For enthusiasts and researchers of the Great Eastern Railway

When I wrote my previous article, updating what I had put in the latest News, I took it for granted that you would be able to read that first.  Currently News 176 has been languishing somewhere in our postal system for the past week or two, however, so here is what it said.


News from Sales

I am writing this almost two months before you have a chance to read it, but nevertheless the new items for the Cambridge meeting are close to being finalised.

A new DVD has all twenty-four sheets of Stanford’s six-inch maps of London, undated but believed to be around 1885. The maps cover both sides of the Thames. They extend eastwards to include Leytonstone station, Stratford and Maryland Point, West Ham and Canning Town; northwards they extend to Golders Green, Highgate station, Harringay station, St Anns Road station and Walthamstow cemetery (just the southern part). The scale is large enough to show individual buildings, many of which are identified by name (e.g. ragged school, manure works, the Gaiety theatre and ‘The Lord Nelson’). The maps were hand-coloured to indicate tram/omnibus routes (horse-drawn, of course), public open spaces, railway stations and London postal districts. Railways in a goods depot or approaching a terminus show as sets of lines, but the scale is not large enough to depict every siding – for the complete trackwork, a 25-inch scale is needed.

The disc contains every sheet as a PDF, and these files are intended for on-screen viewing, zooming in to see the detail. There is a second set of massive TIFF files, suitable to take to a local copy shop to have your chosen sheet printed out at its original size (about 18 inches by 15 inches) in full colour. The DVD costs £8, plus £1.20 for P&P.

For printed Information Sheets, Ian Stugnell has excelled himself by summarising the GER Traffic Committee minutes from the start of 1882 right to the end of 1891. These constitute no fewer than seven new sheets - M503 (1882, £1.50), M504 (1883, £1.50), M505 (1884, £1.50), M506 (1885 and 1886, £2), M507 (1887 and 1888, £2), M508 (1889 and the first half of 1890, £2) and M509 (the rest of 1890 and 1891, £2). By post please add 20% minimum £1.20 towards P&P. By the time you read this, they will all be in a single new File MN025 (£1.50) in the Emporium.

There is one other new information sheet – M510, £1.20. This comprises scans of a 16-page booklet issued by the Eastern Region to mark the electrification through to Shenfield, outlining the history of that section and describing the new service. It was authoritatively written by George Dow and illustrated with photographs.

It is of course also available for download from the Files Emporium, for just 80p as RE039. To find it, visit our website (, select ‘Sales’ from the left-hand column then click on ‘FILES EMPORIUM’. There is a big blue ‘Search the Emporium’ button. Enter either RE039 or its Sales List number (M510) or a keyword such as ‘Shenfield’. All will take you to it.

There are frequent new additions to the Files Emporium which are usually unannounced. You can see the forty most recent of them by clicking on the link to the right of the blue ‘Search the Emporium’ button. I’ll just mention four of them here, to illustrate their wide range of dates and subjects. Towards the end of steam members of the Norfolk Railway Society spent a peak summer Saturday annually at key vantage points (such as Norwich Thorpe, Ipswich and even Melton Constable while it was open) observing how the holiday trains were running: their report for 1959 is file TO046 (80p), and the others are also there in the Emporium.

File RG031 (£1) is the 1914 edition of ‘By Forest and Countryside’, 129 pages of it – a handbook published by the Homeland Association for those who were considering moving to the leafy GER suburbs (including Tottenham!) and commuting into the capital. It gave plenty of statistics and practical information concerning all the residential districts deemed to be within daily reach of London, so in Chelmsford for instance an attractive sporting incentive was the possibility of hunting with the Essex Staghounds.

In the early days of diesel haulage, carriages were all still steam heated. To provide for this, locomotives intended for passenger trains had to be equipped with a special boiler. File LM048 (70p) is the 36-page operators’ manual for this, the Stone-Vapor steam generator.

RH050 (£1.50) contains pages from the 1842 book 'The Railways of Great Britain and Ireland' by Francis Whishaw, Civil Engineer and member of the Institution of Civil Engineers. The very informative extracts describe from an engineer's viewpoint the Eastern Counties Railway, the London and Blackwall Railway (“a work displaying considerable ingenuity and originality of contrivance”) and the Northern and Eastern Railway (whose innovative lineside fencing was commented on), as they were at that date. 

The price of none of the files should break the bank. If those four do not appeal, surely one out of the hundreds of others will? Do take a look.

Finally I will say again that non-computer members should not feel neglected. There is still a Sales List which gives the usual brief details of all the printed Information Sheets which are available. You can get one by sending an SAE to me at 14 Quantock Close, Bedford MK41 9EW. The envelope should be at least A5 in size, and preferably A4. The stamp must be a large letter one.

Barry Jackson


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