THE first edition of this book was published in 1908, and during the ensuing four decades the volume was recognised as a standard textbook for cleaners and firemen in studying for the examinations which must be passed before they become firemen and drivers respectively. Mr. James T. Hodgson, Chief Engineer and Supt. Of Works, Municipal College Of Technology, Manchester was joint author with Mr. John Williams, locomotive inspector on the Great Central Railway. Mr. Williams joined the Machester Sheffield and Licolnshire Railway in 1881, was made fireman in 1891. He worked at Staveley and Colwick, then Gorton and finished driving at Leicester, on promotion to locomotive inspector in 1901, being moved to Gorton on the HQ staff of the loco. running dept.
.Mr. Williams died in 1917., but much of this fifth edition (and indeed the sixth edition also), was still his work for in the interests of economy and of incorporating up to date information as easily as possible, the main body of text and illustrations was kept standing in print and amended as required. This remained the case until the text and blocks of the eighth edition were destroyed in a fire, and the ninth edition had to be produced from scratch.
In many respects, this fifth edition is one of the best. The locomotives and equipment illustrated represent the high water mark of Edwardian locomotive engineering, as modified by the experiences of the Great War and the locomotives illustrated represent the last efforts of many CMEs and Loco. Supts. Before their posts were abolished by the Grouping
The Appendices include descriptive matter and illustrations of special equipment, and give a representative selection of cab and footplate arrangements of locomotives belonging to the British and certain of the Irish railway companies. In addition, there are photographs of of noteworthy locomotive types, with principal overall dimensions, and other particulars set out below them. There are numerous pages of contemporary advertisements fro the suppliers of braking, equipment injectors and other fittings, the revenue from which helped subsidise the cost of such a lavishly illustrated publication, keeping the price down to an affordable 5/-..