Professor Jack Simmons was the most eminent railway historian of his time. His magnum opus was to have been a four volume of the railways in England and Wales between 1830 and 1914. It is a regret the work was never completed but Faber Finds are proud to reissue the two volumes that were published. The first volume describes the growth of the railway system from the opening of the Liverpool amp; Manchester Railway to the outbreak of the First World War. The second half of the book discusses the technology of railways, their track and civil engineering, the machines and vehicles used and the safety precautions developed for controlling an increasingly complex system. A final chapter considers the private companies that built and owned the railways. An appendix examines the services offered to passengers, especially that English invention, the express train.
Jack Simmons (1915-2000) was an historian and writer on railways. From 1947 to 1975 he was Professor of History at Leicester University. In 1953, in partnership with Michael Robins, he established the Journal of Transport History, and, later on, he was one of those who helped found the National Railway Museum. His wide-ranging interests are demonstrated by his published works, ranging from biographies of Robert Southey and Livingstone, his topographical A Selective Guide to England, a history of St Pancras Railway Station (still the best book on the subject) to his monumental The Oxford Companion to British Railway History, co-written, edited and compiled with Gordon Biddle.