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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 Month's News
Spring is coming...(HOORAY)!! The nights getting shorter ... the days are getting longer.. as we settle down into 2022. :-). Covid-19 restrictions are being eased as we all learning to live with the pesky covid19 pandemic although sadly that spectre still lurks (BOO!).
But not to worry... once again we have waved our magic Irwell fireiron, put more coal in the firebox, opened the regulator, wound back the reverser and yet more books are on their way to help banish any blues away! So why not settle down with one or more of the new books from Irwell Press! A treat for everyone!!!
|So watch this space for many more exciting new book releases arriving from Irwell Press! ..Meanwhile.. have fun, but STAY SAFE AND DON'T GIVE THE COVID19 BUG CHANCE TO BITE :-) :-DBest wishes, George ReeveLast updated 17/05/2022|
LSWRInterested 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
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.
New Books from Irwell Press
A Celebration of Bulleid West Country and Battle of Britain Pacifics
Fourth in a series with the simple old fashioned aim to showcase top quality photographs reproduced at the largest possible size, in order to celebrate some of the best-loved steam classes. Full-page shots are presented in a landscape format and come with comprehensive captions.
Bulleids Light Pacifics could be found on duties ranging from the Night Ferry and Golden Arrow to pottering around Devon and Cornwall with a couple of coaches. They were in effect smaller versions of the Merchant Navy class and included the same innovative features such as air-smoothed casings, chain driven valve gear, high boiler pressure, boxpok wheels and electric lighting.
As in previous volumes the emphasis throughout is on the engines in service and the book has been arranged in chapters in chronological order. The final chapters show them at work on the principal routes where they were employed, ending with the final year of Southern Region steam in 1967.
Previous volumes in this series are:
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- A Celebration of LMS Coronation Pacifics
- A Celebration of BR Standard Pacifics - Britannias, Clans and The Duke of Gloucester
- A Celebration of Gresley A1 and A3 Pacifics
Diesel Dawn 5: Chasing Diesels
Increasing affluence and a second-hand car allowed the author a geographical range previously denied to him and with various pals he embarked in the 1970s and 1980s on a number of expeditions to various parts of the country, to photograph diesel locomotives, then still running in abundant numbers and variety.
There were busy main line centres to be explored York, Doncaster, Crewe and the rest but also obscure corners that could only be found by recourse to maps, sometimes inquiring of locals with barely understandable dialects, something after the fashion of Victorian explorers. Nowadays there are very few locomotives at work in this country and computer apps enable anyone to locate their whereabouts as easily as those actually responsible for operating them something of course unimaginable back in the 1970s.
Back then there were still considerable numbers of locomotives working major traffic flows across the country most notably coal and steel on a scale undreamed of today. Diesel locomotives on freight traffic ran more often than not at night so had to be tracked down in their daytime lairs, at depots often located in out of the way places.
hen there was the problem of entry which could normally be negotiated with sympathetic staff in an age less concerned with health & safety, legal liabilities, terrorism and the like. There follows a tale of chasing what was then a huge variety of locomotive types in unsung, unknown corners of the kingdom, bump-starting successive wheezing cars, unsavoury B&B establishments and the more benign forms of trespass. A rollicking tale of an altogether more innocent railway age. find out more
The Book of the STANIER 8F 2-8-0s Part 4: Swindon, the LNER and the Southern Nos.4844-48633
Latest in the longstanding Book Of series, in FIVE PARTS to adequately cover the vast number of locomotives involved.
In this fourth part are the rest of the locomotives turned out by the Great Western at Swindon and those appearing from the Southern and the LNER.
The Story So Far:
- Part 1: Pre-War Engines 48000-48125
- Part 2: Wartime Engines 48126-48297
- Part 3: Crewe to Swindon via Horwich 48301-48439
- Part 4: Swindon, the LNER and the Southern 48440-48633
- Part 3: Crewe to Swindon via Horwich 48301-48439
- (Part 5 to be concluded)
All the usual works histories and allocations are here for every loco; liveries and tender varieties, experimental episodes and every other facet of these mightily impressive 2-8-0s, which survived to the very last days of BR steam.find out more
The Joy of the Jinties: The 3F 0-6-0Ts of the LMS and BR, 1924-1967 Part 1: 47260-47339
The well known LMS Jinty 0-6-0Ts originally known as the standard shunting tanks came to number over 400, built over the years 1924-1931. The origin of the name is subject to various theories but in effect is lost in antiquity. The Tri-ang model of a Jinty, the famous 47606, was one of the best selling OO scale toy/models of all time and was often the first engine encountered by small boys who went on to enthuse over locomotives and railways for the rest of their lives.
