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Welcome to Mortons Books, part of Classic Magazines

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This website details our wide range of specialist book publications that Mortons Media publish.

We create these books by drawing upon the wealth of experience, skill and insight that only a major magazine publisher can offer - backed up by Europe's largest motorcycle image archive.

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New releases

Beeching - Beating Beeching

132 Pages | IN STOCK - Robin Jones | £6.99

Coming soonThe 50th anniversary of the famous report by British Railways chairman Dr Richard Beeching which announced the closure of thousands of miles of lossmaking branch lines and cross-country routes has seen many books appear highlighting he public opposition and the mistakes that were made.

This one, however, documents the way back for railway lines that were earmarked for closure by the axeman, who has been described as Britain’s most hated civil servant of all time.

Had the recommendations in Beeching’s report The Reshaping of British Railways been followed to the letter, the UK’s national railway network would have been more drastically reduced.

However, many lines were saved or reopened, by a combination of public and political pressure, by local authorities wanting to reduce traffic congestion, or by ordinary people who were not prepared to stand by and watch it happen.

Beating Beeching looks at the wide spectrum of ways in which railway lines closed before, during and after the Beeching era have been given a new lease of life.

Read about - the civil servant who plotted within the corridors of power at Whitehall to stop a major cross-country route through the heart of Wales from being axed.

How an eagled-eyed local weekly newspaper accountant broke an embargo on an advertisement – and saved a line which went on to become a strategic and extremely busy commuter route in the years that followed.

The story of how a massive public campaign to save Britain’s most beautiful railway – the Settle and Carlisle line – succeeded – with more than a little inside help from one of British Rail’s own managers.

The reopening of a network of lines to regenerate the South Wales coalfield after the closure of the deep coal pits.

The conversion of axed lines into major tourist attractions essential to many a local economy by railway preservations.

Where preserved steam lines are now performing a significant public transport function once again.

The railways that were saved because they ran through marginal parliamentary constituencies.

The book also looks at future plans to reopen more lines, in a world increasingly dogged by road traffic gridlock, and the arguments both for and against the building of HS2.

The book is lavishly illustrated by pictures both from the steam era and the modern day.

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Ace Cafe

132 Pages | TBA - Robin Jones | £6.99

Ace CafeOn July 3, 1938, London & North Eastern Railway A4 streamlined Pacific No. 4468 Mallard hit 126mph on Stoke Bank on the East Coast Main Line in Lincolnshire, snatching the world steam speed record from Nazi Germany.

Mallard’s official record still stands to this day.

To mark the 75th anniversary of the record event, the National Railway Museum at York is bringing together all six surviving A4 streamlined engines for a series of unique line-ups. The first starts at York for the actual anniversary in July, and other events will be held at York in October and at the Locomotion museum at Shildon.

Among the six A4s are a pair – Dwight D. Eisenhower and Dominion of Canada – which have been borrowed for two years from their North American museum owners and cosmetically restored after being temporarily repatriated.

Indications are that the Great Gathering, as the line-up is being branded, with Prince Charles as its patron, will be the biggest and most popular event ever held in the museum’s history.

Mallard 75 looks at the story of LNER chief mechanical engineer Sir Nigel Gresley and the glamorous A4 locomotives that he built to pull fast luxury express trains between London and Edinburgh.

The bookazine celebrates a true British first – one which helped lift the morale of a nation reeling from the Great Depression of the Thirties – and a speed record which has never been beaten.

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Mallard 75 - Celebrating Britain's Greatest Steam Moment

132 Pages | TBA - Robin Jones | £6.99

MallardOn July 3, 1938, London & North Eastern Railway A4 streamlined Pacific No. 4468 Mallard hit 126mph on Stoke Bank on the East Coast Main Line in Lincolnshire, snatching the world steam speed record from Nazi Germany.

Mallard’s official record still stands to this day.

To mark the 75th anniversary of the record event, the National Railway Museum at York is bringing together all six surviving A4 streamlined engines for a series of unique line-ups. The first starts at York for the actual anniversary in July, and other events will be held at York in October and at the Locomotion museum at Shildon.

Among the six A4s are a pair – Dwight D. Eisenhower and Dominion of Canada – which have been borrowed for two years from their North American museum owners and cosmetically restored after being temporarily repatriated.

