Classic Modern Traction in Action
Although many still hanker for the days of steam, the classic diesel and electric locomotives of the 1950s through to the 1980s today evoke a similar nostalgia. In
their day, these powerful representatives of the `modern age', thundering through the British countryside, presented a striking and often very attractive contrast
between the timelessness of the landscape and the brilliance of the contemporary engineering.
The principal purpose of this book on classic modern traction, by acclaimed photographer Malcolm Ranieri, is to illustrate and document the classes of locomotive which have already gone (or are fast disappearing) from our rail network. Soon locomotives like the 37s and 47s, and 86s and 90s on electrified lines, which dominated passenger and freight services for four decades,will only
be seen in action on preserved lines or static in museums. It not a catalogue of all the classes of locomotive which have disappeared over the past thirty years or so, but an in-depth look, using photographs of the locomotives in action, at the changing face of the railways of Britain over that period. Malcolm Ranieri does not just portray the locomotive in action but places it in its natural environment, in effect the train in the landscape. Our British landscape is rich and varied, and provides many different backdrops from the rural, the rugged, the industrial and the urban, through which the trains run. Malcolm Ranieri also highlights some of the significant changes in the lineside picture over the last few years. For example, railway signalling is now largely by electric light,whereas the more photogenic signal box and manually-operated signals are quickly disappearing.
Stations have been rebuilt and the attractive rural halt is no more, replaced by structures akin to bus shelters. Safety considerations have also meant that modern fencing has not enhanced many locations and lineside vegetation has also increased.
With more than 150 historic and choice images (all in colour), and with informative captions (which in many cases explain the techniques used to take the photographs),Malcolm Ranieri has captured an important part of Britain's railway heritage in its heyday, before it slipped from view to become a preservationsist's dream but largely a main line memory.
Hardback with dust jacket, 144 pages
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