Tuesday, June 05, 2018

Book Review: The Pretenders by Lawson Little and Dave Holroyde

Publisher: Mainline & Maritime

ISBN: 978-1-900340-48-9

A4 softback

52 Pages


Internal combustion locomotives sporting a steam engine shaped body aren't a widely written about the subject. There's always been something "wrong" about them which has caused enthusiasts to shun these locomotives.

For many pleasure railways though, they are an essential part of the fleet. While the public love to see and ride behind a steam loco, operating one is more difficult and costly and a diesel or petrol powered machine. On a rainy day when the crowds will be limited, do you really want to spend hours preparing and disposing of your real steamer? Indeed, does your line even have anyone skilled enough to do this?

Slightly confusingly, the book starts by looking at a few specific locomotives and then, after covering CP Huntington the worlds most numerous design, moves on to manufacturers with firms such as Severn Lamb and Alan Keef. We then return to a single machine before ending with an appendix rounding up the numerous other examples found in the UK

The text is a little dry, but includes a wealth of information to help enthusiasts track down examples of each loco. Well illustrated with colour photos throughout, it's incredibly informative.

My interest was piqued by the arrival of "Maltby", a Baguley loco seen in the closing credits of BBC TV series Hi-De-Hi, at the Groudle Glen Railway. Easily one of the less convincing designs thanks to the jackshaft drive, it's still an important loco and being  Groudle resident, one I want to know more about.

Far from being a footnote in railway history, these locos have a heritage all of their own and really deserve more interest from enthusiasts. Hopefully, this excellent book will make them more appealing in their own right.

The Pretenders at Amazon

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