Most people are under a misapprehension: the Rocket was not the first steam engine. Quite a few were built before it, but Stephenson’s engine was the first successful steam locomotive. Colin Maggs tells the story of the steam engine from pre-Rocket days to British Railways building the Evening Star, the last main-line locomotive, through to the preservation movement and the new-build locomotives of extinct classes such as the Tornado. This is also the story of the rolling stock, the ‘train’. The early first-class coaches were based on a stagecoach design, while some second-class coaches had no glass in the windows and passengers wore fine-gauge goggles to avoid cinders in their eyes. Third-class coaches were merely open trucks – after all, why not travel in the open as passengers had done on the outside of a stagecoach? In this comprehensive history, Colin Maggs, one of the country’s foremost railway historians, tells of other, perhaps less well-known aspects of the history of steam in Great Britain. The first railway lines, the activities of the early railway companies, the design and manufacture of faster and faster engines and the lives of the men and women who drove the industry. These, and other fascinating stories from the age of steam, are all revealed in this accessible book illustrated with over 150 photographs and period ephemera, many in colour.
Colin Maggs is one of the country's foremost transport and engineering historians and has written over one hundred books as well as innumerable magazine articles. He has also made several TV and radio appearances. In 1993 he received the MBE for services to railway history. He lives in Bath.