by Ian Macfarlane
READERS fortunate enough to have on their bookshelf any of the first three parts of this fascinating series, which has been published at two-year intervals since 2000, will surely want to read this latest volume. A final Part 5 is also promised.
Part 4 focuses on the complex interaction of vehicles and track which can lead to a derailment, looking at the structural integrity and general crashworthiness of coaches, and also at fire. In the last context, some spectacular fires and releases of toxic chemicals are described, mainly in North America. Too often, these resulted from derailment and penetration of tankers by couplers before measures to prevent this were devised.
The author contrasts the crashworthiness of extruded aluminium bodies which have split along welded joints with the superior performance of stainless steel, but any metal structure is vastly better than wood which not only splintered to fragments but all too readily burned in steam days.
A$95+postage from EA Books, PO Box 588, 1585 NSW, Australia