Published in March 2022 and written by Keith W. Platt, this softcover book comes in the usual Amberley format of around 234 mm x 165 mm with 96 pages and 180 colour and black-and-white-photographs. It has a published price of £15.99 but at the time of writing it can be purchased online from Amberley Publishing for £14.39 and from Amazon for £10.65.
The book is the author’s personal recollection of scenes that were everyday occurrences of railways around the Doncaster area in the 1960s. The author has exercised a degree of poetic licence here by including scenes from Gainsborough, Goole, Retford, and Scunthorpe, each between 15 and 20 miles from Doncaster, as they were locations he regularly visited.
The first thing that struck me about the book was how many photos showed locomotives stationary, either at locomotive depots or Doncaster Works. Out of the 180 photographs in the book, 100 are devoted to such locations, rather belying the word “steam” in the book’s title.
Reading the Introduction, coal trains were a significant part of Doncaster’s railway scene in the 1960s, and as such, I expected to see photographs of a variety of different locomotive classes on coal trains. Sadly, there are only five, whilst there are five depicting LMS Duchess Class 46245 City of London that had arrived on a special train. An even more glaring omission is the lack of photos of Standard Class 9F 2-10-0s, since 18 of the class were allocated to Doncaster shed in the early-1960s.
Strangely, the book is almost devoid of page numbers, the first one not appearing until page 37, followed by pages 51, 53, 71, 76, and 91 to 95. What also seems odd is that five of the last six pages are shown in landscape format, possibly to meet the publisher’s quota for the total number of photographs.
As seen in the pages below, much of the book is devoted to photographs of locomotives out of steam and stationary on shed.
Only the author will know why he has included photographs of industrial locos working at Scunthorpe in a book about railways around Doncaster, as in the pages below.
As in the previous pages of trains at work at Scunthorpe, the pages below depict Gainsborough and Retford, again quite a distance from Doncaster.
The book is available to purchase from Amazon as well as from Amberley Publishing.
We would like to thank Amberley Publishing for providing RailAdvent with a copy of the book for review.
Steam around Doncaster in the 1960s
For anyone who was a rail enthusiast at Doncaster in the 1960s this book will revive memories. For others, the book fails to catch the flavour of steam at an important location on the East Coast Main Line. The book fails to give a good appreciation of the day-to-day scenes of railways around Doncaster as promised by its title.
- Nostalgia for those who enjoyed visiting locomotive sheds in the 1960s.
- Well detailed captions.
- Too many photos of engines out of steam on shed and not working.
- Poor coverage of coal trains and total absence of Class 9Fs.
- Very few pages bear page numbers.
Presentation & Layout
Value for Money