Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Book Review: The Manx Electric and Snaefell Mountain Railways, A Modellers & Historians Inspiration

Plenty of title there for your money !

The basics: A4 sized softback book. Full colour throughout. 180 pages.
I'm a sucker for books on Isle of Man transport so you won't be surprised that I have been looking forward to this publication since I first heard of it a couple of months ago. Seeing it in the Ian Allen bookshop, I wasn't disappointed.

The author, Robin G Winter, starts the text with a potted history of the lines. Next the routes are described, so far so standard and I don't see anything that a Manx enthusiast isn't likely to know already. After this though, things become a bit more serious (some may say the book gets more anoraky) with descriptions of the permanent way, power and traction infrastructure, the sheds and rolling stock. Next there are photos and plans of various tramcars on both the MER and Snaefell lines. Again, the information isn't new, just brought together in a single place for a change. After all, not everyone has dug through piles of old model railway mags !

Liveries get excellent coverage and if you fancy some modelling action the various colours are shown and model paint equivalents are listed. Even the visible wood versions are there with suggestions of base colour and grains.Should you care, and I'm probably nerdy enough, then even the traction pole paint is detailed. Who knew they changed so much over the years ?

The back of the book covers suggestions for models of the systems and then some examples of those that have already been built. Suppliers get a mention too - obviously this section will date but with the pace of MER/Snaefell models and kits being produced, not very quickly.

In summary, this isn't a dry and dusty tome. If you want a truly scholarly and dull approach then you'll need to go elsewhere. For those who are really interested and fancy building a model of one of these lines then it is the business. My only complaint involves the reproduction of the photos. There are a lot of them and the colours don't seem to have much "punch". That's partly due to the age of some of them of course but a lot is down to the printers. It's a minor quibble though and for me, this book is well worth the £24.90 it cost.

Buy the book from the TLRS website.


Anonymous said...

You probably mean "a dry and dusty tome", although I guess tombs can be dry and dusty as well, and it does fit in well with the one or more amusing grammar errors per posting that seem to be mandated for any blog.

Phil Parker said...

Ooopps - Sorry.

On the grammers errors - I think you will always find these on blogs as they tend to be quick thought dumps rather than perfect prose. I explained this here:

In this case I was more worried about getting the new Blogger editor to put some line breaks in the text to make it easy to read.