The new Jinties flooded across the LMS and through to the middle 1960s could be found labouring daily the length of the land; pilots at the great stations, from Euston to New Street to Preston to Carlisle, or pottering in remote sidings. There was an endless variety of trip workings and local freights, ambling the length of a branch or collecting and delivering wagons to a series of outlying yards. They long survived the onset of diesel shunters and were only finally extinguished in 1967.
Lest the Jinty be remembered only as a shunter it can be noted that plenty of passenger work came their way at first. Easily the most remarkable was their employment on GN suburban workings including the main line, cheek by jowl with racing Gresley Pacifics.
A particular sphere of working the Jinties made their own was the transfer freight, a Victorian mode of working lasting effectively to the end of steam; every city abounded in the work, from London to Glasgow, with Carlisle being a particularly glorious, example.
A Jinty truly was a Joy. find out more
London Midland and Scottish Way - LMS Steam in the Sixties
A personal colour odyssey by an author captivated by steam, like most of us, at an early, highly impressionable age and in his case the introduction was grander than most the Royal Train passing through Henley-in-Arden in April 1950 headed, memorably by two Castles.
I lived in Stratford-upon-Avon at the time the photographs in this book were taken and there were London Midland Region main line strongholds within very easy reach. My father worked in Birmingham and I would sometimes spend a day at New Street station which was still divided by Queens Drive between the ex-LNWR and Midland Railway platforms before it was modernised. I was particularly fascinated by the Harborne Branch which was worked at the time by Johnson Midland Railway 2F 0-6-0s from Monument Lane shed. There were also visits to local Midland Region sheds, Saltley, Aston, Monument Lane, Bescot and Bushbury, as well as, in retrospect, logistically quite complicated trips. I recently found details of one of them, on Sunday 14 June 1959, when I visited Nuneaton, Stafford, Stoke, Alsager, Uttoxeter and Burton. Phew!
Third in a series; previous volumes are:
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- Way Down South
- Western Way
Diesel Dawn 4: Diesel Multiple Units - A Pictorial Observation
This account is intended to give an overview of the types of first-generation Diesel Multiple Unit (DMU) trains and railbuses that could be seen on BR from the 1950s to the 1980s. Their widespread introduction across the country came to be one of the great pillars of the Modernisation of Britains railways throughout the 1950s and 1960s. Put into service in a number of schemes (each scheme covering part of the country) the new trains bright, shiny and modern with wonderful panoramic views replaced thousands of steam engines. For decades they dominated the railway passenger scene, becoming so commonplace as to go almost unnoticed as memories of steam faded.
The first generation Diesel Multiple Units were descended from the pioneering work of the Great Western Railway between the wars which, in conjunction with the firm AEC, introduced a fleet of railcars. The first BR DMUs had entered service in 1954 and took the operating scene by storm. Their rapid construction and deployment was driven by an attempt not only to modernise but to reduce operating costs.
Outside contractors, as well as BRs own works at Derby and Swindon, were heavily involved in building DMUs, often being given a degree of freedom in their design and appearance. This led to a proliferation of types, including some that proved unreliable or difficult to maintain. It all added to the fascination of these new trains.
In addition to branch line and secondary workings, DMUs found themselves employed on intensively-worked suburban routes that were not electrified, such as those from Kings Cross, Paddington and St Pancras in London, around Birmingham and in the South Wales Valleys, as well as on some Inter-City routes such as between Edinburgh and Glasgow and across the Pennines. find out more
The Somerset & Dorset Railway - Bath to Bournemouth
The Main Line & Branches.
If ever a line could be called an evergreen favourite it is the Somerset & Dorset
, so quintessentially English in its achingly beautiful settings, its charming stations and the blasting hill climbing efforts of its steam locomotives. All of it unsullied by diesels right up to its final demise in 1966.
