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This is one of the books produced by Finial Publishing

ISBN: 978-1-900467-48-3

Size: 297mm x 210mm landscape (approx), Softback, 100 pages plus cover,
85 colour illustrations

Price £19.99
Please add £2.00 postage (UK only), £5.00 postage overseas

Available by post from the author:
Donald Blake
16 Arcacia Avenue, Owlsmoor
Sandhurst, Berkshire GU47 0RU

Telephone: 01344 777862 (from outside the UK: 0044 1344 777862)

Following in his father’s footsteps, Donald Blake commenced work with British Railways as an Engine Cleaner in May 1952 at Heaton Mersey Motive Power Depot, Stockport. After ten months, he became a Passed Cleaner at Trafford Park Motive Power Depot, Manchester and when firing duties became available and with the requisite number of duties completed, was made up to Regular Fireman. Between 1955-1957, he did National Service in the British Army and on demob, returned to work on British Railways as a fireman. Following a spell of employment at the Royal Aircraft Establishment at Farnborough he returned to British Railways, working for the Southern Region’s Civil Engineer’s Department at Woking. In 1980, he was promoted to Supervisor on Plassermatic track tamping machines which were being increasingly used for raising, straightening and tamping railway track.

On retiring in 1993 due to ill health, followed by a heart attack and while waiting for a heart bypass operation, he resolved to use his considerable skills as an artist to record his experiences. He hoped his pictures and words would enable his three grandsons to learn about what it had been like for their great-grandfather and grandfather while working on Britain’s railways, the scenes he recorded for posterity having mostly long disappeared from today’s railways scene.

The end result were three separate and very different books - one for each grandson - which the artist hoped would be his personal legacy for not only his grandchildren, but for future generations of his family as well.

In early 2011, the artist and his wife Betty took the decision to make the three books available to a wider audience and the present book is the result, the three books being combined into one volume, but still retaining the unique individuality of each book.

Book 1 describes his experiences of firing a 'Super D' 0-8-0 goods locomotive from Cheadle Junction over the difficult line through the Peak District to Rowsley and the return journey with a brand-new Class 9F 2-10-0. Book 2 is with a Class 8F 2-8-0 from Heaton Mersey to Gowhole and Glazebrook sidings including preparing the engine and his work on returning to the depot. Book 3 describes taking a Liverpool football special to Rotherham with a 'Black 5' 4-6-0.

Each journey is lavishly illustrated with the artist's colour paintings, his line drawings of the route taken and the track layout at junctions and stations on the way, and a desription of his experience of the journeys.