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Phil Girdlestone was one of Camden’s earliest customers, so we are delighted to bring his engineering autobiography to print, albeit sadly posthumously.

Phil started his steam career on the Ffestiniog Railway, where he was to remain for 16 years, during what was a critical time in that railway’s development.. Whilst there he became influenced by the work of David Wardale and Dante Porta on modernising steam power, and applied their principles firstly to the Alco 2-6-2 ‘Mountaineer’, and secondly, and more controversially to the ex Penrhyn Quarry 2-4-0 ‘Linda’ which he rebuilt for coal firing with a Gas Producer system and Lempor exhaust.

In 1985 he joined a team working on an EEC sponsored rehabilitation of steam locomotives for the Sudan Government Railway and subsequently he became CME to a team trying to keep the South African 2 foot gauge Alfred County Railway going. Phil moved to South Africa, where he stayed for the rest of his life, and whilst the ACR project was to ultimately fail, he completely rebuilt and modernised two of the line’ s NGG16 class Garratts to considerable effect. Further work was to involve broad gauge steam in Australia and Russia and narrow gauge steam in Argentina.

Forty five of this books 136 pages concentrate on events and work on the Ffestiniog, with a similar number on Phil’s time with the ACR.

No punches are pulled in this technical, but also high readable and entertaining account of a life with steam, which is illustrated throughout with many of the author’s , and others, colour photographs from Wales, the Sudan, South Africa, Australia, Russia, China and Argentina, plus numerous technical drawings, charts and diagrams. 136 pages. Hardbound.

"A very good story well told. I found it compliments the previous book by Phil 'Camels and Cadillacs' (now out of print) and David Wardale's 'The Red Devil and other tales from the age of steam'."    Mr. P.R.  Australia

See also these books for more on advanced steam: