Archive for August 10th, 2008

The ultimate birthday present

Sunday, 10 August 2008

The Railways of Great Britain: A Historical Atlas
by Colonel Michael Cobb (Late RE) FRICS, MA, PhD

(click for more details or to purchase at Ian Allan website)

A comprehensive atlas of public, common carrier, railways from 1807 to 1994 in England and Scotland (not Ireland). The Atlas consists of two large bound volumes in a slip case. There are 646 pages of maps across the two volumes. The railways are shown prominently in colour, superimposed on greyed out 1 inch to the mile OS maps of the area. There are separate indexes for stations, junctions, tunnels, water troughs, inclines and a miscellaneous section that includes, for instance, collieries, sidings, wharves and mills.

The year of opening and closing is given for each line or section together with the names of its various owners. There are also a dozen pages of family trees of the railway companies that were grouped in 1923 to become the ‘Big Four’.

The Atlas is the work of Colonel Michael H Cobb who has been studying railways from the 1920s to the present day. After an army career specialising in surveying and the production of maps, Colonel Cobb worked for the Ordnance Survey and latterly for a civilian cartographic company. He began work on this project in 1978 and finally completed the cartographic work in 1996. The task of producing and financing this great project has taken up the intervening years, and the first edition of the Atlas was published in 2004. It has been subsequently revised to include the errors and omissions brought to the author’s attention and was reprinted in 2006.

The second reprint is privately published limited edition. So if you have £150 and are interested in acquiring a copy, don’t delay. If you are feeling exceptionally generous, Dyspozytor would love a copy. If you don’t have £150, the New Adlestrop Railway Atlas is a work in progress showing the railway lines and stations currently open, together with those that have closed in Wales, the Midlands, East Anglia, Yorkshire and the South of England.

For his research work on the Atlas, Colonel Cobb was awarded a PhD by the University of Cambridge, becoming at the age of 91 the oldest person on record to be awarded a PhD by the University.