In Tales of the Premier Line, the reader is taken to the opening decade of the twentieth century before the First World War. Commercial trains are a commonplace for both personal transportation and cargo. The smaller lines have merged and a modern system is coming into form. The Crewe works Cheshire is the setting for the stories in this volume. The Crewe facility, itself was an amazing place producing not only locomotives but wrought iron, steel, and bricks. To help the reader, the book contains two appendixes. The first covers the different trains, their configurations, and notes on the particular engine. The second is a glossary with railroad terms from that era that are used throughout the book.
The stories revolve around the railyard and different aspects of the railways — From drivers to painting facilities. However, it is the people that make the stories and not the trains. The trains are ever present in the stories, but the workers have their own culture which is brought to the forefront. There are light stories and a few serious ones. One story even centers on the problems between England and Ireland and self-rule. On the lighter side, karma pays a visit to a lazy driver in the best possible way. The stories not only entertain, but teach the reader about the trains and the people of the time. There is a special sense of loyalty to the railway that puts it on par with military service — The teamwork, discipline, and integrity of the employees.
Steaming into the North West: Tales of the Premier Line is a welcome addition to the Steaming series of books. It is noticeably shorter than the other books, even in ebook format, but a welcome surprise after thinking the Last Days of Western Steam was to be the last book. This is a series for all the kids who used to sit by the tracks waiting for majestic trains to thunder by and wave to the drivers and the crew in the caboose.
Other books in the series by Michael Clutterbuck:
Steaming into the Firing Line: Tales of the Footplate in Wartime Britain (Volume 1)
Steaming into History: Footplate Tales of the Last Days of Western Steam (Volume 2)