For a long time now I’ve been collecting narrow gauge related books on a variety of subjects. I don’t just buy books on Scottish narrow gauge (and I’d have a very small bookshelf if I did!), but books on whatever takes my interest.

Recently I’ve started looking back at books I bought some years ago to see what subjects I’ve got in the library now (for library read ‘grandly titled Ikea bookshelf) to see if there are any themes. Essentially they are as follows:

  • Common carriers be they in England, Wales, Ireland or elsewhere
  • Colonial narrow gauge
  • Westcountry narrow gauge
  • Irish narrow gauge
  • Welsh narrow gauge (obviously)
  • Scottish narrow gauge
  • Manufacturers catalogues

To better show what takes up what space on my bookshelf I thought I’d experiment with a wordcloud…

Cloud 1


It’s been interesting looking back at my books as its made me realise that I have comparatively few books on modelling. I tend to get modelling information from magazines, DVDs or the internet. I also have very little in the way of books on the railways of ‘mainland’ Europe (that may get rectified following a developing interest in the Harz lines of Germany), or America.

Looking at what I’ve collected over the years I can see why I’ve been inspired to model a common carrier sprawled over a remote hilly area. Its interesting how these things influence what we do…

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4 Responses to Bookshelf

  1. The good news is there’s a hell of a lot of the world you haven’t yet covered so you’ve many more years of heavy expenditure 🙂 I would recommend George Hiltons American Narrow Gauge Railroads as a good one to start with. I’d then take a look at the astonishing railroads that served the nitrate industry in Chile and then the narrow gauge in Spain and Mallorca.


    • Tom says:

      Absolutely, it’s quite UK centric at the moment, with a bit of Indian influence.

      There are other areas I’d like to get books on, particularly Australian narrow gauge, African, Javan (if there are any books), Scandinavia, Switzerland and Germany.

      Some American railroads appeal to me, particularly the Maine Two Footers, but I have to say that the Durango and Silverton, Cumbres and Toltec and logging lines leave me cold at the moment. That’s not to say my taste won’t change over time, though.

      Chile’s nitrate railway sounds intriguing, and I’ve seen some interesting looking photos of Spanish lines.


      • Hi Tom

        Glad you’re not one of those Brits who thinks foreigners can’t make nice engines 😉 is a blog on one of the best of the nitrate carriers in Chile. The Durango & Silverton and Cumbres & Toltec are almost to Brit mainline size and do lack ‘charm’, but Colorado NG had loads of charm in the early years:


      • Tom says:

        Definitely not, I actually think there’s a bit of an untapped source of inspiration for 2’6″ gauge in particular in places like India and Africa especially. I have a plan for something Indian which should appear on the blog in coming months – watch this space.

        Those electric locos on the nitrate railway look huge! Interesting, though.

        I know what you mean about the C&T and D&S RRs, I can see their appeal to others but it’s not bitten me yet. The photos you’ve linked to certainly have some character evident in them, though.

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