50 objects 4: Railway anecdotes and fiction

Tales of the Rail

Tales of the Rail

Brunel’s extensive Transport History collection includes books covering British railway history from the earliest times to the 1980s, written for a variety of audiences and ranging from the very technical to the introductory on various topics. Within this collection, there are some surprising finds: books whose purpose is simply to entertain, not to instruct or persuade.

Tales of the Rail, by railwaymen was published in 1904 to raise funds for the Irish branch of the Railway Benevolent Institution. The content ranges from tiny anecdotes to short stories, with a number of writing styles, and the unifying theme is simply that they each have some, however tenuous, connection to railways.

The Railway Anecdote Book

The Railway Anecdote Book

By contrast, The Railway Anecdote Book was published simply for the entertainment of passengers on train journeys: the content is bite-sized, humorous or thought-provoking episodes on a wide range of general topics.

Probably more entertaining to today’s readers is 1905 detective novel The Tunnel Mystery and its solution by Arthur W. A Beckett. This purports to be written by a journalist with a history of solving mysteries in the course of his work, and describes his investigation into the murder of a woman found dead in a railway tunnel.

The Tunnel Mystery and its Solution

The Tunnel Mystery and its Solution


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s