Electric Railways 1880-1990

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  • Author:

  • Year: 2003

  • Format: Hardback

  • Product Code: PBHT0310

  • ISBN: 978-0-85296-805-5

  • Pagination: 480pp.

  • Stock Status: In stock

£46.15 Member price

£71.00 Full price


Scope: This book presents a thorough survey of electric railway development from the earliest days of the London Underground to modern electrified main line trains. Coverage includes chapters on signalling and communications, power supplies, and a detailed survey about traction systems, both AC and DC. The introduction, first of mercury arc rectifiers, and later of power semiconductor controls, is also discussed in detail. 

The author has a long standing interest in engineering history and has written many papers on aspects of railway technology. This book will be of particular interest to scientists and historians interested in the development of electric railways.

Book review

"...this is a history of the technology of electric railways, rather than the railways themselves, but written widely and in a lucid style that is aimed at the general reader." Grahame Boyes, Journal of the Railway and Canal Historical Society, No.189, July 2004, No.190, November 2004.

Book readership

Historians of science and railway technology; transport, mechanical and electrical engineers


Reference, professional, general interest

Book contents

Introduction; 1. Telegraphs, track circuits and signals before 1890; 2. Electric railways and American practice; 3. The electrification of street railways; 4. Heilmann, Ward Leonard and the electric railway; 5. Electrification of British rapid-transit lines; 6. Electrification 1900-20; 7. Track circuits, describers and electrical signalling 1890-1920; 8. Evolution of the electric railway 1920-40; 9. Railway electrification and the thermal-electric locomotive; 10. Converters, the mercury-arc rectifier and supply to electric railways; 

11. Signalling, communications and control 1920-40; Railway electrification 1920-40; 13. Electro-Motive, General Motors and oil-electric traction; 14. The mercury-arc rectifier locomotive; 15. Railway electrification in Britain 1920-60; 16. Signalling, communications and control 1940-70; 17. Main line direct current traction in Britain; 18. Main line alternating current traction in Britain; 19. Solid-state electronics, motor control and the locomotive; 20. Solid-state electronics in signalling, communications and control; 

21. The electric railway 1965-95; Bibliography; Index



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