30inch Railways Worldwide: An Introduction to the Development of 750mm, 760mm and 2ft 6in gauge Public Railways book

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30inch
30inch Railways Worldwide: An Introduction to the Development of 750mm, 760mm and 2ft 6in gauge Public Railways
by David Scotney
Published by:
Frank Stenvalls Förlag
Föreningsgatan 12
Box 17111, SE-200 10 Malmö Sweden
81/2" x 12", 416 pages, hardbound
Price: $75US + $20 s&h
Payment via PayPal to frank@stenvalls.com
Website: stenvalls.com
In this book, author David Scotney explores, in depth, the use of the narrow gauge of 2'6" and thereabout (including 750 and 760mm), in all parts of the world as a common carrier (as opposed to an industrial railway).

The book commences with several chapters that examine these “secondary” railways in a variety of different ways, including their definition, reasons for their existence in various parts of the world, their cost as compared to larger-gauge railways, track and infrastructure, operation, locomotives, and rolling stock. These chapters consume around the first 90 pages of the book and are fascinating. This encyclopedic material gives the reader a clear and accurate picture of what these little railways were, how they served the needs of their markets, the wide variety contained within the 2'6"-gauge envelope, and what caused (in many cases) their ultimate demise.

The remainder of the book examines 30"-gauge railways in all parts of the world, country by country, from Afghanistan to Zaïre. The space allotted to each country varies, from less than a page to several pages, based on how extensive the 30"-gauge network in each country was and how much information was available to the author. Each section begins with a very brief political history of the country, followed by a history and description of its 2'6"-gauge railways and how they fit into their respective local societies and economies. Maps of 30" railways and (where appropriate) other railways are also included.

The book is profusely illustrated with photographs, many in color, of the railways being discussed. Vintage photos are often included, as are pictures of abandoned and derelict equipment. These photos by themselves are worth the price of admission. They offer views of some of the most obscure and unusual railways on the planet.

The production of the book is first rate. The paper is heavy, matte stock. Photo reproduction is excellent. The author’s lucid prose is a pleasure to read and he makes his points clearly. The book is scholarly and has been amazingly well researched and documented. Much of the information included is not to be found in  any single place. If you are interested in narrow-gauge railroading in all of its forms, this remarkable volume should be on your shelf.

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