Thursday, September 4, 2014

Top ten books about trains

Andrew Martin is the author of numerous articles, and books of both fiction and non-fiction, including Underground, Overground: a Passenger's History of the Tube and Belles & Whistles: Five Journeys Through Time on Britain's Trains. One of his top ten books about trains, as shared at the Guardian:
Mugby Junction by Charles Dickens (1866)

Dickens never liked trains. He preferred stagecoaches, which are romanticised in Pickwick Papers. On 9 June 1865, his negative opinion was confirmed when he was involved in a railway crash at Staplehurst, Kent, in which 10 people died. Dickens did use trains afterwards, but always gripping the arm of the seat and feeling the carriage was "down on the right hand side". For the Christmas 1866 edition of Household Words magazine, he wrote three loosely-connected stories entitled Mugby Junction, which have often been collected as a single volume. The opening story, Barbox Brothers, includes brilliant descriptions of the vast, eponymous junction by night: "Mysterious goods trains, covered with palls and gliding on like vast weird funerals … " There is then a satire on railway refreshment rooms, Dickens having been slighted a few months beforehand by the staff of the refreshment room at Rugby. (Hence "Mugby".) The third piece is The Signal-Man, a ghost story about a train crash in a tunnel. It is often cited as the best ghost story ever written.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue