Publisher: Crecy Publishing
Over the course of the age of steam on Britain's railways, relatively few engine men picked up the pen to write about their life on the footplate and the engines on which they worked. One who did was Norman McKillop, who also wrote under the pseudonym of 'Toram Beg' ('little Norman'), a nod towards his Gaelic parentage and heritage, whilst still working as an engine driver, contributing to publications such as Trains Illustrated.
Enginemen Elite was first published in 1958 and is an account of Mc Killop's railway career which began in 1910 when he joined the North British Railway as a cleaner. He rose through the ranks and in time, based at Haymarket shed in Edinburgh, he became one of the top link drivers on the East Coast Main Line. He has been described, as at once a master and a lover of the locomotiveman's craft and his observations relating to the various types of engines on which he worked are both fascinating and insightful. He was also an active trade unionist who wrote a history of his union, ASLEF, which was published in 1950 and there is a strong tread of social concern running through his autobiography focusing on the sometimes appalling working conditions of railway staff especially in the dark economic landscape of the 1930s.
This reissue of a superbly written work on life on the footplate which has been out of print for many years, one both romantic and thoughtful in turn, will be much welcomed by a new generation of readers.
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