Tales of the Old Railwaymen - Tom Quinn

Hardback - Very Good Condition


In the days of steam Britain’s railway system was the envy of the world, and until the great locomotives began to disappear in the 1960s a vast body of men and women ran a railway that was in essentials unchanged since Victorian times.

After the Beeching cuts and the introduction of diesel a time of rapid change began; branch lines were abandoned, staffing levels were drastically cut, traditional jobs were found to be no longer necessary. Then came the motorways and the loss of freight traffic. The story in recent years has been one of continued decline, but to understand how truly great the system used to be we have only to talk to the men who knew that vanished world of steam at first hand.

At the heart of steam were the drivers and firemen – several such men are represented in this book – but Tom Quinn has also sought out signal-men, guards, shedmasters and porters. Here you will find the memories of men like Tom Jales who was responsible for rolling out the Royal red carpet at King’s Cross; or Reg Coote, a driver based at Battersea where punctuality was like a religion; men like Harry Horn from North Devon who, though now well into his nineties, still works on the branch line where he spent most of his life. Here are firemen who remember working by lamplight in smoke-filled engine sheds; drivers who were always on time despite never wearing a watch; and men like Sandy Begg from Edinburgh who drove North of Scotland locomotives that were pretty much as they had been in Stephenson’s time!

Tales of the Old Railwaymen also includes personal memories of evenings round the fire in the workers’ common room, of accidents and mishaps, the hardships of working as a ‘wakener’ and the perils of looking after left luggage in the days when almost anything might – and frequently did – turn up!

1 in stock


Tales of the Old Railwaymen by Tom Quinn

In an excellent condition. Some light creasing to the top of the dust jacket. See photos for more details.

Additional information

Weight 776 g
Dimensions 27 × 20 × 2.3 cm




Tom Quinn