Miniature Railway World Library - 15 inch Gauge + Miniature Railway Books

Listed on these pages is the complete collection of books on 15 inch gauge plus miniature railways - including book description and details on how to order where available.

- Books - Guide Books - Magazines - Media -

- General Titles - Builders - Guides & ABC Series - Photo Books - 7 ¼ - 9 ½ inch - 10 ¼ - 12 ¼ inch - 15 inch + -


SIR ARTHUR HEYWOOD AND THE FIFTEEN INCH GAUGE RAILWAY, by Mark Smithers. Published by Plateway Press. ISBN 1871980224. 192pp, 215 x 284mm.

A large format volume devoted to the work of Sir Arthur Heywood, pioneer of the 'minimum gauge' 15in gauge railway.

In order to prove and demonstrate his ideas, Heywood built a spectacular private railway cut into the hillside on his Derbyshire estate at Duffield Bank. The Duke of Westminster then commissioned him to build a 15in gauge railway to connect his estate at Eaton Hall with the main line.

Author Mark Smithers is fascinated by the design of Heywood locomotives, and includes very detailed drawings. Unfortunately his theories on design rather eclipse the human interest side of this story, in my opinion. Even so the quality of production of this book and the great number of large format photographs compensate a lot for the shortcomings of the text.


MINIATURE RAILWAYS Volume 1 - 15in Gauge, by Howard Clayton, Robin Butterell and Michel Jacot. Oakwood Press, 1970.

This book was the first attempt at a thorough history of the 15in gauge in this country. On the whole it has stood the test of time even if in places (especially the ambitious tables of Little Giant and Barnes locomotives) a few errors crept in. Includes a reasonable selection of groups of photographs.

The final chapter 'New Lamps for Old' is an inspirational piece of writing and if I can get permission from Robin I will publish this on the Internet soon.

Volume 2, dealing with smaller gauges, has still not yet been written!


FIFTEEN INCH GAUGE RAILWAYS - THEIR HISTORY, EQUIPMENT AND OPERATION,by David Mosley and Peter van Zeller. David & Charles, 1986.

A great book, really three books in one, building upon 'Miniature Railways Volume 1' with the benefit of further research and better production and layout. David Mosley is an Education Officer at the National Railway Museum and Peter van Zeller a full time driver at the Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway (a fellow Greenly engine driver!).

The only disappointment with this title was the way in which the history chapters had to swing along in order to fit the space. Peter said at the time that they really had enough material for two books. Perhaps one day this book can be rewritten in an updated and expanded form.




An exemplary title this one, in my opinion. It took one subject and really dealt with it well. A very readable story about the ups and downs of this line which particularly flourished during the 1950s. Also includes a chapter on Commander Parkinson's railway at Great Yarmouth during the 1930s.

Although it closed in 1962 the Sutton Miniature Railway is still remembered with affection locally. This title, well produced with a modest cover price, achieved good local sales and was completely sold out only two years after publication - a just reward for its author.

All the equipment from this railway went into store when it closed, but most of it now has re-emerged on the  Cleethorpes Coast Light Railway, where a reprinted edition of this book, with an update included, can now be purchased.

THE LITTLE GIANT STORY, by Robin Butterell & John Milner. Published by RailRomances. ISBN 1900622076. 216pp, 215 x 272mm.

Published in a limited edition of 600 copies, this lavish hardback book has been a labour of love for both of its authors. For Robin Butterell 'Little Giants' have been a source of fascination for more than fifty years. John Milner was brought up with Bassett Lowke model railways, and has applied to this title his exacting standards of railway publishing, together with a whole raft of previously unseen photographs and drawings.

'Little Giants' have a complicated story, especially when one includes all of the railways upon which they have ever operated, and other locomotives such as Barnes Atlantics, which are classed as 'near relations'. Even in 216 pages not every detail of every railway could be included. But there is no doubt that in dealing with the 15in gauge enterprises of the Bassett Lowke era this book will never be surpassed.


RAILS THROUGH THE SAND By W J Milner, published by RailRomances, PO Box 85, Chester CH4 9ZH. ISBN 1900622009. 272pp, 220 x 280mm.

Weighty volume mainly devoted to the history of the Fairbourne railway. This line in North Wales originated as a horse tramway, but was re-laid to 15in gauge by Bassett Lowke in . In 1947 the remains were purchased by a Midlands industrialist named John Wilkins, and under his guidance it flourished throughout the 1950s and 60s. In 1980 it was sold to John Ellerton, who regauged it to 12¼in in 1986.

This is a colourful story, much of it recalled in the words of those who were there. At the end is a section of drawings, all to impeccably high standards.


Published by the author, ISBN: 1 902368 06 1. Published: May 1998

Includes other Railways and Transport Systems at Alton Towers, together with the Railways at Lilleshall Hall and Trentham Gardens.



Published by the author, ISBN: 1 902368 09 6. Published: February 2001

A detailed history of Billy Butlin's Amusement Park and Holiday Camp Miniature Railways, including other associated Railways and Transport Systems.




Published by the author, ISBN: 1 902368 15 0. Published: November 2002

A detailed history of the 2ft gauge railway and park created by Charles Wicksteed in the Northamptonshire town of Kettering.



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