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Title:On The Rails Today Review image
Author:Ben Muldoon
Publisher:Ben Books
Subject:Rolling Stock
Category:Numbers - Current
Spec:A6, wire bound, 182 pages, laminated covers, 4 colour photos
Publication date:2009-current
Summary:Comprehensive and compact, this book is ideal if want every number in your pocket, less so if you are interested in the details.
Review:Modern technology means that anyone can produce and publish a book, and Ben Muldoon did just that when he found that none of the existing railway number listing books met his needs. As he states in the introduction, he wanted a book that was pocket-sized yet covered anything that might be spotted 'on the rails'. I first came across this book with the 2013 edition, which was apparently the fourth. Listed within are the mainline loco, multiple unit, coach and wagon fleets (including international wagons), while towards the back are track machines and full stock lists for all metro/light-rail systems (including London Underground). The only preserved stock included is those locos that are main-line registered. Rather obviously, very little detail is included, this being primarily a numbers-only listing. Having said that, build dates and descriptions are given for each batch of wagons (only). There are a couple of issues, at least with the edition reviewed here. Firstly, blocks of numbers are presented 'across the page', rather than column by column. Secondly, there are a number of mistakes and typos. For example, in the private-owner wagons is a spurious batch VTG174 to VTG242 (PR3170 to PR3247 are listed later) and number 9484 appears without any heading info. The LUL section also has several errors in the unit formations listed. Thirdly, the RIV numbers are sorted by full numbers, including the exchange code. This means, for example, that 35.70.7790.000 comes right after 34.87.7899.015. Although this method may suit some people it does go against the normal conventions. Assuming that the mistakes are fixed in future editions, this will be an amazingly compact and comprehensive listing of all trains in current UK use.
Reviewed:01/10/2019 by Thomas Young (Comments made by others can appear in the notes section towards the bottom of this page)
Sample pages:(Click on any image to view full-sized in a new window)
Page image The cover of the 2013 edition.
Page image This is the first main page of the book, starting with diesel locos. As can be seen, there is no information about allocations, liveries, operators, names or detail differences. Perhaps oddly, former numbers are given for some (but not all) affected items. Numbers read across the page, which is OK once you get used to it.
Page image A typical wagon page, showing that individual variations are not covered in any way. Also the numbers (again) read across the page rather than down each column. For some reason the prototype OBA (110000) has been tacked to the end of the OAA numbers.
Page image The section for RIV wagons introduces a third sorting method, this being directly by the entire number. Hence wagons with low exchange codes (eg 23.80.2492.001) appear first. The blocks list just the last three digits of each number, and check digits are not included.
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