Waverley Route, The  Neil Caplan Railway World Special Soft Cover 1985 48 pages

Waverley Route, The Neil Caplan Railway World Special Soft Cover 1985 48 pages

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Waverley Route, The Neil Caplan Railway World Special Soft Cover 1985 48 pages
The Waverley Route By Neil Caplan Railway World Special Soft Cover 1985 48 pages
The literature of the North British Railway in general, and of the Waverley route in particular, is surprisingly meagre given that the company was one of the five leading railways before Grouping and that the Waverley was a trunk route rivalling the West Coast and East Coast routes. The few books published are excellent in their different ways, including C. Hamilton Ellis' learned and lively The North British Railway (Ian Allan Ltd), A. A. Maclean's admirable North British Album (Ian Allan Ltd, 1975) and R. Leslie's fascinating pictorial presentation Steam On The Waverley Route. The general accounts of the North British cannot fairly be expected to devote much space to the Waverley route.
With a substantial text and 100 illustrations, this book is something of a 'hybrid'. Though it provides a much fuller picture of the Waverley than has yet been available in one place, it plainly falls well short of the definitive account of the route for which railway enthusiasts have long been waiting. Like all portraits, this is a personal view of the subject. Some of the omissions, such as a close look at the rolling stock used on the route, have been a matter of personal choice. But others, notably the branch lines of the Waverley, have been dictated by the limited space and illustrations (the branches however had their place in my Border Country Branch Line Album, Ian Allan Ltd, 1981).
Many railway enthusiasts today never saw the Waverley at work, or only during its final few years. Long before closure in 1969, much of the former glory had departed. Everything about the Waverley route now is historical or almost archaelogical. These considerations are reflected in the substantial share of my text given to the historical background, the topography and the structures of the route. The motive power associated with the Waverley takes the lion's share of the illustrations, hut this is a portrait of the route, not another cavalcade of locomotives.
It was tempting to include more of the classic early photographs with their special associations and the charm of far bygone times. The fact that most of these have been published often does not seem to dull today's appetite for them! But my portrait tries to cover the lifetime of the Waverley and the illustrations must mirror the notable changes including the passing of the North British Railway, the eras of the London & North Eastern Railway and of British Railways, the end of the Age of Steam and the final brief reign of diesel motive power. Some photographs are included not for the sharpness of the detail recorded but because they have caught something of the 'atmospheric' quality of the Waverley. This is an elusive concept and certainly not one that words alone can convey, but all who knew the Waverley well are convinced that this quality was truly part of the magic of the route.
About 100 illustrations have to serve where more than twice the number would not be over-generous to this great railway! These are however supplemented so effectively by Rae Montgomery's brilliant route diagram, by Norman Turnbull's excellent map and by the gradient profile which itself 'speaks volumes' about the physical character of the route.

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