Book Review – The Beaten Track – Vol 2

Book Review – The Beaten Track – Vol 2

BOOK REVIEW – 25-Oct-22 – here follows a detailed report by long-term DEPG member and regular contributor Neale Long, who has purchased this book from our online store and reports as follows:


The Beaten Track – Volume 2 – The traction and extremities of Britain’s rail network 1970-1985 – by Andy Chard, published by Platform 5     ISBN: 9781909431911


“This 176-page hard back book published by Platform 5 builds on the picture that was created by the very successful Volume 1, with author Andy Chard again skilfully compiling an excellent set of images which explore some of the less familiar rail routes that existed within the period 1970-1985.

Using a wider group of photographers than the first volume, this second volume draws on the talents of Roger Geach, Bernard Mills and Gavin Morrison amongst others. The mix of rare locations, both passenger and freight, some still existing and some sadly not, will provide a reminder to those fortunate enough to have visited, and a glimpse of long gone locations to those not so fortunate. The traction of the period is well covered, with several long-lost classes featured.

A preface and introduction sets out the aims of the publication clearly and what is to follow. The book consists of eight chapters, organised geographically:-

    1. Scotland
    2. The North West
    3. The North East
    4. Wales
    5. The Midlands
    6. The East
    7. The South East
    8. The South West


Like the first volume, it is beautifully produced and fully illustrated in colour with a suitably high standard of reproduction, all accompanied by full and detailed captions which complement the images perfectly. There are so many highlights from this superb publication, it is so difficult to pick any particular images, but some do stand out:

      • The Scottish section has some fine images of the last days on the Fraserburgh branch.
      • Shunter 08689 is depicted at Overton and Winsford freight yard in the North West Section.
      • The North East section has an image of 08373 at Blackhill yard just north of Consett, County Durham.
      • The section on Wales commences with a striking image of 24059 forming the Aberystwyth-York parcels and passenger train which it would work to Crewe for an electric to take forward to Stockport where a change to ER motive power would take place.
      • Lots of great images to admire in the Midland section with various images of the closing days of Class 44 operation and an amazing shot of 25145 reaching the rather precarious location of Alsager Tip.
      • The East inevitably had and indeed has various byways all fully covered, shunter enthusiasts with especially enjoy the image of 03175 (complete with obligatory match wagon) at South Lynn.
      • For enthusiasts in the South East, the image of a class 121 ‘Bubblecar’ at Abingdon will be enjoyed as will the image of a 4COR set at Croxley Green on a LCGB railtour in 1970.
      • Bringing this lovely album to a close is a look at the South West; pleasingly most of the principal diesel hydraulics feature, the superb image by Ian Mortimer of an unidentified Class 22 on the Wapping Wharf branch being a real highlight.


The volume makes good use of maps in areas such as the Midlands and South Wales where these enhance the reader’s experience and saves the need to search through old railway maps and atlases.

Interestingly, both this and the previous volume came about by accident, when the author was researching a publication on the railways of Manchester. Just occasionally, accidents do have positive results, this being one.

So, overall, the conclusion ? This is an excellent publication which can be unreservedly recommended to all those interested in the rich history of our railway system, both old and new.”


Many thanks to Neale Long for providing us with this book review.

A review of Volume 1 can be found by clicking this link.


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