Kents Bank Station Library Newsletter 2

Kents Bank Station Library, Kentsford Road, Kents Bank, Grange-over-Sands LA11 7BB

No. 2    December 2023  

A rare snowy scene at Kents Bank, December 2023. Sorry about the apostrophe!

Welcome to our second newsletter, just in time for Christmas. We hope you enjoy it. There have been several very positive developments, most importantly our

Entering into the Christmas Spirit – tree and branch line railway in library yard…

successful auction bid for an original ‘Kents Bank’ station sign – see below. We had a very well attended Christmas Fair on December 9th,a ttended by over seventy visitors who enjoyed the soup, mulled wine and mince pies – as well as general conviviality. The Library and Reading Room in 2024, either at one of our monthly open days, railway talks or by arrangement. Have a great Christmas and a happy and peaceful New Year.  For a bit of seasonal escapism, this locally-based ghost story ‘The Station Clock’ might entertain you…

We made it! Successful bid for rare station sign

In the hey-day of British Railways, the classic sausage-shaped station ‘totem’ signs were common, featuring at every station across the network. They appeared in regional BR liveries – maroon for London Midland, green for Southern, etc. The BR went for a new ‘corporate image’. Regional liveries

Some of the audience for Michael Davies’s talk display the newly-acquired sign. John Barnes (Glenfinnan Station Museum) is holding the sign

were out and everywhere got the standard signage (like the one that is on the Kentsford Road side of our station). The old totem signs were thrown out – many just scrapped, some sold for next to nothing to collectors. Over the years they became collectors’ items, going for thousands of pounds.

We were alerted to a ‘Kents Bank’ sign coming up for auction at Talisman Railwayana Auctions, near Newark, and we sought expressions of interest in putting in a bid. The general feeling was ‘let’s go for it’ – so we did. We got nearly 30 promises to support bid, ranging for £50 to a few hundred. People were amazingly generous. The guide price was £1500, which didn’t include VAT or buyer’s premium. The auction took place on November 30th and he bidding was quite competitive. In the end we won, with a total bill of £1770.00.On top of that, we had to get the sign up to Kents Bank and have it installed. We got a very good price from Mailboxes to deliver the sign, for just £50. It arrived, very securely packed, on Monday.

The really remarkable news is that we have received more than the cost of the sign – a total of £2125.00. That leaves us a healthy surplus of £305.00, though we have not yet got the sign fitted, which may incur costs. Donors have kindly agreed that any surplus could go into the (almost established) library account.

The sign will be erected in a prominent, but safe and protected, location on Station House. We are delighted to announce that Sir Peter Hendy, chair of Network Rail, has kindly agreed to unveil the sign. All our donors will be invited to the event in mid-January.

The Library

Kents Bank Station is unique in having a library, dedicated to railways and transport generally, which is open to the general public. To make use of it you don’t need to be a subscriber (though we welcome subscribers – see below) and is free to use. The stock is based on the collection of Prof. Paul Salveson, founder of the ‘Community Rail’ movement, but is gradually expanding thanks to generous donations from well-wishers.

The emphasis of the collection, comprising several thousand titles, is on the social history of railways –

Our open day – cakes all round in The Reading Room

including rural and ‘community’ railways. However, it covers all aspects of railways and transport, in the UK and abroad. It includes a growing number of children’s railway books. Over the next few months we will be getting the collection into good order and beginning the lengthy process of cataloguing the collection. Volunteers very welcome!

The library is primarily for reference – it has material which is scarce and often only available in specialist collections such as the National Railway Museum in York. However, it is developing a  lending section, which people can use ‘in person’, free of charge. There’s a  growing number of books for sale.  Visitors are welcome to use the cosy Reading Room complete with a traditional stove – and help themselves to tea and coffee.

New additions

Over the last few weeks we have received over three hundred donations – an amazing achievement! These vary from two or three titles to boxloads of books, magazines and DVDs.

This remarkable Furness Railway ‘engine following’ sign was donated by Tony Parker. On the back it reads ‘Ulverston 1’. We think it was used to indicate to signalmen that a banking engine was following the goods train, from which the sign would be displayed (at the back of the guard’s brake van).

They are nearly all in excellent condition and make a major contribution to the Library. We have three categories of donations: books we don’t have, that enhance the collection, b) books we may already have but can go

A selection of recent acquisitions!

into the ‘lending section’ and c) books (or magazines, films) which either triplicate the collection or which we don’t need for whatever reason. In these cases, we will sell the items, with all funds going back into the library. Recent donations have included several mint copies of LMS Journal and several branch line histories. A huge thanks to everyone who has donated: keep them coming!

A few things we are looking for:

  • The standard BR Manual For Steam Locomotive Enginemen.
  • Railway Magazine: bound volumes for 1913 and 1931, July to December in each case. Also bound volumes after 1982
  • Bound volumes of union journals, especially Railway Review (NUR) but we have gaps in Aslef and TSSA (RCCA) journals
  • Bound volumes of railway staff magazines
  • Community rail partnership publications
  • Branch line histories

Talks and film shows: Scotsman in The States

The Reading Room can accommodate (at a pinch) around fifteen people and we are keen to develop a programme of specialist talks on aspects of railways – mostly historical, but doesn’t have to be. Our first

Michael Davies points out a feature of the Fintona Horse Tram

two talks were by Michael Davies of Allithwaite who has spent a lifetime visiting Ireland’s railways, from being a young lad after the War. His talk ‘On Tracks Broad and Narrow’ covered his experiences in rural Ireland from the early 1950s and was absolutely fascinating.

