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FIRST RAILWAYS: Atlas of Early Railways
Bibliophile price: £14.00
A big, splendid picture book packed with antique maps, colour images of rolling stock and engines, replicas and a terrific explanation of iron rails and plateways and beyond. We visit the Peak Forest Tramway, Lancaster Canal Tramroad, the Surrey Iron Railway, the Cheltenham and Gloucester Railway, the Middlebere Plateway, the curiously named Silkstone Wagonway just west of Barnsley, the Forest of Dean and Severn & Wye Railway, the Somerset Coal Canal Railway, the Kilmarnock and Troon Railway, the South Wales Railway and Canal Network and stone rails going back to the Haytor Granite Railway, still relatively well preserved today showing that even switches or points were made from stone. We visit Scotland's early railways, rope and chain for the inclined plane, the first working locomotives and engines with cast-iron fishbelly-edge rail on stone blocks, the first all-mechanical line opened for a colliery at Hetton le Hole in Durham County. Each improvement for strength and durability is outlined through the work of the visionaries and enterprising businessmen, leading up to the beginnings of rail network. Maps show the British Railway network through the eras, one a map from 1844, just before the second railway mania, and it is interesting to compare it with the network in 1847 shown to the right - an extraordinary spider's web! The book leads on to the transfer of technology to the US, Germany and the first continental, and pictured is Marc Seguin's 1829 steam loco using his 1828 patent for a multi-tubed boiler. The tender is housed in a massive blower fan to feed the draft in the locomotive and the cylinders were vertical. 700 maps and other illustrations in colour, railway ephemera, photographs and commentary by the award-winning historian Derek Hayes. 272 huge pages, colour.

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