Our Home Railways Part 2 The MIDLAND by W. J. Gordon,1911 [ebook]


Paperback book, 8.75”x 6”. 40pp, 3 colour plates, (including Sleeping Carriage), 4 whole page black and white plates, numerous black and white half tone photographs, 4pp. adverts of interest to contemporary rail enthusiasts.


This was one of the first, if not the first, “part-work” to deal with railways. Launched at 9d per copy in August 1911 (although some later issues carry paper stickers increasing the price to 1/-) It was also about the first time that a quality railway publication was within the reach of a prudent schoolboy, prepared to sacrifice sherbet dips, gobstoppers, “The Magnet” and “Chatterbox” for a couple of weeks. Each issue included a colour frontispiece of the railway’s crest, a full page colour print of one of the company’s passenger carriages, and a stunning double page spread of a locomotive. In this case a Deeley4-4-0Compound No.1025, in the glorious elaborately lined out Crimson Lake livery adopted for locomotives. Fine looking machines, but underpowered. At this period, while other major companies were developing more powerful 4-6-0 and 4-4-2 locomotives to cater for the increasing weight of trains comprised of heavier carriages and dining cars, the Midland Operating Department stuck to these comparatively small machines that were cheaper to run because of the fuel economies offered by the “compounding system”. This misguided policywhich meant that many trains had to be double-headed, was continued for 15 years, including by its successor company the LMS, which was dominated by former Midland Operating officers. Exacerbated by the Directors twice appointing the wrong man as CME, the LMS found itself with the prospect of being unable to operate the following year’s Summer Timetable, and tried to buy 40 “Castle Class” locomotives from the Great Western. This would in fact have been illegal, and eventually a set of “Lord Nelson” class drawings was borrowed from the Southern, and sent to the North British Locomotive Company with an order for a three cylinder version, incorporating as many standard LMS components as possible. Thus, the “Royal Scots”.

Our Home Railways” was later issued as a two volume set, but these and two modern single volume reprints were less than satisfactory, in that for production reasons, the colour plates had to be “grouped” together, divorced from the text relating to their railways. One of the modern reprints even reproduced the colour plates in black & white… These individual parts are worth having for the colour plates alone!



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