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RailRoad Modeling
For general topics on RailRoad modeling.
Refs suggestions from the railroad experts?
Quebec, Canada
Joined: October 09, 2006
KitMaker: 64 posts
Historicus Forma: 0 posts
Posted: Monday, June 03, 2013 - 06:11 AM UTC

I usually hang out on the Armorama side of KMN, but I have an reference inquiry that most definitely belongs here, so here I am with a couple of questions for the railroad experts.

In short, I am looking for credible studies on the history of railroads and trains in 19th century England & London. Living on the other side of the pond kind of precludes me from getting first hand, in-situ knowledge on the subject. I've been looking around the net, but to be honest, I'd rather get your ideas on the matter. As a seasoned armor modeler, I've been able to verify multiple times that modelers are very knowledgeable people always eager to share about their passion and they care a lot about data accuracy.

With that being said, I'd be happy to get your recommendations on the following subjects:

1- The history of development of trains from the early days of invention to, say, the late 19th century. What would be, according to you, a general study that is usually recognized as a definite work on the subject?

2- The development of railway network in the city of London during the 19th century;

3- Scale plans & books with plans of engines and wagons used in England in the 19th century with accurate historical background.

-- any site generally recognized as an authority on the subject of trains and railroads history?

-- Oh, and as a side bonus, would anyone know of an accurate diorama of London around the mid 19th century? I wasn't able to locate anything on this, yet for some reason I wouldn't be surprise to learn about the existence of this.

I thank you in advance for any and all suggestions and references you may provide!

Thankfully yours

Jean-Vincent Roy
Québec, Canada

Staff MemberManaging Editor
Tennessee, United States
Joined: December 21, 2002
KitMaker: 7,772 posts
Historicus Forma: 172 posts
Posted: Sunday, June 09, 2013 - 11:39 AM UTC
Hi Jean-Vincent,

I asked your question to my London RR source expert. I hope this helps. He wrote back:

Quoted Text

Jean-Vincent has asked almost impossible questions. London has had
literally thousands of mile of railways. They began in 1802 and are
still growing. Hundreds and hundreds of books have been published but
with one exception they deal with individual sections of the immense
system. There's no website covering everything but dozens covering
the individual parts. A good example is this...


It's very comprehensive but covers just a few miles of route.

There's really only one way for Jean-Vincent to get a general
overview and that's to buy an out of print book. It's...

'The regional history of British Railways, Volume 3, Greater London'.

A rather grand title! It was written by H.P. White and published by
David & Charles. There are copies on Amazon now and it's a classic.
Another good one is the long out of print 'London Railways' by Edwin
Course. It only deals with a few of the lines but does convey the

There's no accurate diorama of all of London in the 19th Century for
the simple reason that it was already about 20 miles across by then.
More like 35 now and with a much greater population density.

There's an 1899 map here...


...but it only shows a fraction of the system.

Not a lot of help eh? Feel free to pass my address to Jean-Vincent if
he want's to talk more about this. I warn him though, he's got a
thousand books to read!!!

All the best


Quebec, Canada
Joined: October 09, 2006
KitMaker: 64 posts
Historicus Forma: 0 posts
Posted: Sunday, June 09, 2013 - 12:20 PM UTC
I thank you VERY much Frederick for taking the time to look around like this!

While it doesn't provide many specific references, it's extremely useful to get a feeler for the subject (it's vast!). I also suspect that true experts such as Ian sees the subject with great accuracy in all its depth, where I know nothing about it, hence my asking for a starting point on British Railroads history.

I thank you again for this and I invite anyone who might have an idea on the subject to feel free to contribute on the thread or reach me at jeanvincent.roy*at*videotron*dot*ca.


a.k.a. Tarkus