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Welcome to Irwell Press

We distribute a wide range of high quality railway books, from those covering the main lines of Britains railway network to highly detailed locomotive histories. We have a growing list of industrial railway books and a popular series of colour books which have recently been expanded to include buses. If you cannot find the book you are looking for then please check our forthcoming books section, or alternatively give us a call on 01525 861 888 and we will be happy to help.

This months news

The nights are getting longer.... the days shorter and Christmas is just over the horizon so...... time to snuggle down in comfort with our books!

Our new season continues with a series of fantastic new books which we will announce shortly so watch this space! :-)


Meanwhile why not buy one of our most recent releases such as Main Line to The South - Part 1 which was published in late July and can be ordered ex-stock NOW
....Followed by "A Celebration of LMS Coronation Pacifics" which was also published in late July and also available ex-stock NOW!!
Both follow on from our very successful "The Book of the Ivatt Class 2 2-6-2Ts" published in early June and can be ordered ex-stock NOW .......
....itself being a worthy compliment to the tender version in "The Book of the Ivatt Class 2 2-6-0s"!

So watch this space for many more exciting new book releases arriving from Irwell Press!

..Meanwhile.. have fun, but STAY SAFE :-) :-D

29th.April 2020 - IMPORTANT CORONOVIRUS UPDATE: As the coronavirus outbreak continues, we all face the difficult challenge of responding to the impact it is having on our lives. We at Irwell Press realise that visiting retail outlets to purchase books is extremely difficult and will be for some time. In response to this crisis, Irwell Press are offering all UK customers a POST FREE service until further notice. We have updated our website to allow for this. If you are in the UK and our website shows a P&P charge for your order then we will manually remove the P&P charge. You will not be charged for the P&P. We wish you all the very best of health for the future.

Best wishes and STAY SAFE,

George Reeve

Last updated 14/11/2020


Interested in the London and South Western Railway? Join our Twitter feed here and take part in discussion on both the prototype and modelling issues. LONDON SOUTH WESTERN CIRCLE

New Books and Magazines

Main Line to The South - Part 1: Basingstoke to St.Cross (Winchester)

Main Line to The South - Part 1: Basingstoke to St.Cross (Winchester)



Part 1 Basingstoke to St.Cross

By John Nicholas and George Reeve -

ISBN 978-1-911262-35-0

The London and Southampton Railway opened its line in 1840 and was the first major railway in the south of England. Engineer Joseph Locke, and contractor Thomas Brassey, completed the last part of the line from Basingstoke to Winchester through the chalk downs to the summit at Litchfield Tunnel.

The easy grades of the line were only achieved by involving some heavy civil engineering work, high embankments, deep cuttings and numerous tunnels. Traffic grew steadily, particularly goods, to and from the expanding Southampton Docks and boat trains ran in connection with the ocean liner traffic.

Southampton developed into the principal port for military traffic to the Empire and the line played a major role in the supply of men and materials for the Boer, First and Second World Wars. The line achieved something of a legendary status in the 1960s being the last steam worked main line in England until its electrification in July 1967.

Today the line between Basingstoke and Southampton carries not only heavy passenger traffic but, with the recent demise of coal traffic elsewhere, some of the nation’s heaviest freight traffic with containers from Southampton Docks.

  • Part One covers the line between Basingstoke and Winchester

  • Part Two deals with the line through Eastleigh, including the works, to Shawford Junction.

  • Part Three completes the story to Southampton covering St.Denys, Northam, Southampton Terminus and Central.

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  • A Celebration of LMS Coronation Pacifics

    A Celebration of  LMS Coronation Pacifics


    By John Jennison -


    The first in a series which has but a simple aim, that is to use top quality photographs reproduced at the largest possible size to celebrate some of the best-loved steam classes. Full-page shots are presented in a landscape format and are backed up by comprehensive captions.

    What better place to start then than the Stanier Coronation Pacifics of the LMS? The emphasis throughout is on the engines in service and the book has been arranged in chapters in chronological order starting with the four main variations of the class as built, followed by the post-war de-streamlined engines.

    The final three chapters show the Coronations at work in the 1950s and 1960s on each of the principal routes where they were used, ending with the final few months of 1964.

