Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The Wisbech & Upwell Tramway by Chris Hawkins & George Reeve

Final detailing for my Y6 tram engine will be greatly assisted if I look at a few pictures and since the line the engiens were at home is the Wisbech & Upwell, then that's the book to get down from the shelf.

Looking at the Interweb, it seems that of all the books covering the line, the Wild Swan publication is generally considered the one to go for. It's an excellent book that is at its core a trip along the line. Each station or depot is described, you get a lovely clear trackplan and then there are photos. Lots of 'em.

Dating back to 1982, the reporoduction would have been superb for the day and it's still not bad now. Perhaps the exposure is off on one or two but I can live with this as these tend to be the very early images over 100 year old. Later stuff from BR days is sharp as a pin.

I find this sort of book frustraiting because as I look at the pictures I want to be there very badly and I know that unless someone markets a time machine, I can never see those scenes for myself. This is a world when railways would run trains specifically for fruit and veg crops when they were ripe and ready for market. This happened at a days notice

The pictures aren't boring enthusiast shots showing three quarter views of the engines either. The line was a railway in the landscape and that's what we see. For all the similarity to today's world, these might a well be on Mars. Of course old films mean we have a world of perpetualy sunshine, vicars and (probably) cycling district nurses. I imagine that the scenes must have had a bucholic quietness about them in real life without all the noise we "enjoy" today.

If I have any critcisms of the book it's the lack of drawings showing buildings and rolling stock. The back cover features a nice plan for onf the coaches but theres nothing for the engines inside. Also, these are treated very quickly and perhaps would benefit from a few more pages. Mind you, this is a book about a railway line - the locos were covered in other publications so you can go looking in there.

The biggest problem is reminding myself that I don't need to build another train set and certainly not of this line - it's been the subject of quite enough already. Mind you, there is always the chance for a sligthly different take on it...

Depite being out of print, the book is available from Amazon 2nd hand.


James Finister said...

Can't do the time machine but this video from the excellent East Anglian Film Archive gives some flavour of what it was like

Phil Parker said...

What a fantastic film! Very interesting shots. You don't get film crews and interviewers hanging on the sides of engines like that now.

Good film of activities like coupling and loading wagons which are mundanity but rarely seen now.

Nick Brad said...

I have both this book and Andrew Ingram's centenary album on the Wisbech and Upwell, originally coming from March, this was a local line to me, albeit a line that closed 20 years before I was born. It still holds a fascination for me though and I wish a 4mm model of the coaches could be found, (I am aware of the hen's teeth D&S kits, but could never afford them if they did come up,) but I am bashing a rough approximation up for now thanks to your influence and inspiration to me.

As for why I am replying to an old blog, I am slowly working my way through the entirety of this blog, a month or two a day, until I catch up to current events.