Exclusive Steam Train Books

Over the years, there have been many books celebrating the might steam locomotive. Some are better than others, while most are from a single author.

We have been fortunate to have exclusive rights to market some very special books on line. They were compiled mainly by Australian base enthusiasts, who is some cases travelled the world in search of steam from the early 1970s. These guys were my pals as I grew up, and we have spent many good time together in various parts of the world. It is amazing how you meet people you know in places as diverse as northern Germany and South Africa.

Some of these books have high artistic merit, while others offer superb colour pictorials with the best of the best in terms of coverage. We hope you will enjoy them. For now, here is a list of current offerings. Please click on the title for more details or to purchase.

Northern Exposures” This book was produced in 2014, combining the skills of a wide range of Australia’s best Railway Photographers. Colour photos ranged from the Central NSW town of Gosford to the Queensland Border. Regrettably we underestimated its popularity and there are no more copies available.



Lenses South” is a new publication due mid 2016. I have just reviewed the proofs and it is simply stunning. Extensive investigation has uncovered some amazing colour photos dating back as far as the 1050s featuring steam operations around Sydney and south to the Victorian border. At a massive 192 pages of full colour, we expect copies to move fast. Get your name on the mailing list if you would like to be notified nearer publication and receive the pre-publication discount offer.

112115_1320_PortraitsOf1.jpgRailway Portraits” 1,2 & 3 were produced by Robert and Bruce Wheatley. These are in black and white, and offer a wide range of photos all over NSW, where they travelled as teenagers. The beauty of these two is that the focused on Railway operations back in steam days. There are great images of the train staff, enginemen servicing locos, staff exchanging, and business that grew up around the railway. These books are the best memoirs I have seen capturing the look a feel of what it was like to work on the railway. In addition, they are each a work of art.

Famous Last Lines” 1,2 & 3
When the first of these books was produced, it was snapped up. the famous Last Lines series is a combination of coverage by several well-travelled railway photographers, who have selected their favourite places and showcased them in more detail than your typical pictorial. You will learn about each system, how it operated, and see stunning images, all in full colour. Regrettably Famous Last Lines version 1 is no longer in print, but you can get books 2 & 3.


Fading Steam” Malcolm Holdsworth is the creative genius behind the Famous Last Lines series. Malcolm produced his first Railway book, “Focus On Steam” back in 1973 to raise funds for the rebuilding of the Zig Zag Railway west of Sydney. Malcolm’s most recent publication is “Northern Exposures” and he reckons there is only one more book in him! During many wanderings to far flung locations on the planet, Malcolm amassed a ton of superb colour photos. In “Fading Steam” you can share in his memories of times gone by. The coverage of China and Latin America alone is worth the price tag. It has an incredible 176 pages of full cover and makes a great coffee table book.

Heavy Metal” was to be the showcase of photographers George Bambury, Robert Kingsford-Smith and Malcolm Holdsworth. Deciding to select their best shots and showcase them, they came up with this 160 page full colour pictorial. While this book is light on text, it has great captions (as do all the books listed here) and plenty of full colour photos. When I look at the cover, I am eternally reminded of a photo I took of a 141R in Spain in superb lighting that has vanished from my collection. The cover of “Heavy Metal, features the shot taken by Malcolm Holdsworth who was standing next to me at the time. As can be seen above this book was the start of great things!

My Steam Train Photo Collection

Steam Trains waiting to depart on Sydney Suburban Services

Three Steam Trains Ready For The Sydney Afternoon Peak

When I started this steam train story project, it was a way to motivate me to share some of my experiences gained while following steam trains around the world. After all, it may take a little while for some of you to get started reviving those memories, making them interesting, getting them down in print, or these days on the computer, and sharing them with the world through this portal.

If you are under 30, you may find it incredible to know that operations of steam train engines as recently as the 1980s were basically manual. The fires were set by shoveling coal in the right place. The fireman had to determine how much water to inject in the boiler and what temperature to get the steam to before climbing a grade. The setting of the reversing mechanism by the driver largely determined the speed and efficiency of the train. Managing a steam engine was truly an art rather than a Science.


A Treasure Trove Of Steam Train Memories

Just trolling through some of the steam train negatives taken way back in the 1960’s in Australia I found old family pictures, discovered old photos of Darling Harbour with 19 class built as far back as 1877. They nearly lasted 100 years in regular service. I photographed most of the 30, 38 class locomotives that hauled many express trains in their heyday. I Trudged up and down the tracks in searing heat and biting cold weekend after weekend. Just going through the archives brought back many fond memories, and raised my enthusiasm to share some of this with the world.

This site is designed to have wide appeal, and there will be contributions from all parts of the globe. Personally, I have witnessed regular steam train movements in around 40 countries, so an international flavour is guaranteed. Nostalgia has me starting with some of my oldest tales, episodes when I did such things as ride an all night mixed train at the tender age of 14! Imagine doing that now.

I Say This To Inspire You To Get Your Photos Out

It is amazing how every picture really does tell a story. For instance, I found some photos of the Merriwa Mixed steam train. I vaguely remember I left home on Friday afternoon catching the Newcastle Flyer at Central and continuing on to Muswellbrook by freight train. I arrived back sometime Sunday afternoon totally exhausted, having not slept the entire weekend!

I have recorded the speeds of many steam trains by logging mileposts, some of them at 90-100 mph. Then there are the sneaky methods I used to travel around the country for just 10c a day! On Friday night’s we would visit Train Control and Central Station and discover what was on offer the following day before planning our weekends.

There is history here, nostalgia, adventure, romance – I met my first wife on a train! As we all share our stories, I believe it will enrich each of us, and perhaps as we age, we can sit in the couch remembering adventures that without this, we just might forget!

The Future

The first stage of this project is to get my claim to fame written up. My amazing adventures in Mozambique. It would have to rate as one of the big steam train adventures. Then create the platform to share stories.

Later we will add some high quality steam train photos you can download, print out, get posters made, or hang on your wall.

If I can retrieve my old steam train timing notes, you will see records of mile a minute runs in Australia. Nothing was scheduled that fast in this country. I was lucky enough to be riding in the cab of 3827 during one of these between Gosford and Morisset!


There will be a calendar with the best stories of the year. I have tape recordings of steam in various parts of the world. A compound rack railway in Austria, 0-12 3 cylinder Pacifics at speed in Northern Germany, Double Garrats in South Africa and Australia, even probably the only recording of the final regular Newcastle Flyer with 3820 climbing Cowan Bank unassisted. Very few steam trains were allowed this privilege after 1960, and for good reason. On one later enthusiast tour, the engine powered up the hill leaving its train behind due to the power of the engine, and on another the train stalled and was hit from behind by a following Electric Interurban! I would love someone to send the detailed stories of these episodes!

As you can see from these brief snippets, there are many tales to tell. I am excited to hear yours, no matter how mundane it may seem to you, it will inspire someone and trigger their fading memory of some event in their dim dark past!

Well there is a lot of work to do, so I hope you like this little taste of what is to come as we present steam train stories from around the world.

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