A Life on The Lines – A Railwayman’s Album

Published 10 December 2012

Author: Richard ‘Dick’ Hardy

Publisher: Conway

Pages and dimensions: Hardback. 160 pages. 20mm X 23mm approx

Cover price: £14.99

Available from: Conway Publishing and Anova Books

Review by Phil Marsh

Richard Hardy, far better known as Dick Hardy, is one of the few railwaymen that is universally known and respected and one conversation with him is enough to tell you that he is a fabulous person and railwayman.

He joined the railways in January 1941 and worked his way from a Premium Apprentice there to Divisional Manager level in British Railways 40 years later. Throughout, he always carrying a camera and took thousands of photographs including in wartime which can now be published.

This book is simply one of the best that has been published for several reasons. Dick Hardy knows his railways, old and modern and was very much a people person motivating staff at all levels. It also becomes clear when reading the book that he, as you could do then, bent the rules when it was beneficial to the railways and the people.

The author has a memory which has been used to caption the many photographs and these are not just the type of engine and location. There are many mini-stories told in the extended captions which bring the pictures to life. Luckily for Dick and everyone else, one of his first pictures taken in July1936 as a 12 year old, was of a train at Amersham where he lived, but the driver caught on camera was the fireman of the very first Great Central Railway service out of Marylebone in 1899.

There are many pictures of people and he names most of them sharing his memories of them and these are detailed in eight sections, each a discreet part of Dick’s career.

His career spanned East Anglia, Woodford Halse, Stratford and Stewarts Lane steam sheds in London going on to management positions in Kings Cross and Liverpool where he was Divisional Manager. He also went to France to see what the French steam expresses could do. Another fascinating chapter in Dick’s life.

After retirement in 1982, like so many railwaymen, Dick’s second career started! It has yet to finish and he has been instrumental in main line steam train operations being chairman of the Association until 1993. He has also been the examiner for steam crews and much in demand as an event speaker and simply for advice. He was also heavily involved in the Steam on The Met events up to a decade ago. In short, any book of Dick Hardy’s is a good read and thought provoking. Especially his ‘Beeching, Champion of the Railways which offers a contra-view of the maligned Beeching.

The final steam train on British Railways in August 1968 saw Dick Hardy on the footplate, where else would he have been! This book is a must have for anyone interested in railways and social history, A life on the Lines combines the two perfectly.

There may be a discount available if purchased via the publishers website.

External Links


Have your say...

Please note: you have to be logged into the site before you can leave a comment

Liverpool street station in the UK at rush hour

Help and advice with train travel in the UK

Train travel in the UK should be a pleasure, not a headache. So if you’re taking a train on the UK railway, start your journey here. We’ve lots of hints, tips and advice to help you find your way around, travel smoothly and arrive in style by train.

Read more

eurostars passing at 375mph from the drivers seat in france


Welcome to our #railchat page. Our #railchat discussions take place over on Twitter, with our resident expert Phil Marsh. If you would like to get involved, please do join us, and use the dedicated hashtag #railchat. See our previous discussions below:

Read more

Old steam train in Shanty Town Museum

Locomotives & Engines

Our rail network would be nothing without them. From Stephenson's Rocket to British Rail Class 92 and beyond, explore the facts, information and anecdotes behind the steam, diesel and electric locomotives that built the age of the train.

Read more


Latest Tweets


Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh to London Kings Cross by Train

Book in advance with redspottedhanky.com and save 85% advanced bookings.

From £21.00

Buy now

Millenium Dome, London

Birmingham New Street to London Euston by Train

Book in advance with redspottedhanky.com and save 92% on advance bookings.

From £6

Buy now

You may also like...



Follow us on Twitter and become part of our rail community!



redspottedhanky.com is the easy way to buy cheap train tickets online.



Control your business fuel costs with a supermarket fuel card – free to apply, no ongoing account charges and no monthly minimum spend.