Heritage Railway


Show me a Fifties’ or early Sixties’ short-trousered schoolboy who claims he never read, yet alone owned, an Ian Allan locospotters’ book – and I’ll show you a liar.

Back in 1942, a young Ian, who worked at Waterloo station in the Southern Railway’s PR department, had a brainwave of a business idea. He received so many requests from enthusiasts wanting lists of the company’s rolling stock that he decided to publish them in a book, the ABC of Southern Locomotives.

It was an overnight success and it led to similar titles covering other railway companies and, in short, not only was a major transport publishing venture formed, but it evolved into a business empire covering a host of other and often disparate interests.

That is a story for another day, but suffice to say that Ian did not stop at publishing books about railway rolling stock – he built his own railway.


While this year several events and special trains will mark the

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