Indications are that the Great Gathering, as the line-up is being branded, with Prince Charles as its patron, will be the biggest and most popular event ever held in the museum’s history.

Mallard 75 looks at the story of LNER chief mechanical engineer Sir Nigel Gresley and the glamorous A4 locomotives that he built to pull fast luxury express trains between London and Edinburgh.

The bookazine celebrates a true British first – one which helped lift the morale of a nation reeling from the Great Depression of the Thirties – and a speed record which has never been beaten.

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Concorde

132 Pages | IN STOCK - | £7.99

Buy onlineA wonder of innovation, a symbol of Anglo-French cooperation, an icon of the 20th century - Concorde pushed the boundaries of speed, technology and luxury. The magnificent white bird, travelling at twice the speed of sound between London, Paris and New York represented the pinnacle of commercial air travel.

When it first took to the skies in 1969 its systems were the most refined and electronically complex ever seen, its pointed nose, slender fuselage and delta wing gave it the appearance of an arrow pointed at the horizon and its engines powered it to speeds faster than a rifle bullet.

Concorde's passengers were heads of state, royalty, pop stars, millionaires and those so caught up in the dream of supersonic flight that they were willing to part with the enormous cost of a ticket for the greatest airliner ever made.

Concorde: The Dream That Took Flight tells the full story of this incredible aircraft from the plans laid during the darkest days of the Second World War to the international race to create the world's first supersonic transport, the test flights, the controversy over sonic boom shockwaves, the years of service and the disaster that finally brought them to an end. A decade after Concorde's last flight, the chances of Concorde's resurrection are examined and the future of supersonic transport is explored.

This is the amazing story of a dream that became a reality shared by thousands of admirers all over the world. It is the complete story of Concorde.

• Order post-free on-line, or available from limited W H Smith stores

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Cold War: Sex, Spies and Nuclear Missiles

132 Pages | IN STOCK - by Dan Sharp | £6.99

Coming soonFifty years ago the world teetered on the brink of nuclear holocaust. The pivotalyear of the Cold War, 1963 saw Britain rocked by revelations about war minister John Profumo sharing a glamorous young mistress with a Soviet spy. The nation’s first nuclear submarine was launched and the Polaris missile system was bought from the Americans, sparking a deadly new phase in the conflict and mass protests. The RAF was on standby to launch its V-bombers at just four minutes' notice and English Electric Lightning jet fighters were Britain's first line of air defence. The year saw Beatlemania taking hold, the Vietnam War escalating wildly, the Great Train Robbers playing monopoly with real money, Beeching dropping his axe on the railways, a top British intelligence officer revealed as a Soviet agent, Sean Connery in From Russia With Love, Steve McQueen in The Great Escape and the assassination of US President John F Kennedy.

The nuclear holocaust was close at hand yet it seemed that the fresh-faced youth of Britain, with their pop music, their peace protests, their disposable cash and their boundless optimism might just have the power to save the day. This is the story of Britain at the height of the Cold War: a snapshot of the sex, the spies and the nuclear missiles of 1963.

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Coming soon

The best of The Railway Magazine - Volume 2

132 Pages | TBA - Robin Jones | £TBA

Coming soonThe Best of Railway Magazine volume two, compiled by Chris Milner, deputy editor of Britain’s top-selling rail title The Railway Magazine, is a further selection of reprints of previously published features that cover wide range of subjects, both British and foreign, but are presented in a revised style and in many cases with a previously unpublished photograph.

Best sellers

Dambusters

132 Pages | IN STOCK - | £7.99

Buy onlineTo commemorate the landmark mission, Squadron Leader Clive Rowley (Retd) a former Officer Commanding the RAF Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, takes a fresh look at an old story with the benefit of some modern research to aid the process.

This special bookazine, which includes some previously unpublished pictures and some stunning artwork, commemorates the men of No.617 Squadron plus the engineering brilliance of Barnes Wallis and his colleagues at Vickers and Avro.

In 1943 Operation Chastise, as the Dams Raid was officially named, established a legend that still resonates today.

• Order post-free on-line, or available from limited W H Smith stores

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Battle for Bluebell

132 Pages | IN STOCK - by Colin Tyson | £6.99

Coming soonThis comprehensive 132 page full colour, perfect bound ‘bookazine' has been written by Colin Tyson, editor of Old Glory magazine. Colin also edits Bluebell News.

