Book number: 92155 Product format: Hardback Author: BILL MORGAN & BETTE MEYRICK

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Bibliophile price £9.50
Published price £14.95

First published in 1973, Behind the Steam received huge critical acclaim from day one. It is the working memoir of one Bill Morgan who, in 1916, signed on as a cleaner at the GWR terminus in Neyland, Pembrokeshire, aged just 14, with an ambition to go all the way to the top - become a GWR express driver. When he retired 50 years later, he had indeed achieved his ambition, driving the newly introduced British Rail diesels, but what a weird and wonderful career path it was! By the age of 15 he already had one derailment to his credit and his rise up the ranks, next to fireman (his vivid description of keeping a coal-hungry express up to steam on a run to Paddington is captivating) and right to the top is recounted in such warm-hearted, hilarious and compelling words that you feel you are on the footplate - or the coal truck, his lodgings, the cloakrooms, the markets, the pubs... As well as cleaning, fuelling and driving the trains, his "off the track" recollections add immense interest. An unofficial purveyor of anything from lobsters to rabbits, he turned the Neyland line into a mobile grocer he also recounts tales of making wireless sets, cockle-gathering, training greyhounds and absconding bookies, and here too are grimmer events - the General Strike, wartime work on the potentially lethal ammunition trains and the bombing of Swansea. This book is the 2003 revised edition which includes many more photos from Bette's collection of the Neyland area than the original and is sure to lapped up by all steam enthusiasts, a book that just oozes with the flavour of the railways and the characters that ran then. 222pp with 20 pages of b/w photos.

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ISBN 9780954485900

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