About “Railway Matters” & Me


Writing as Rodger Bradley, I have been an author and freelance journalist for many years, working regularly for numerous specialist technical and engineering magazines and journals, as contributor and editor, and providing editorial support and services.

As a specialist in Transport, Engineering, Telecommunications and Information Technology, commissioned by some of the highest quality journals.

Amongst various roles as Editor of Rail Technology Magazine, Technical Editor of Rail Bulletin, Features Editor of Marine Propulsion International, I have been a specialist contributor to Engineering, Electrical Review, Works Management and other journals.  I have been a regular contributor to Motor Ship, Asia Pacific Rail, and Plant Engineer, with jus the occasional item for Geographical Magazine and Railway Magazine.

I have a particular passion for railway engineering, technology, operations and history, and have written six books, including:

Standard Steam Locomotives of British Railways

Published:          David & Charles; 1984ISBN 0 7153 8384 1

BRSTD - web page


The 12 new classes of steam locomotive produced by British Railways after nationalisation in 1948 were known collectively as the ‘Standards’, of which the Britannia Pacifics were best known. There had been standard types before, but they were standard only to their particular company or area of the country. The newly formed Railway Executive aimed for an ideal of a series of locomotives that could operate anywhere in Great Britain, with a wide route availability within each class. Yet, there was criticism and questions on the need for new locomotive designs at all; moreover, on some routes they met with opposition from crews because they were different.

In this book, the characteristics of each of the 12 types, from the initial design concept, to construction, weaknesses, modifications, and performance is analysed. The results of the locomotive exchanges in 1948, which provided competitive trials of engines from existing schools of locomotive design and used as a basis for evaluating the performance of features desirable for inclusion in the standard range.

Amtrak – The U.S. National Railroad Passenger Corporation

Published:  Blandford Press; 1985 ISBN 0 7137 1718 1

AMTRAK - web page

The railroads of North America have always held a special fascination for rail enthusiasts. The grandeur of the routes across the Rockies and the Appalachians, or the lines across the vast plains of the Mid-West, have given US railroads a distinctive place in the history and folklore of world railways. In this volume, Rodger Bradley recounts the reasons for the near demise of US passenger services in the late 1960s, as the railroads struggled to compete with the airlines; and chronicles the birth of the National Railroad Passenger Corporation – Amtrak – in 1970, and its development over the following fourteen years.

From the crisis years of the post war railroading scene to the retrenchment of Amtrak in the 1970s and its expansionist plans for acquiring further trackage and rights of way in the 1980s, the tale is one of political battles and tough financial strictures, but also of considerable improvements in rolling stock and facilities. The story of nationalisation of the railroad passenger services ‘Washington style’, is described, and the changes to the Amtrak services, locomotives and rolling stock in the fifteen years of its existence is chronicled.                               

GWR Two-Cylinder 2-6-0s & 4-6-0s

Published:  David & Charles; 1987ISBN 0 7153 8894 0

GWR - web page


The Great Western’s two-cylinder 4-6-0s – the Saints, Halls, Granges, Manors and Counties – have never had quite the acclaim given to their bigger sisters, the Stars, Castles and Kings, which worked most of the top line express passenger trains and inevitably took the records of fastest, heaviest or best known. Yet some of the lighter 4-6-0s were occasionally called on to work principal express passenger trains turn and turn about with freight and parcels services, for these were the GWR’s maids of all work, the do-almost-anything and go-almost- anywhere types. This book surveys all these classes, taking as his starting point the Dean designs at the turn of the century.

In the style of the long successful David & Charles Locomotive Monographs series GWR Two-cylinder 4-6-0s and 2-6-0s has much technical background, the detail of the designs, the problems and how they were solved and how the locomotives performed in traffic. Tables list dimensions, names, numbers and variations, while photo- graphs and line diagrams illustrate features of the locomotives and show them at work. It is a worthy addition to the growing library of David & Charles books about notable locomotive types.

