Cover Image: The Times All Aboard!

The Times All Aboard!

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Member Reviews

This is really for train enthusiasts. It chronicles the author's observations. Unfortunately my knowledge and love of rolling stock was not sufficient to really get the most from this book.
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At 250+ pages this is a really very in-depth look at the history of Britain's railways, and depending on how interested you are in the subject (I like to dip into it more than having a true interest) this will either make an quality addition to your collection or be better suited as a loan from the local library. It's not done in alphabetical order so it's not a chronological history, but each individual piece is only 2-3 pages long, so very easy to dip in and out of the bits you're really interested in. I suppose railway-enthusiasts might already have book after book on the history of Britain's railways already, and I honestly couldn't say whether it adds anything to existing material, but certainly if someone was looking for a first book for their collection I think this would be a great choice.
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Although it was a big surprise to see that this was a compilation derived from three prior books, published quite a few years ago now, it does still seem to fit very well with the "The Times" ethos and style.  (And it has been thoroughly converted for modern use, as the news from Anglesey in April 2021 attests.)  These snippets can be very ungainly to read, listing engines, Beeching's effects, and railwaymen, and providing very little 'in' to the novice.  As a result they come across like a train buff's variant of nature notes – blunt, concise reports from the field (or rolling shed) created by an author who's been doing the same small bit of reportage every week for the last six hundred years and for an audience that knows exactly what to expect.  It is highly random, highly pictorial, and probably highly well thought of by the cognoscenti – but people who think a 4-4-2 is what the local football team should play in will get little from this.
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All Aboard is a delightful miscellany for every railway enthusiast, filled with fascinating and obscure stories, facts and figures.
A truly amazing detailed publication, that is bought to life with an array of pictures and photographs. These include timetables, menus detailed maps and a host of paraphernalia.
Superbly written and well researched, it is a fascinating insight into the history of British railways.
Breath-taking and heart-wrenching stories are weaved together to form an insightful and inspirational work. 
A brilliant read and a must-read for any railway enthusiast.
Thank you, NetGalley and Collins Reference, Times Books, for the ARC of the book.
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What a glorious book to dive into! 
Julian Holland’s love for the railways comes through strongly in his book “All Aboard!”, which celebrates Britain’s lost railways and locomotives, as well as those that are still operating thanks to rail enthusiasts. All parts of the United Kingdom and it’s surrounding islands are featured, from steam through to the diesel revolution. 
Within its pages we get to know famous locomotives, men of the cloth who loved railways including the Rev W. Awdry, creator of Thomas the Tank Engine, (a personal hero of mine), some villains, namely Dr. Beeching who orchestrated the closure of several railway routes and stations in the early ‘60s, (Julian Holland is NOT a fan), heroes such as George Bradshaw who created the first railway timetable, and experimental locomotives. There are also sections on rail disasters, various railway innovations that never succeeded, railway hotels and much, much more.
Told in bite-size sections, this is a very accessible book, packed with immaculately researched detail. Author Julian Holland shares his memories of riding on steam locos in his childhood and his reminiscences of various train journeys are delightful, including a wonderful section on how he became a trainspotter. 
There is a lot of technical Information about locomotive types (the author certainly knows his stuff) but the book is written in a pleasant, conversational tone making it accessible to all. It is richly illustrated with evocative photographs from many different eras, and memorabilia including on-board menus and trainspotting lists from the author’s own collection. 
Not only a history of the railways but also of Britain’s changing social structure throughout the 20th century, this is a lovely book to dip in and out of and an immensely enjoyable way to spend a nostalgic couple of hours. It evokes a gentler, non-digital age. Highly recommended for railfans, social historians and those of a certain age who fondly recall day trips to Skegness via steam train.
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