Our next talk will be on Wednesday January 10th, starting at 7.30pm. Richard Hinchcliffe will give a talk on his new book Flying Scotsman in the United States. Richard’s talk is about his family’s intense adventure with ‘Flying Scotsman’ in America and draws on his recent book: Flying Scotsman in America: the 1970 Tour. Richard travelled with his mother and father down the eastern seaboard and up the mid-west meeting a great range of characters, landscapes, mishaps and joyous experience.

Cover of Richard’s book: available in local bookshop, Daisty Roots, Grange-over-Sands

Richly illustrated by his co-author’ Bill Wagner’s brilliant photographs Richard takes us from the 1950s to the full restoration of Flying Scotsman by the National Railway Museum in 60 galloping minutes. Richard’s book is available locally at Daisy Roots Books in Grange.

There is also a film on YouTube about 4472’s travels:

Admission to Richard’s talk is free but donations are welcome. It’s essential that you book in advance as space is limited.

Monthly Open days: Second Saturdays (with extras…)

We will be open on the second Saturday of each month, 11.00 to 16.00. However, In January we will be open two successive Saturdays: January 6th and 13th. After that, the next open day is February 10th.

There will be tea, coffee and biscuits available. The Beach Hut Gallery, next door, will also be open. There will be a sale of books and opportunity to borrow from our expanding Lending Library.

Using the Library

If you have a special interest, or want to consult a particular book or magazine, contact the library to arrange an appointment. The email address is or ring 07795 008691. The website is The library welcomes donated books and other printed material that is relevant to transport. The collection of over 3,000 titles covers all aspects of railways and transport but with an emphasis on social history. Sections include:

  • Social history of railways (Britain and Ireland but also international)
  • Technical documents, maps and plans
  • Trade union histories
  • Railways and tourism
  • Railway company histories
  • Biographies and reminiscences
  • Children’s books
  • Light railways and narrow-gauge
  • Branch line histories
  • Stations and their communities
  • Railway architecture
  • Civil and mechanical engineering
  • Signalling and operating the railway
  • Wartime and safety
  • Maps and plans
  • International railways
  • Regional histories
  • Buses and trams, cycling
  • Canals and waterways

There is an almost full set of Railway Magazine dating back to 1897. The library also has several bound volumes of railway union journals going back to the 1890s. There is a good geographical spread of

One of our visitors mooches through the collection

branch line histories and some specialist books on the working and maintenance of railways and locomotives which were not produced for the general public. There are some timetables dating back to the 1920s. There is a wide selection of books on trams and narrow-gauge railways, as well as canal, cycling, bus and trolleybus material. The library welcomes donations on these and other aspects of transport.

Who’s who….

The Kents Bank Station Library will, in the short term, be run by a not-for-profit association (‘Kents Bank Station Library Association’). We are looking at options for charitable status, or becoming a community interest company (CIC). The library is managed by four individuals each with their own extensive skills and experience. They are:

  • Paul Salveson is co-owner of Station House. His railway/transport book collection forms the core of the Library collection. Paul worked for most of his life on the railways, from guard and signalman to senior manager. He was the Founder of the Community Rail movement and is also a published writer and historian. He was awarded an MBE ‘for services to the railway industry’ in 2008.
  • Linda Nuttall is co-owner of Station House and had a long career in textile engineering, helping run Bolton-based family business Hargreaves Hamilton. She is active in the voluntary sector, including Riding for the Disabled and also volunteers one day a week for Bolton Citizen’s Advice Bureau.
  • John Kitchen spent most of his professional life as a librarian, working in large industrial concerns such as ICI. He made a late career move to become Community Rail Officer, initially for the Mid-Cheshire Line and then Community Rail Cumbria. He is a life-long railway enthusiast and involved with The Bahamas Locomotive Society.
  • Mark Barker has had a life-long career on the railways, working in various senior management roles, including Stakeholder Manager for Northern. He is involved in his local church in Sandbach and co-ordinates the Best Kept Cheshire Stations contest, a major annual event involving stations and their communities across Cheshire.

Supporting the Station Library

The library is run on a totally voluntary basis but we need some funds to develop. Very soon we will be launching a ‘subscription’ offer which will be a way in which supporters – individual and corporate – can help us. We should stress that there is no intention to introduce charges for use of the library.

‘Subscribers’ will be invited to events, receive the newsletter and possibly get other benefits as we grow. However, it’s basically a way of helping the library cover its costs (website, heat and light, etc.). It would be nice to have a purchasing budget to cover some subscriptions to relevant bodies. We are not there yet!

There are a few things we need to enhance what the library can offer, including a printer/scanner, magazine and leaflet racks, framed railway prints and other railway ephemera – including a shunting pole and a brake stick!

As we keep stressing, you can help the library by donating unwanted books – anything transport-related, in the broadest possible sense, is welcome. All monies raised will go into supporting the library. We will have our bank account established (‘Kents Bank Station Library’) very shortly. Details of bank account (for BACS transfers) willbe posted on our website.

And finally…

This might be of interest if you’ve not seen it already – a railway-based Christmas  ghost story set around Grange, Kents Bank and Cark…

The Station Clock







One response to “Kents Bank Station Library Newsletter 2”

  1. Nina Smith avatar
    Nina Smith

    Hello Paul, and Season’s Greetings. Graham Collett has forwarded this to me. Very interesting – I can’t keep up with all your endeavours!t It was unfortunate that Northern and NkR combined to stop us having time to chat at the the RfY meetin
    Although my railway books collection is by now severely denuded (I have given most to the Vintage Carriages Museum at Ingrow), I still have many books and magazines on different forms of road transport – buses, commercials and cars – so when I get around to a thin out of these I will consider the Kent’s bank Library. Obviously, it will require a car trip, which I shall do when i fancy, and am able to have, a few days in Cumbri

    , I shall also consider becoming a subscriber.

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