Until the estimable Mr. Ian Allan set up in business, details of locomotive names and numbers were not easy to come by. New locomotives and some withdrawals were advised to railway periodicals, and there was the occasional publication of a booklet dealing with a class of named locomotives. Pre-Grouping, the situation was even bleaker. Apart from the expensive locomotive histories for the LBSCR, GNR and NER – way beyond a schoolboy’s pocket (but all available from BTT!) little was in the public domain, although there were a few “unofficial” publications by men who enjoyed ”access” denied to ordinary mortals . An exception was the GWR, which, through the medium of the staff magazine, published booklets of this type, modestly priced. While concentrating on names and numbers for contemporary passenger classes, standard freight and shunting locos are illustrated, and names of the long vanished broad gauge engines are given. This is towards the end of the Churchward era, so there is a section explaining his standardization policy. The last illustration is of the solitary Pacific “The Great Bear”; “Castles” and “Kings” are yet to come. These little booklets often suffered heavy wear, and annotation, but this is a good clean copy.
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