The Midlands, the traditional industrial heartland of Britain, was inevitably the centre of an impressive network of railway lines. It was also the home of one of the most important non-BR manufacturers of diesel-locomotives in the form of the Birmingham Railway Carriage & Wagon Co. With a number of significant lines running through the region, in addition to the complex local network, it was inevitable, from the earliest days of modernisation, that the region would see the rapid introduction of modern traction. The suburban services on the GWR main line were amongst the first to be converted, whilst the main line services themselves were to see the introduction of the blue Pullmans, a stopgap measure whilst the West Coast route was modernised. Elsewhere the Nottingham area was to become the home for the first of the 'Peaks', which were allocated to Toton for virtually their entire working lives.
Drawing upon the collections of many of the notable photographers who were recording the changing railway scene in the Midlands during the late 1950s and 1960s, Derek Huntriss has selected some 85 colour illustrations that portray graphically the rise of modern traction in the region during these decades. Of the locomotives and multipleunits illustrated, many are now as much a part of history as the steam engines they were destined to replace, victims of the rapid reduction in the size of the railway network in the years following the Beeching Report and the replacement of older types by the second generation of diesel power. Allied to the author's detailed captions, the book recreates an era familiar to countless thousands of enthusiasts nationwide. As the first generation diesel-electric locomotives gradually fade into history, so interest in the so-called 'green diesel' era grows apace. Focusing upon the relevant period in the heartland of industrial Britain, Diesels in the Midlands is an evocative reminder of how far the railways have changed in a relatively short period.
Derek Huntriss, after living in Cornwall for many years, has now returned to his native Coventry. He is a noted railway photographer and author, who has contributed a number of highly successful books to the Ian Allan Publishing list, including, most recently Heyday of the Westerns. His other books include Diesel-Hydraulics in the West Country and Diesels in the Pennines.