    All engines in the class are covered at least once. The pictures have been selected from the collections of Rail-Online and Brian Stephenson’s Rail Archive Stephenson and include many taken by Jim Carter and Bill Anderson. Jim was a railwayman based at Patricroft which gave him access to locations in the north west not available to other photographers. Bill Anderson took some of the finest pictures ever taken in this country as the engines worked over Shap and Beattock.

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    The Book of the IVATT CLASS 2 2-6-2Ts

    The Book of the IVATT CLASS 2 2-6-2Ts


    By John Jennison -

    ISBN 978-1-911262-34-3

    The Ivatt Class 2 tanks and moguls were amongst the last new LMS designs and although intended for secondary duties to replace a variety of ancient pre-grouping specimens, they incorporated all of the refinements developed over the previous decade and honed by Ivatt on his post-war Black Fives.

    The two classes were developed together, using the same boiler, sharing as many components as possible and they were very much complementary. Operationally, they worked mostly in different areas and on different duties and hence the story of the tender version is covered separately in the Book of the Ivatt 2-6-0s.

    There was no class that was so immediately and universally accepted by enginemen. Not only did they welcome both the tender and tank versions with open arms, "they worshipped the very rails they stood on".

    The 2-6-2Ts were really the last small tank locomotive designed for Britain’s railways; the BR Standard Class 2 in the 84000 series being merely a slightly modified version. Their light axle loading meant that they could go almost anywhere on the system and they certainly did that. They operated throughout the Southern Region, from Kent to Cornwall, as well as almost everywhere on their native LMS; the only area where they did not work at all was Scotland.

    Complements the immediately preceding Book of the Ivatt 2-6-0s.
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    The Book of the IVATT CLASS 2 2-6-0s

    The Book of the IVATT CLASS 2 2-6-0s


    By John Jennison -

    ISBN 978-1-911262-26-8

    As the LMS Press Release explained at the time, the newest LMS 2-6-0s, though of small size and light weight, incorporated ‘every modern development which has been found successful on the larger main line types.’ They had self-cleaning smokeboxes, manganese steel axlebox liners, rocking grates and hopper ashpans. Externally, the high running plate and outside cylinders contrasted with the rather ancient looking large diameter chimney. The tender cab and inset tanks were designed for tender-first operation.

    The Class 2 moguls and the contemporaneous Class 2 2-6-2Ts were amongst the last new LMS designs and although intended for secondary duties, they incorporated (just like the Press Release said!) all of the refinements developed over the previous decade and honed by Ivatt on his post-war Black Fives. The two classes were designed together, sharing as many components as possible, using the same boiler, and they were very much complementary.

    The Book of the Ivatt Class 2 2-6-0s as you’d expect follows the series customary format; detailed essay as to provenance, development, historical content, tables of works histories and allocations, photographs of every loco.

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    SOUTHERN NOUVEAU - And the Lineside

    SOUTHERN NOUVEAU - And the Lineside



    The Southern Railway inherited all the myriad buildings and structures and a glorious gallimaufry of lineside objects from its three large and very different constituents. Little of it was modern and much of it was rooted in the preceding century.

    It was a vast collection of buildings, everything in style from Italianate to Mock Tudor and Gothic Revival as well as examples of anything else dreamed up along the way. Huts, signalboxes, stations in corrugated iron, brick or wood and sometimes all three, abounded across the system from Kent to Cornwall.

    A Fresh Wind then blew through the Southern. All new work and replacements, from signalboxes to fencing, would be done using standard components produced by the company; much of the raw material even came from its own quarry. What these products had in common was the new dynamic medium of reinforced and pre-stressed concrete.

    Concrete items, from entire huts and footbridges, to humble posts in every conceivable size and configuration, poured out of the special concrete works at Exmouth Junction and slowly the ‘look’ of the Southern began to change. And that was before the celebrated Southern Art Deco buildings began to appear.

    This a comprehensive record and account of those years, of developments which rippled out across the wider BR network until even the 1970s. It uses a huge range of photographs and drawings, allied to detailed description, of almost every facet of the Southern as evolved during its lifetime and beyond into BR days. There is simply no other single source in which almost the entire spectrum of ‘The Lineside’ of one major railway company/Region can be found. SIGNALLING is different – something for another day!








