The dark days when steam was banned from the main line following the end of regular steam haulage on British Railways are now but a memory, and its appearance is now a regular and welcome sight. Up and down the country from Cornwall to the Scottish Highlands, from East Anglia to Wales, lifelong railway enthusiast Roy Avis has travelled countless miles to witness and photograph the magnificent sight of the steam locomotive back in its traditional home and able to 'stretch its legs' on the main line. Today's many excursions are hauled by a wide variety of superbly preserved locomotives from all of the 'Big Four' companies as well as BR Standards, not forgetting the new-build Peppercorn 'A1' No 60163 Tornado, adding an entirely new ingredient to the mix. More than 130 photographs are included in this book, in black & white and colour, providing a vivid and evocative tapestry of steam locomotives at work in many different landscapes, allowing us all to share the rewards of Roy Avis's relentless pursuit of steam.
A retired local government officer, Roy Avis was born in 1935, at 7 Higham Road, Little Irchester, a terraced cottage overlooking the former Wellingborough London Road railway station. Much of his early enthusiasm for steam began at Kettering Grammar School, in 1947, when he joined the Ian Allan locospotters' club; railway artist Don Breckon was also a pupil there at that time. His first railway photographs were taken at Kettering Junction where the family had an allotment on the embankment; his father, grandfather and two uncles all worked on the railway. Unacquainted with digital technology, he still uses a Pentax medium format camera, negative roll film and transparencies.