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by Adrian Vaughan
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  • Author:
    Adrian Vaughan
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  • Publisher:
    Amberley Publishing; Revised edition (June 15, 2011)
  • Pages:
    160 pages
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    1568 kb
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    1315 kb
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    1657 kb
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Author:Vaughan, Adrian. Book Binding:Paperback.

Adrian Vaughan, born in Reading in January 1941, fell in love . The book begins in 1962 at Challow

The first book in Adrian Vaughan's Signalman's trilogy. A classic of railway literature

Discover Book Depository's huge selection of Adrian Vaughan books online. Signalman's Twilight.

Signalman's Morning is the first of a trilogy tracing a love affair with the coal-fired railway, from love at first sight in 1945 to divorce in 1975. Adrian Vaughan, born in Reading in January 1941, fell in love with the entire spectacle of the steam railway. It was the Greatest Free Show on Earth. It had drama, it had wonderful peace and relaxation, it was musical and it had poetry - to those lucky enough to be able to appreciate it. It was educational as it raised so many questions in the mind of a boy. There was no feeling of oppression on that railway. Adrian was allowed to ride the engines and enter the signal boxes. He asked the railwaymen questions about their engine or their signal box and their work, and they kindly gave him the answers. He was coached in engine driving and signal box work through the 1940s and 1950s; he was the first volunteer railwayman at the age of twelve, unloading parcels, helping in the shunting yard. By the time he actually went to work for British Railways as a porter, he was fairly well versed not only in the work but in the spirit of the railwaymen and their commitment to what they called 'The Service'. Signalman's Morning is not a book of rose-tinted hindsight, nor is the trilogy. He knew, all through that period, that it was a very special time. These are his memories, carefully remembered until, in 1978, he felt capable of writing them down, on a 1942 vintage 'Imperial' typewriter, in a way to do justice to that wonderful epoch.

What a charming, chatty and well written book. Not just for `gricers' (trains-spotters) at all, although undeniably full of railway lore and detail but a story of a conscientious, likable youth maturing into his chosen profession and passion.

Adrian was born in Reading, long, long ago (I can say that as he is 2 years older than me!) and has crafted over twenty books on railways and the great engineer Brunel. His personality shines very cleanly through his writing, and as an author he is entertaining and engrossing - he spends 50 pages describing just his first day at work, and every pages is interesting! He added s sight I had forgotten, from my own early days, on ships, not trains, that of the fireman cooking breakfast 'on the shovel' - always shining bright from the scouring of the coals - but hardly 'clean'. The hot shovel was withdrawn from the hot coals - a splash of water turned instantly to steam - it was now declared sterile and a few rashers of bacon soon turned it - back into the furnace - into a pan of tasty fat for the eggs!
This is someone who is admirable, entertaining and - most of all - who writes interesting books, As readers could we ask more? Well, he has also spent the last twenty-five (25!) years as a volunteer on maintaining a preserved' heritage' railway.

Believe me - if you have any interest in rail, England or just enjoy a well-crafted read you will enjoy this book.
Signalman's Morning, Signalman's Twilight, and Signalman's Nightmare are a group of three books with a page size of approximately 5 by 8-1/2 inches that together tell the story of Adrian Vaughan's railroad career from running away from home at age 5 to visit a railroad signalbox until his final departure from the railroad approximately 30 years later. Originally a railroad signalman for many years, Vaughan later became known as a railroad historian and author. He primarily worked on the old former wide gauge Great Western lines west of London, on the way to Bristol, Exeter, Plymouth and Penzance, in the era when the trains were controlled by signalboxes along the line every few miles.

While many of the terms are British, anyone familiar with railroad operations will have no trouble understanding what is going on. Vaughan's writing style is easy going and brings the reader into the inner workings of the railroad, its interesting staff, and its day-to-day operations as well as occasional problems and unusual situations. All three of the books have a center section with black and white photos that are appropriate to the text. These books open the door to an era in railroading that unfortunately is long gone but fondly remembered by many. I have yet to read an Adrian Vaughan book that I did not enjoy.

Signalman's Morning has about 178 pages and tells the story of Vaughan's life from childhood until his first assignment to a signalbox of his own. It starts with him running away from home at age five to visit a railroad signalbox. It continues with his his increasing interest in railroads as a youngster as his interest moved from the Southern Railway to the impressive Great Western. After his family moved to the country, Vaughan began visiting signalboxes to both enjoy railroading and learn how the signalboxes operated.

Following Vaughan's return from military service, the book relates his initial railroad employment as a porter at Challow and his activities there. It ends shortly after Vaughan is accepted as a signalman and assigned to the Uffington signalbox.

This volume is the happiest of the three. The era is one of steam locomotives and traditional signalboxes. While the Great Western was now a part of British Railways, many of the staff had been with the Great Western all of their lives and much of the feeling of belonging to the railroad family, working together and responsibility remained.

A noteworthy feature of this book is the map printed on the endpapers that is not found in the following two volumes. This is great help to the reader in understanding the location of places mentioned in the text. Information at the end of the book lists signalbox bell codes, locomotive headlamp codes and main line signals at Uffington.
I enjoyed this book very much. It's a delightful account of a time that's now gone, and the skills that were then so essential are now useless and have almost disappeared. Good that this fascinating flashback has been preserved, and it's easy to like the author.
A very entertaining read
Loved reading this. Full of nostalgia brought back lots of childhood memories for me. An easy to read book with a nice balance between the technical aspect of railway signalling and day to day living in the 1950's.
Husband and dad both like it
I loved this book a blunt and honest look at the life of a Signalman on BR great read all.