    Engine Sheds

    Signal Boxes

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    DIESEL DAWN - 1 Deltics

    DIESEL DAWN - 1 Deltics



    ISBN 978-1-911262-23-7 - OUT NOW

    Available from selected W H Smith High Street Stores or direct from the publisher

    First in a series to record in colour and black and white the prototype origins and production lives of our diesel classes, from halting beginnings in the 1950s to (sometimes) premature ends. DELTIC itself was the most extraordinary prototype of all; culmination of a long and complex road stretching back would you believe through a First World War German aero engine, Second World War RAF ground attack aircraft, Kreigsmarine E-boats and HM Royal Navy. The English Electric project (known as DP1 – Diesel Prototype No.1, which is how we got DP2 years later) to build DELTIC was speculative, an unusual but not unknown road to take in locomotive history. DELTIC itself, at 3,300hp, was way, way beyond other main line diesels; it duly burst upon the scene, to dramatic effect and in power and speed swept all before it. BR’s existing diesel electric Type 4s were lumbering giants in comparison. The production fleet that followed, D9000-D9021, made for a glorious couple of decades on the Anglo-Scottish workings of the East Coast. This mighty fleet of 22 Deltics brought electrification levels of performance; that, after all, was their raison d’être, to provide a level of service equal to electric locomotives and this they did – their performances were literally ‘electrifying’! Indeed, outside the peak services they were necessarily somewhat under-utilised – they were almost too powerful for the job. The coming of the Deltics was a landmark in BR’s Great Modernisation; with their advent ‘...the first major breakthrough in speed, frequency, locomotive and coaching stock utilisation in line with the aims and objectives of BR’s Modernisation Plan was achieved.’ In terms of 1960s modernisation highlights, little compared to the inauguration of the Deltics.

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    2020-09-09 NOW Out Of Print (OOP)


    No. 7

    54XX, 64XX, 74XX

    By Ian Sixsmith

    The daintiest and most specialised of the pannier tank hordes, including some specifically for passenger work. This brings to an end at last The Pannier Papers, the most exhaustive survey of the post-Grouping 0-6-0 tanks of the Great Western. There were more than 1,200 of them, and they’re all here!
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    LESLIE TIBBLE, Richard Derry

    ISBN 978-1-911262-24-4

    Maunsell arranged for twenty of these dainty 4F 0-6-0s to be built shortly before the Second World War, the first 0-6-0s built by the Southern until the very different Q1s followed a year or two later, under Bulleid. They were the final expression of Maunsell design, owing much in their styling and parts utilised (thus their distinct ‘family appearance’) to his 2-6-0s and 4-4-0s back in the early years of the Southern Railway. Eminently suited for freight, from meandering pick-ups to lengthy coal trains, they led an unexpectedly mixed traffic existence, finding regular use on heavy weekend excursions to the coast and even enjoyed a spell on commuter trains out of London.Follows closely the format of the Southern Big Tanks, with full works/shed histories. To be joined shortly by Southern Workhorses 2 Q1 0-6-0s.
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    SOUTHERN WORKHORSES No.2 Q1 0-6-0s 33001 TO 33040

    SOUTHERN WORKHORSES No.2 Q1 0-6-0s 33001 TO 33040


    LESLIE TIBBLE and Richard Derry

    ISBN 978-1-911262-25-1


    Faced with the need for more ‘go anywhere’ freight locomotives of enhanced power, Bulleid, as might be expected, eschewed the obvious solution of a conventional 0-6-0, something so familiar on every other railway in the country and indeed recently built under Maunsell on Bulleid’s very own Southern Railway – the Q 0-6-0s (for which, see SOUTHERN WORKHORSES 1 Q 0-6-0s 30530-30549). Bulleid considered these traditional 0-6-0s impossibly dainty (if not downright obsolescent) for the hard and varied work on offer and his vastly powerful Q1 owed nothing to earlier designs, in power or of course, famously, in looks.

    The Q1s could work almost any train, from a ten coach Sunday excursion to branch freights and coal trains on the main line. Paring down the weight to fit a wide axle loading led to problems however with braking and weld defects. Their lives were interesting to say the least.

    Follows closely the format of the ‘Book Of’ series – the number of locos and the weight of information means this volume is HARDBACK.

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