The 20,000 British Locomotives, anon., Quadrant Publications, 1948. [booklet]


The 20,000 British Locomotives, anon., Quadrant Publications, 1948. Booklet,7.5”x  4.75” thin card covers, pp52. B&W cover drawing, 11 B&W drawings in the text.


Before Mr. Ian Allan cornered the market with his accurate and well designed “Loco Spotter’s” booklets, other folk attempted similar publications, with less success. This example attempted to list all the locomotives inherited by British Railways, giving their new numbers, and technical details of each class. There are of course no “Standards” listed, (apart from the “Austerities”) as these were as yet a mere twinkle in Robin Riddles’ eye. Pre-nationalisation (and one pre-grouping) designs were still being built, and details of what was expected are given. The situation was complicated by the fact that some pre-nationalisation re-numbering schemes were still in progress. In order to encompass all this information in 52 pages, the author adopted a complicated design, rather like a football pools coupon, with small squares containing a letter and number code indicating the locomotive’s class. This rather fell at the first hurdle in that for example, the author’s N1 had nothing to do with the LNER class of the same designation. In fact the whole scheme is so complex, one wonders if the author spent the war years working at Bletchley Park. However, it was a brave attempt, and the first owner, resident in Edinburgh, made good use of it “copping” an impressive number of ex LNER and LMS locos in Scotland. A scattering of smaller Southern and GWR locos, probably represent holidays in the West Country, rather than spotting trips to Paddington and Waterloo.  I think the information contained herein can be taken as accurate. Help is acknowledged from the Railway Executive, and from my old friend Willie Yeadon, whose modern works are models of their kind.

I particularly like the bold black and white cover design. To my mind the simple designs of the early Ian Allan covers were much more attractive than the later ones featuring photographs. This is something of a curiosity, but redolent of the period.



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