It was a line like no other, by turns a dozing branch, by turns a main line with double headed named expresses running the length of the country. It is no wonder that so many volumes have been devoted to it though it has probably never been covered photographically to this extent, in the detail of its buildings and track getting on for 600 photographs reveal the intricacies and grandeur of the line as never before, together with finely drawn diagrams of every station, yard and junction.
The author worked on the footplate on the Southern Region in the South West and the S&D has been close to his heart ever since. The plans are an especially useful feature: Up is Broadstone to Bath and Evercreech Junction to Highbridge, Down is Bath to Broadstone and Highbridge to Evercreech Junction. Pause for breath... Down S&D trains from Broadstone to Bournemouth became Up trains on the Southern. S&D trains were Down leaving Bournemouth West until reaching Broadstone upon which they became Up on joining the S&D!
As we say, it was a line like no other!find out more
T.E. WILLIAMS: The Lost Colour Collection Volume 4
This concluding volume in the series casts an even wider net across Tom Williams' unique body of colour work captured between 1954 and 1964. Predictably, there are the inevitable shots of Kings attacking Hatton Bank, Tom's favourite local vantage point, plus a variety of other favoured locations throughout the counties surrounding his native Warwickshire, but there are also windows into his travels far and wide.
Visits, for example, to the ex-Somerset & Dorset Joint Railway
, the East Coast Main Line
and of course, the seductive but challenging contours of North Devo
n. A proportion of the most iconic images included have been selected, not just for their documentary, historic importance, but also for their intrinsic artistic qualities: many evoking a tangible sense of 'being there'.
Nevertheless, as with the previous volumes, the emphasis remains firmly on presenting detailed, high quality full-page colour plates, accompanied by as much comprehensive supporting information as possible.find out more
The Book of the Stanier Three Cylinder 2-6-4Ts 42500-42536
The LMS employed innumerable 2-6-4Ts, evolving from parallel boiler Fowler engines through updated Stanier taper boiler versions through to Fairburns final development. Between them they amounted to over 600 in total.
The first Stanier engines were wholly different in having three cylinders; moreover they were (most unusually) restricted to one particular stretch of line. Apart from the war years when they were all temporarily transferred away, they could always be found working passenger services over the former London Tilbury & Southend system from Fenchurch Street to Southend and Shoeburyness, until ousted by electrification in 1962.
As the information board alongside the preserved 2500 in the National Railway Museum at York pronounces: Possibly the finest suburban tank engines that ran in this country. find out more
The Book of the STANIER 8F 2-8-0s Part 3: From Crewe to Swindon via Horwich Nos.48301-48439
Latest in the longstanding Book Of series, in FIVE PARTS to adequately cover the vast number of locomotives involved.
In this third part are the locomotives that formed the first tranche of the 8Fs as a British War Locomotive built at various works to Government edict. As the title indicates and as might be expected, they were built by the LMS but the first Swindon examples also began to emerge, from 8400 onwards.
Part One detailed those 8Fs built by/for the LMS for its own use 8000-8125 in the 1930s with no thought then of them becoming a British war locomotive though indeed some did go abroad.
Part Two concerns firstly those engines built by Crewe and North British for the LMS, 8126-8225 which never went abroad and secondly the locos built at Ministry of Supply/War Department behest and loaned to the LMS/GWR, 8226-8297.
The life, times and adventures of each (sometimes quite exotic in the case of the latter) is recorded under the individual loco, as with previous Books Of...find out more
Diesel Dawn 3. The North British Warships D600-D604, D833-D865
Third in a series to record in colour and black and white the prototype origins and production lives of the first British Railways diesel locomotives, from halting beginnings in the 1950s to (sometimes) premature ends.
The introductory pages cover the conception, design and construction in the 1950s and are necessarily in black and white. The remainder of the volume illustrates the locomotives throughout their subsequent working lives through to the 1970s, in colour. Comprehensive text, extensive captions, technical data, life histories throughout.
None of the many 'Diesel Dawns' of our times has been investigated, evaluated, celebrated, excoriated, praised and derided, more comprehensively in (often) more partisan ways, than that of the Western Region diesel hydraulics.
