive line drawings, two maps, five rail layouts and charts. Published by the Maid Marian Locomotive Fund. Copies obtainable from V.J. Bradley, Llanberis Lake Railway Co Ltd, Gilfach Ddu, Llanberis, Caernarvonshire, price 50p (inclusive of postage).

    Few, if any, industrial locomotive enthusiasts will not know of the narrow gauge slate quarry railways of North Wales. References to some of these railways are to be found in various publications but now one particular system - that operated by the Dinorwic Slate Quarries Co Ltd - has been written about at length. The contents of this booklet, which cover the Llanberis Lake Railway in addition to the quarry railways, first appeared in serialised form in the Journal of the Stephenson Locomotive Society during 1972 and 1973. In very lucid fashion it describes the rail transport system of the mighty Dinorwic slate quarries at Llanberis, Caernarvonshire. The introduction gives a useful general picture of the Dinorwic area and its associated quarrying activities, followed by a section describing the narrow gauge tramway system located within the quarry itself. Several incline systems are dealt with in the detail they deserve, and an explanation of gallery and incline nomenclature is provided. Later sections deal with steam and diesel locomotive technicalities, their location at and transport between the various galleries, also their liveries and names. Of particular use is the chart from which one can see at a glance which locomotives were located on each of the levels during the period of rail operation. Considering the in depth treatment of the steam locos it is a little strange that the authors have not seen fit to mention the works numbers of any of the twenty or so internal combustion locomotives. Regrettably rolling stock is only dealt with briefly, but the account of the Padarn Railway and the Quarrymen's trains makes particularly interesting reading. The Padarn was a 4ft gauge line built by the quarry company to link its 1ft 10¾in gauge system at Dinorwic with a similar one at Port Dinorwic from whence dressed slate was shipped: loaded 1ft 10¾in gauge tubs were ferried from quarry to port in "piggy-back" fashion on 4ft gauge transporter wagons. The second part of the booklet deals with the re‑utilisation of that part of the Padarn Railway trackbed running along the shore of Padarn Lake, now familiar to enthusiasts as the present day narrow gauge Llanberis Lake Railway, which carries thousands of holiday makers every year. A lavish selection of line drawings of high standard has been included; thus it is a pity that the chimney crown and a little of the cab top of LADY JOAN (Hunslet 1429 of 1922) have been cut off due to this drawing being oversize for the page. Opportunity has been taken to correct a few minor errors in the original Journal articles but unfortunately most of the information published in the Journal as an addenda remains as such. Some of the original drawings and photographs have been re‑arranged to give a more balanced production and a few photographs added. In view of this, could not a panoramic view showing the full extent of the quarries have been included to emphasise the scale of operations? Also, the solitary diesel locomotive photograph can hardly be said to be representative. All things considered, however, this is a worthwhile addition to the library of any narrow gauge or North Wales enthusiast. (TJL)