320 pages. 275x215mm. Printed on gloss art paper, casebound with a dustjacket.
Of all the old railway companies which once existed in Britain, the Caledonian was without a doubt one of the most charismatic. It is a century now since it ceased to exist but its name is still spoken of with affection, and interest in its history continues; the many new books published in recent years are a testament to its enduring appeal. Like all industrial concerns of the time, working conditions could be harsh, with long hours and often low pay. Its staff did not view it through rose-tinted glasses but even so it engendered a fierce loyalty and is remembered today for its elegant locomotives, comfortable long distance trains, fine stations and breath-taking scenery through which it passed. In truth, the Company made most of its money by transporting vast tonnages of goods and minerals, and millions of commuters, across “the fields of apparatus, the furnaces, set on the dark plain like gigantic chessmen” to quote W.H. Auden, so the romantic scenery had to be contrasted with much industrial grime. Nevertheless, in everything it undertook, the Caledonian conducted its operations with an innate style and panache. Ten years in the making and containing nearly 400 images, the aim of this book is to take the reader beyond the familiar photographs of the Caley's engines and trains into darker, more obscure corners, and convey some impression of what life was like for those employed by this major transport undertaking.