The various Warships were the first. British Railways Western Region built their own at Swindon (Diesel Dawn 2) and the venerable British private locomotive firm North British of Glasgow built the rest. The firm was responsible for two types, in fact, the earlier, heavy twelve wheel D600s (only five of these, to considerable relief in some quarters) which a BR Board largely foisted on the Western Region and thirty-three more in the D800 series which were more or less indistinguishable from the earlier Swindon locomotives detailed in Diesel Dawn 2. These North British D833-D865) Warships worked turn and turn about with their Swindon brethren on express passenger trains and then freights throughout the 1960s untill their somewhat premature withdrawal in the early 1970s.find out more
Diesel Dawn 2. The Swindon Warships D800-D832, D866-D870
Available from the publisher or selected W H Smith, Sainsburys, Tescos, Asda and Waitrose High Street shops.
Second in a series to record in colour and black and white the prototype origins and production lives of the first British Railways diesel locomotives, from halting beginnings in the 1950s to (sometimes) premature ends. The introductory pages cover the conception, design and construction in the 1950s and are necessarily in black and white. The remainder of the volume illustrates the locomotives throughout their subsequent working lives through to the 1970s, in colour. Comprehensive text, extensive captions, technical data, life histories throughout.
None of the many 'Diesel Dawns' of our times has been investigated, evaluated, celebrated, excoriated, praised and derided, more comprehensively in (often) more partisan ways, than that of the Western Region diesel hydraulics. The startling first impression these Swindon Warships made when they burst upon a steam-dominated railway in 1958 can hardly be exaggerated. Powerful, fast and above all lightweight, THIS
was the Type 4 that the Western Region had wanted and fought so hard to get. Sparkling clean, in an elegant livery with stirring red and silver nameplates, they were glamorous, mysterious even, with that striking sloping front and subtle curves, unhindered by design clutter.
This second Diesel Dawn deals with the thirty-eight Warships built from 1958. The North British version which came a couple of years later involved a different story altogether, to be related in Diesel Dawn No.3..find out more
A Celebration of Gresley A1 and A3 Pacifics
Second in a series which has but a simple aim, 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.
A class first emerging from Doncaster Works in 1922, the non-streamlined Pacifics were the LNERs principal express passenger engines for more than a decade. The design underwent continuous development during its early years, particularly the introduction of long-travel valve gear and higher pressure boilers in the transformation from A1 to A3 class. Although put into the shade from the mid-1930s by the streamlined A4s they remained the backbone of the LNER passenger fleet, but were ousted from many of their former duties after the second World war as new Thompson and Peppercorn Pacifics were built. However, the A3s were to enjoy a real Indian Summer from the late 1950s, their performance transformed by the fitting of Kylchap double chimneys.find out more
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 Stephensons 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.find out more
The Book of the B17 4-6-0s Nos. 61600-61672
Latest in the Book Of series, presenting a comprehensive history and full sequence of works visits together with several photographs of every individual engine. A handsome locomotive, firmly in the Gresley tradition of handsome designs and that is certainly true of the LNER B17 4-6-0s. Good engineering should look good, and Gresley never set his hand to a design which looked less than very good. Again certainly true.
The engines had a relatively brief time at the forefront of express working, mainly on the Great Eastern and Great Central Sections and eventually all were concentrated at former GE depots. This rendered many of them remote from enthusiast eyes though fortunately the selection of one for Royal trains meant they came to be closely observed indeed. The Queen preferred to travel from Kings Cross to Sandringham, avoiding all the ceremony necessary when she entered the City of London, wherein lay Liverpool Street, the terminus otherwise considered the natural setting-out point for Kings Lynn and the Royal Estate. A B17, later rebuilt like ten others into B2 form was kept at Cambridge for the Royal workings and when not so engaged visited Kings Cross daily, most notably on the Cambridge beer trains which could get a bit raucous.
Their names were large estates in the LNER countryside and on reading, the list it feels like an ancient copy of Debretts. In 1935 naming policy changed abruptly and the last 25 were named after prominent football clubs in areas served by the LNER. Thus the engines got both the nickname Sandies (after the first one, SANDRINGHAM) and Footballers.find out more