The classic collection of short stories with a railway theme set in and around “Mugby Juncton” – a thinly disguised Rugby.
Apart from Dickens himself, the .authors include , Andrew Halliday, Charles Collins, Heba Stretton and Amelia B. Edwards. In this writer’s opinion some of these show a better grasp of the craft of short story writing than Dickens who often gives the impression that he is being paid at so much per thousand words.
The subject matter ranges from a gently blossoming romance between a middle aged bachelor and a young disabled school mistress, through the supernatural “The Signalman”, then the savagely comic satire of the Refreshment Room whose Manageress travels to the Continent researching new methods of being rude and disobliging to her customers. The spy story concerning the theft of the Prime Minister’s Dispatch Box would have made a good plot for a Sherlock Holmes story three decades later. During the course of the tales there are insights into the way the railways were worked in the years of their youth from the Lampman walking the carriage roofs dropping freshly lit oil lamps into a hole above each compartment, to the working of the first Travelling Post Office in the days before mail was picked up and dropped off at speed.
PREVIEW BELOW – MAY TAKE A WHILE TO LOAD.