Reminiscences of a Trainspotter

For those who are not technically minded (and for those who are), here is a book by David Wardale that bears no resemblance to his 1998 Magnum Opus “The Red Devil and Other Tales from the Age of Steam”.

In a letter to myself dated December 2022, Wardale wrote the following words which serve as an excellent introduction to the book.  He wrote as follows:

I’m sending you an SD card containing the text for Reminiscences of a Trainspotter.  Its purpose is to show the incredible variety of locomotive shapes that could be seen on BR in the early 1960s.

Whilst this was my original aim, the whole thing has mushroomed into the story of my passage through the 1960s. There will still be many alive (like yourself) who had similar experiences and I think (hope) that this will be attractive to them and bring back memories of their own “locomotive adventures” in the 1960s.  Therefore, I would like to see it made more widely available, and I’m hoping that you can see the opportunity to do this for the benefit of the AST group.  Read it and judge for yourself if you think it has commercial possibilities like the works on Porta that you have produced.  (I want nothing for it and it is freely given.)

Not being in any way an engineering work (apart from a few remarks on design details), it is full of anecdotes and rather barbed comments, mostly directed at the BR management at the time, but I also manage to get in one or two suitable comments about GWR locos. (I hope you’re not a GWR enthusiast!)

I found that writing it takes me right back to those years, how I was and how I felt then, so it is written as I would have written it at the time.  (This has been an interesting experience for me.)  The intensity of my feelings for steam locomotives, and consequent hatred of the things that replaced them, drives through, I think.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy it.

Whilst Wardale hopes that the book will appeal to people of a certain age who enjoyed similar childhood experiences, I (as editor/publisher) hope that it will also be of interest to younger readers who grew up in the post-steam era, as it offers them a glimpse of what childhood and adolescence was like in those halcyon days of the 1950s and 1960s, and why the excitement and interest that trainspotting provided could often be more meaningful to its devotees than all other boyhood interests and activities.

Note: For personal (philosophical) reasons, Wardale has chosen to omit his name from the book’s cover.  It is therefore published anonymously.

Offering a new Printing Service

In order to meet the demanding standards that Wardale required regarding print quality – and especially image quality – this book is being printed using Bookvault’s on-demand printing service which offers heavier (150 gsm) coated paper instead of the 80 gsm uncoated paper offered by Ingram’s Lightning Source that we have used in past publications.

Note to ASTT Members

ASTT Members are entitled to a 20% discount on the price of in-house publications such as this.  Members should order their copy of the book through the Members Ordering page.

Note to Overseas Buyers:

Bookvault is a new service that (at the time of publishing) has printing works in the UK only.  They are currently working to get a print works operating in the US in a matter of weeks, and will no doubt expand into other countries in the future, however for the moment we ask that overseas buyers write to us at to seek a price for posting the book to their country.  Thus the PayPal button below applies to UK buyers only.


Book Price including postage

If you wish to order more than one copy, please write to the Webmaster to enquire about discounts.  Likewise, trade inquiries should be sent to the same address.

Please note:  All proceeds from the sale of this book will accrue to Advanced Steam Traction Services Ltd. (ASTS), and will be used to fund its work of fostering improvements to the performance, reliability and/or economy of steam locomotives.