Book review

by Peter Semmens and Alan Goldfinch

Two centuries after the initial run of Richard Trevithick's first locomotive in south Wales, the steam locomotive is now almost, though still not quite, extinct in commercial service.

Past deputy head of Britain's National Railway Museum Peter Semmens and former Chief Mechanical & Electrical Engineer of British Railways' Eastern Region Alan Goldfinch have set out to provide an introduction to the steam locomotive in this 348-page book, which is now available in paperback.

Written in a semi-technical style, it is aimed at the reader with a basic knowledge of science or engineering. It describes the concepts behind the various features of steam locomotive technology, and its limitations. The book traces the path of steam locomotive development over around 150 years, at first empirically and then more scientifically. A range of black and white photos and diagrams illustrate the key components of steam locomotives in the UK and worldwide.


£8·99 from Oxford University Press, Great Clarendon Street, Oxford, OX2 6DP, UK

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