Book Reviews

Scottish Transport  66  –  2014 Edition.

Scottish Transport 66 is the 2014 edition of the STTS’s annual magazine.   It comprises 48 pages, A5, plus card covers, and includes a variety of well illustrated articles covering tram, bus, and railway topics.   Among these is a really rare bird – the story of the Stronachie tramway which formed part of the transport link between the remote Stronachie Distillery and Milnathort station.  My uncle was for many years the minister of the Parish of Milnathort and often spoke to this writer of the approximately 2’0” gauge roadside tramway with wagons hauled by a tractor most of whose wheels ran on the road surface but had a leading bogie that ran on the rails.    Weird!!     Other articles follow the progress of the new Edinburgh tramway up to its opening, examines the tramway in Mussleburgh through the medium of postcards, remembers the “Liners” (ex-Liverpool streamliners) during their time in Glasgow, looks at the two trams once owned by Ian Cormack at his home in Cambuslang, while Gordon Casely thinks wistfully how the Ballater branch might eventually reopen – at  very distant date.     Issue 66 is priced at £6.50 and can be obtained from Society meetings and events stalls or by post from Iain Frew, 17 Catherine Drive, Sutton Coldfield, UK, B73 6AX

Scottish Transport 67 – 2015 Edition

The annual magazine of the Scottish Tramway and Transport Society was published in September 2015 and contains as usual a selection of articles covering a wide range of transport modes.    The first article records a remarkable piece of detective work in identifying the complex history of a non-standard horse tram in the Glasgow fleet.   This has involved the use of new technology and the author, Alan Brotchie, believes that the detailed history of this tram has now been resolved.   Next there is an account of “Odd Men Out” within Western SMT’s 1100 strong bus fleet in the 1950s.     These were mostly buses obtained from absorbed smaller companies, or became oddities following a rebuild with a very different body from the original.    Next we turn to the Clyde estuary and a rarely thought of activity – the duty of the Clyde Port Authority to maintain buoys and navigation lights to indicate safe ways for other shipping.    This article remembers an event in 1977 when the Authority’s vessel “Fulgar” ran aground during a severe storm and how she was rescued by the ferry Jupiter.    Next there is a major article about Glasgow’s “Semi-High Speed” tramcars.     These traditional looking trams were equipped with two powerful 60hp motors and were designed to operate at up to 33 mph.    They had 31.75” wheels compared with 27” on conventional trams so they stood higher than the older vehicles and there is a comprehensive history of these trams. As might be expected the reopening of the Borders Railway to Tweedbank is covered followed by Gordon Caseley’s description of how STTS, working with many other bodies managed to topple First Group from the operation of the Scotrail network.    There are then two mainly photographic features showing Edinburgh Trams in the snow, and Alexander Atlantean Ambassadors – buses that have featured in trade shows in the UK and abroad.    Letters to the editor and a short item about the new trams in Edinburgh complete an interesting issue.
The magazine costs £6.50 plus 50p towards postage from Iain Frew, 17 Catherine Drive, Sutton Coldfield, B73 6AX.  Please make out cheques to “Electric Railway Society”, thank you.

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