Amongst modellers and enthusiasts trams get a bit of a mixed reception. Some enjoy pretty much anything that travels on rails, for others the fact that they are almost always single self contained units diminishes their train-ness and therefore the attraction. I like rails in the road, from the most basic of level crossings to dockside networks set in cobbles, there's something incongruous about them, they hold the promise of rail borne locomotion appearing in a mundane setting. Visiting Hay on Wye earlier this week I was pleased to find this gem for £1.49 in an Oxfam shop.
At first sight it's not hugely promising. The better railway books usually focus tightly on their subject, whether that be line, rolling stock or region; this one gives a general overview of tramways in the British Isles and Eire. However the writing is clear, interesting and authoritative; the pictures absolutely fascinate. There are absolutely no fillers just there to make up the weight, each image illustrates a feature of the tramways, each one tells a unique story, each one is visually attractive in its own right. My favourite is this one of a cable gripper car in London. To my mind it cries out to be modelled. Though this is the one that gets my motor running, the rest of the illustrations are similarly inspiring.