LNER 4-6-0s

Published: David & Charles; 1988 ISBN 0 7153 8895 9

LNER 4-6-0s - web page

The London & North Eastern Railway adopted the Pacific type for its principal express passenger services yet it had the most extensive range of 4-6-Os of any of the four group companies. This is the story of the LNER’s 4-6-0 classes covering 17 types, most of them pre-grouping designs. Indeed the LNER itself produced only two new 4-6-0 designs, one by Gresley and one by Thompson, but many of the pre-grouping types were rebuilt not once but with several detail variations to form a bewildering array of sub classes; even the Gresley three-cylinder B17 appeared in new two- cylinder guise under Thompson.

This book looks at the 4-6-0 products of each of the LNER constituent companies in turn, beginning with the North Eastern Railway which introduced Britain’s first 4-6-0 for express passenger work, followed by the Great Central which handed on to the LNER no fewer than nine 4-6-0 designs. In contrast the Great Eastern produced only one 4-6-0 type, the highly successful 1500 class, known by the LNER as the B12.

Indeed in LNER days these and the Gresley-designed Sandringhams were the mainstay of express service in East Anglia where his more famous Pacifies were barred. After Gresley came the LNER’s maid of all work, the B1, which spread widely over the system from Southend to the Scottish Highlands.

Here then is the detailed account of a large group of LNER locomotives, with their designs analysed, their performance assessed, and comparisons made between them, on duties which ranged widely between top line express work to the slowest of goods trains.

GEC Traction – Powering The World’s Railways

Published:  Oxford Publishing Co; 1995

ISBN 0 86093 413 6

GEC TRACTION - web page


The history of non-steam traction is almost as old as the railway industry itself, and GEC Traction, along with its predecessors and associates, has long been in the forefront of all developments in this field. The names of British Thomson-Houston Co., English Electric, Metropolitan-Vickers, Vulcan Foundry, and lesser-known companies like Dick, Kerr & Co., have their place in this story. If the history of steam railways began in North East England, then for diesel and electric traction, North West England provided the nursery for the growth of this industry.

Within this book the story of the development of non-steam rail traction, together with the fortunes of GEC Traction and those illustrious forebears, are recounted. The parts that British Westinghouse, Dick, Kerr, English Electric and others, played in the growth of diesel and electric motive power around the world are illustrated here, underlining their importance. Progress in this field continued with the formation of GEC Traction, whose dominant position in the world marketplace has continued up to the present time. With recent organisational changes, the company, now as part of GEC Alstom, looks set to continue in this role well into the next century.

The story told within these pages illustrates the stature of this company, its experiences and skills and the major part it has played within British railway history, and in the development of modern traction technology throughout the world.

Giants Of Steam: North British Locomotive Co.

Published: Oxford Publishing Co; 1996

ISBN 0 86093 505 1

NORTH BRITISH - web page

The North British Locomotive Company came into being in 1903 with the merging of three major locomotive building companies, Neilson, Reid & Co., Dubs & Co. and Sharp, Stewart & Co., to form Europe’s largest manufacturer of steam locomotives. Based in the Springburn district of Glasgow, North British, or the ‘Combine’ as it was popularly known, was matched in supplying motive power to the world only by the famed North American locomotive builders.

This is the story of the three Scottish companies, how they came together and the locomotives they built at their Hyde Park, Atlas and Queen’s Park works, for home and abroad. Many famous locomotives were built by North British, including the LMSR’s ‘Royal Scots’, ‘King Arthurs’ for the Southern, pannier tanks for the GWR, and even some of the Gresley A3 class Pacifies for the LNER. During World War 11 the Austerity 2-8-0 and 2-10-Os were designed and built by North British.

Overseas orders were the backbone of the company’s work, in particular for India, South America, Africa, Australia and New Zealand, with many of the world’s largest and most powerful locomotives emanating from Springburn. However, an attempt to move with the times and produce diesel and electric traction was not a successful venture, and the company failed in 1962 in the wake of mounting financial problems.

Today, many examples of the locomotives built by North British continue at work in preservation, both in Great Britain and around the world, forming a fitting tribute to a once-great manufacturer.

The full history of this endeavour is now placed on record by Rodger Bradley, who has made a particular study of the British locomotive manufacturing industry, past and present. He has contributed many articles to the professional and enthusiast railway press and has several books to his credit, including the highly regarded, Power for the World’s Railways. GEC Traction.







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