Great Railway Books From Steamtrainstoriesdotcom

Railway books have always been a way to distribute the very best photos, and share historical information and adventures recording the passing of steam. I have been fortunate to travel to many countries in search of steam, and know what it takes to get those all important shots.

Here are a selection of books published by friends of mine. Many of the photos were taken with me standing beside the photographer. They were faster getting them into print than I was! There are only a few copies of these books available and when sold out, they become part of history.

Northern Exposures
This is our latest book. At last report there are less than 100 copies left and it was only released in August 2014. Ross Verdich of the ARHS describes it as “probably the best photographic NSW railway book ever released“.  This is a must for NSW Railfans to showcase what you saw or heard about to future generations. At $75 a copy ordered online including postage it is being snapped up fast.
It covers the entire area north of Sydney in the period from the early 1960s to the end of steam and uniquely has a wide variety of contributors. many of whom you will recognise from previous publications.

More Information at http://northernexposures.com.au

Published in 2010, this is Malcolm Holdsworth’s personal steam journey. Malcolm is the creative genius behind the design of “Northern Exposures” and his first publication, “Focus On Steam” was released in 1971.
If you have any interest in the might of the steam locomotive in days past, this would be a worthy addition to your coffee table collection. Covering 20 countries in an orderly fashion, Malcolm shares many stories and focuses on his best photographs in each location. There are some stunning shots from places as diverse as East Germany and Pakistan. The European coverage is close to my heart as I was standing beside him in many of the locations. We just celebrated 40 years since that journey together.
Malcolm specializes in unusual angles and attention to some of the details many of us missed.
With the original Famous Last Lines a sellout, I have obtained a few copies of part 2 and 3 of this series. As with all of these books, this is full colour, with amazing reproduction, focusing on some of the great steam lines which survived into the 1970s and in some cases beyond.
Famous Last Lines 2 is authored by renowned photographer, Robert Kingsford-Smith, or Rags as we affectionately know him. He encouraged me to leave the safety of NSW, first travelling to Western Australia and then around the world.
This version features Dona Teresa Cristina in southern Brazil, an iron ore railway with magnificent 2-10-4s. I travelled there in 1976 and was impressed by the mountainous scenery, waterways and steam power.

The second chapter focuses on South Australia, and the 400 class Garratts which operated out of Peterborough in the late 1960s. You would have to be a good age to have been there. Again superb shots from some Aussie Icons.

The Douro Valley in Portugal has to be seen to be believed. With narrow gauge Mallets and ancient broad gauge 4-6-0s on passenger and freight runs, this line hugs a massive gorge following the Duro river east of Oporto. When I visited in 1974, women still hauled water from the river with jars atop their heads. Hard to believe of a first world country.

Garratts have continued in Zimbabwe and there may even be the odd steam working until now. It was definitely the land of the Garratts with quite a few classes operating, including on the famous Victoria Falls line. With guerilla activites, this area was both fascinating and at times treacherous. A ttally different scene to other railways featured.

The final section is about mighty Zonguldak, a line in Turkey that extends to the Black Sea. If you want steam in snow, this was the place and there are plenty of white pictures in the book. The main motive power was the asthetically pleasing Vulcan Skyliner 2-10-0’s, including banking and snow capped mountain backgrounds.

Famous Last Lines books cover each area in depth, and combine several photographers’ contributions with a well constructed story line.

The third of this trilogy is authored by the late Geroge Bambury. George was younger than most of the crew, but his enthusiasm took him to many unusual places, and his photography is legendary.
The book starts with the most southern Steam Railway in the world, Rio Turbio in Argentina. This place is so remote, I didn’t make it on my visit there. There are some who are still hoping to revive this line and it has a tourist train in operation. Across the southern dessert of Argentina, it makes for incredible lighting and photographic license.
Saalfield was an area in East Germany before the wall came down. It featured 01.20 and 01.5 Pacifics, the former being built in the 1920s and capable of hauling trains at over 90 mph (140 kph). I remember seeing these thundering down the Berlin-Dresden line at full speed. It was quite a site. Being typical Germany it features rolling fields and forests, and those Pacifics.

The main line from Bloemfontein to De Aar in South Africa was the domain of the mighty 25 class 4-8-4s. The condensor version were huge and somehow stayed balanced on the 3′ 6″ guage line. In mparticular there is a spectacular shot of the “Drakensburg”, and express passenger that ran from Durban to Cape Town and is second in prestige only to the Blue Train, which unfortunately lost steam power early on. The Drakensburg used the original Blue Train carriages painted green. I rode on this train at Christmas with a group including the gentleman who took this photograph, and it was like a step back in time to where rail travel really meant something.

One area not covered in “Northern Exposures” was the coalfields near Newcastle NSW Australia. This railway remained in steam hands until the 1980s and this is featured including some great art shots and double headers.

Mick Tyak, is a well known English world steam traveller, and the final section is written by him. It is of modern China, an area which still has some steam  movements, and where mighty QJ’s are seen on spectacular lines opened up to foreign tourists in recent years. I was there in 1985 and it was very difficult to get anywhere or take photographs. After the country opened up, photographers found a fertile ground to practice their craft and you can see the results here.

 Click for Book discription and cost This book is set out differently from the others. In it are many, many great steam photos from around the world. Each time you turn the page there is a surprise, as you discover steam in yet another country! With some 29 countries represented, her is something for everyone. I know, no UK or US, but none of us were around back then, or had the money to travel that far! Never a dull moment with this book, with such variety! This was Cadeco’s second book, in full colour as are all the others, making them something special.

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