The Bluebell Railway in East Sussex was the first full size railway to be taken over from British Railways by steam preservationists in 1960.

This book draws on both timeline reports from house journal Bluebell News as well as never previously published information and gives every location the full ‘before and after’ treatment.

The bookazine will tell how when planning permission was initially refused, the preservationists did not give up.

It includes information on the longest tunnel in preservation, along with a 10-arch viaduct and a cutting filled with over 100,000 tonnes of domestic waste.

Colin reveals how since 1971 The Bluebell has had ambitions to extend another six miles northwards – and now the culmination of this 42 year project has at last seen trains return to East Grinstead from late March this year.

This is the first available full story of Bluebell’s biggest-ever project, timed just as the extension is completed and open to visitors.

• Order post-free on-line, or available from limited W H Smith stores

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Brunel’s Big Railway

132 Pages | IN STOCK - Robin Jones | £6.99

Classic British Motorcycling LegendsThis comprehensive 132 page full colour, perfect bound ‘bookazine’ has been written by Heritage Railway founding editor Robin Jones and is lavishly illustrated with both archive and modern-day photographs.

With the £1 billion electrification of the London Paddington to Bristol Temple Meads main line railway in its very early stages, questions have been asked about how the modernisation programme will impact on the rich legacy of heritage structures along the 116 mile route.

The railway was the first main line to be constructed by engineering genius Isambard Kingdom Brunel, and as such is one of Europe’s greatest transport treasures. Indeed, there have been calls for it to be named as a World Heritage Site because so much survives from his day.

This new book looks at the story of Brunel’s Big Railway – for that is exactly what it was – its revolutionary design and its groundbreaking engineering features, like Maidenhead Bridge, Sonning Cutting, Box Tunnel, the Avon Viaduct at Bath and many more.

It tells the story of the great record-breaking locomotives built by Brunel’s young chief engineer Daniel Gooch and of the big steamships built at Bristol.

Finally, the book looks at the many historic Brunel features newly listed by English Heritage in order to protect them in advance of the electrification scheme – of which Brunel – once voted the second ‘greatest’ Briton of all time in a TV poll – would have certainly approved.

• Order post-free on-line, or available from limited W H Smith stores

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Railways and the Holocaust – The Trains that Shamed the World

132 Pages | IN STOCK - Robin Jones | £6.99

Buy onlineIt may seem totally illogical, at first glance, for Britain’s foremost publisher of Railway magazines to produce a publication which talks about railways being vehicles of ‘shame’, yet this superb new landmark bookazine by Heritage Railway editor Robin Jones revisits the Holocaust from the unique perspective of the railways, and helps you examine and challenge history from a new perspective.

Feature articles include:

• Without railways, the deaths of up to 11 million people in concentration and murder camps at the hands of Nazi Germany would never have been possible

• How the railway network was used to span the whole of Nazi occupied Europe, in which trains were packed with innocent men, women and children in the most inhumane conditions and arrived daily at the terminus

• Why did railwaymen go along with genocide? Were they really ‘simply obeying orders’?

• Why were the railway lines leading to camps such as Auschwitz not bombed by the Allies?

• An examination of the system by which trains to the death camps were organised on a Europe-wide basis.

• Order post-free on-line, or available from limited W H Smith stores

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Settle & Carlisle Revival

132 Pages | IN STOCK - Brian Sharpe | £6.99

Buy onlineThis comprehensive 132 page full colour, perfect bound ‘bookazine' has been written and edited by experienced writer, photographer and deputy editor of Heritage Railway magazine Brian Sharpe.

The 72 mile Settle & Carlisle railway, running across the roof of England, was threatened with closure in the 1960s and again in the 1980s. Since then, not only was the line reprieved from closure again after an eight year battle, but train services were expanded.

This book looks at the revival in the fortunes of the Settle & Carlisle and features include:

• Saving the line was not the end of the story – it was just the beginning

• How the timetabled services have increased in frequency, with many of the previously closed stations reopened and even heavy freight traffic returning in significant quantity

• The steam-hauled excursions over the line have gone from strength to strength.

• Order post-free on-line, or available from limited W H Smith stores

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The Best of The Railway Magazine