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Hardback, 176 pages, 250 b&w illustrations. £27.50 incl. UK p&p. Payment by bank transfer, paypal or cheque from Nigel Bird  01974 8211281



By Brian Janes       Price £25.00

176 pages            Published by Pen & Sword

Another superb book from Brian Janes using his depth of knowledge of all things Colonel Stephens while also being able to delve into the Colonel Stephens Museum archives where many of the numerous photos are sourced and used in addition to some detailed information.


This will become an instant hit with all Colonel Stephens enthusiasts, it sets about detailing the vast variety of locomotives that ran across the various railways that Colonel Stephens was involved with. From the numerous recycled, swapped, hired and rented locomotives some might raise an eyebrow to see that Chapter-1 covers New & Novel Locomotives and yes new locomotives were ordered to Stephen’s specifications from Peckett & Sons & Hawthorne Leslie and yes K&ESR’s No4 “Hecate” was unusual, novel & large it was but it was not the only one.


A favourite amongst enthusiasts today there is of course a some wonderful photos of Stroudley’s Terriers which were purchased second hand and while the first two went to the Kent & East Sussex Railway(K&ESR) they were also purchased for the Edge Hill Light Railway(EHLR), Shropshire & Mongomeryshire Railway (S&MR) & Weston Clevedon & Portishead (WC&PR) while two were swapped temporarily to The Sheepey Light Railway (SLR)  and East Kent Railway (EKR) to assist with the building of these lines before returning to their original lines.


Ilfracombe Goods & Beattie Saddlebacks, The Ilfracombe goods loco was a small tender engine and in 1910 Colonel Stephen’s moved to purchase and then hire 6 Ilfracombe locomotives, most had been rebuilt in some way with the exception of 0394. He then looked to Beattie Saddlebacks which were similar to the Ilfracombe locos one went to EKR(No7), while the other to K&ESR(No4).


Manning Wardles have their own chapter with 8 acquired, while 3 went to Selsey, 4 to WC&PR and 1 to K&ESR, each loco is detailed by loco name. S&MR Coal Engines, hired from LNWR they were 0-6-2Ts and kept the LMS numbers on them while they ran there. South Eastern Railways O class and 01 class locos arriving from 1923 to EKR (3) where they were especially useful and K&ESR (3) some were still running in the 1950’s


The Chapter Oddments/one-offs/Singletons with 34 pages covers unusual locomotives that ran across various CS-lines from the tiny “Gazelle” to the much larger “Hecate” readers with some knowledge of the Colonels Locomotives may find this to be their favourite chapter.


Narrow Gauge Covers the locomotives that ran on The Rye & Camber Tramway (inc.Camber & Victoria), Ashover Light Railway (Inc. Peggy & Hummy) , Snailbeach District Railway (inc. Dennis & Kerr) and Festiniog & Welsh Highland Railways (with Welsh Pony & Palmerston 2 of the 11 detailed)


Finally the book is wound up with a Namesplates chapter and a very useful Loco Index.


With interest in Colonel Stephen’s lines still on the increase this book will enthral both new and more established enthusiasts while also adding something extra to those who feel they may already have a wealth of knowledge on the King of Light Railways and his locomotives.

Dana Wiffen - October 2023

Just as the final curtain was falling on Britain’s great railway building age, a larger than life engineer emerged to give light rail one last hurrah.

Colonel Holman Fred Stephens carved out a unique career of planning, building and managing budget railways to serve towns, villages and sparsely-populated rural communities long overlooked by the main line companies.

Using the provisions of the 1896 Light Railways Act, he drew up schemes to construct rural lines ‘on the cheap’ with minimalist stations and infrastructure. His use of second-hand locomotives, carriages and wagons in many ways set the scene for today’s heritage railway sector, nowadays a sizeable plank of the UK tourist economy.

However, Stephens’ small ‘kingdom’ of 17 light railways appeared after the dawn of the motor car and more versatile road transport. Ingenious as his lines were, could not but find themselves swimming against the tide which made their closures inevitable.

This publication looks in detail at Stephens’ portfolio, which included the Kent & East Sussex, Ffestiniog, Welsh Highland and East Kent railways which are still with us today, along with legendary names such as the Weston, Clevedon & Portishead, Shropshire & Montgomeryshire, Ashover, the Selsey Tramway and others, plus the two lines that remain part of today’s UK national rail network.



Colonel Stephens

and his


Brian Janes & Ross Shimmon

136 pages. 210x210mm. Printed on gloss art paper, perfect bound with laminated card covers.

ISBN13 : 9781911038481


For members of the Colonel Stephens Society

the book is available from Nigel BirI Books Post free

Nigel Bird, Bryn Hir, Llanio Road, Llwyn-y-Groes, Tregaron, Dyfed SY25 6PY

Tel: 01974 821281


5th June 2017

Colin's Ford Railmotor arrives at Tenterden