1 Demonstration Model of Walschaerts Valve Gear as Fitted to Steam Locomotives,  HM Prison Isle of Wight (Albany), Gold Award for Matchstick & Mixed Media Models koestler trust

Help others with Christmas presents for those interested in railways

Published:26th November 2014

Rail.co.uk needs YOUR help to make a retired railwayman’s Christmas

Former railway employee John Conway Smith worked as a Guard at Tyne Yard just over 20 years ago clocking up 24 years railway service. When his career ended, he was presented with a Rotary watch in recognition of his service and subsequently wore it every day and was very fond of it.

While on holiday last August, the watch was lost and the owner is still very upset about losing it. His family has been in touch with rail.co.uk to see if any reader knows who issued the watch and more importantly, what was engraved on the back of it.

Does anyone know where we can find a similar watch which can be engraved as a surprise Christmas present? If you can help, please contact rail.co.uk and make someone’s Christmas.

Christmas present suggestions from rail.co.uk

Rail.co.uk has been contacted by many organisations with ideas for Christmas gifts for those interested in railways. We take a look at some of these which we hope will ease the burdon of what to get someone for Xmas!

First off is a range of railway calendars and there will be one for every type of rail enthusiast! But its probably best to buy one from a locomotive owner or preserved railway to help their operations. For example, LNER ‘A4’ No. 60007 Sir Nigel Gresley is due for an overhaul late in 2015 and this will cost at least half a million pounds. So why not buy one of their excellent full colour calendars. ALL proceeds, not just profits, will go towards the engine’s overhaul. Many other locomotive groups are also offering calendars featuring their locomotives.

The Koestler Trust exhibition and art sales

The Koestler Trust offers many unique ideas for presents and is a charity which supports prisoners through art with many items are for sale. The money is split between the charity and the prisoner and forms a large part of their rehabilitation process. If you are quick, there is an art exhibition on the Spirit Level in the Southbank’s Royal Festival Hall until November 30th. Otherwise, check out their website for details of their pop-up shops.


Books can make a great Christmas present! The Great Western Railway has many followers and these include many railway modellers. So when a book covering a traditional GWR branchline is published with photographs, construction details and track layouts to assist railway modellers – it looks to be a sound choice.

The book, ‘The Watlington Branch of the Great Western Railway’, has been written and published by the well-known Ian Allen author Brian Dickson and all proceeds are being donated to the Chinnor & Princes Risborough Railway (C&PRR) where he is a very active volunteer. The C&PRR is the charity that runs the branchline for about four miles so as with the other suggestions, the present will benefit good causes.

The book is really a two for one publication as it details a GWR branchline which operated from 1872 to 1989 and uses archive images and specimen timetables to describe the line’s activities. For modellers, each station is described with plans and pictures which detail carriage and engine sheds, signalboxes, freight facilities and the actual stations.

It is A4 format and has 32 pages detailing a long lost way of life using a series of pictures taken on 24 August 1951 to accompany the plans. There are some evocative pictures of the various level crossings on the line and the people that worked on them.

It is available from the Chinnor & Princes Risborough Railway priced £5 from the station shop at Chinnor or by post at £6.95 from the author. Cheques should be made payable to the Chinnor & Princes Risborough Railway company Ltd and sent to 58 Grenville Avenue, Wendover, Bucks HP22 6AL.

50 journeys in 35 countries across the World railway book

For those with a general interest in railways across the World, Collins, in association with The Times, has commissioned Great Railway Journeys of the World, authored by Julian Holland. The book is a very high quality A4 size lavishly illustrated guide to 50 rail journeys around the World.

Thirty five countries are explored away from the UK looking at the highest railway in the World in China, the small line to Andorra between Spain and France plus lines using Victorian engineering features in South Africa. The trans-Australian railway is also featured.

Each journey has a map accompanying it which allows the reader, or aspirant passenger, the chance to follow the route. Many of the photographers are well-known to rail.co.uk and are amongst the best in their class. So whether the recipient of this book uses it for research for the next holiday, or merely to dream about where they would like to go and are not able to travel, it’s a great buy!

The book is published in hardback format and it’s ISBN is 9780007559350 and costs £30. There are several other similar titles published by Collins and The Times in this series.

And finally

Rail.co.uk’s editor has also written a 68 page book called ‘The Full Works’ illustrated with over 100 images dating from 1838. It looks at the history of the Royal Train, the London and Birmingham and London North Western Railway and Wolverton’s Railway Works. More details are available on www.wolverton175.co.uk .

The aim of the book is to help fund a World War 1 Memorial to the 213 Wolverton Works men who gave their lives in that war and so far nearly £1000 has been raised. 50p from each book is being donated to the fund and Wolverton Works owners, Knorr-Bremse is match funding the donation.

This costs £6.95 plus £1.55 P&P available from Phil Marsh at 14 Milton Road, Willen Village Milton Keynes MK15 9AD.

External Links

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.