“IT MUST BE A RECORD INDEED TO HAVE TWO LOCOMOTIVES IN REGULAR SERVICE, AND BOTH A HUNDRED YEARS OLD”
AWDRY, Wilbert. Very Old Engines. Leicester, England: Edmund Ward, (1965). Oblong 12mo, original blue paper boards, original dust jacket. $850.
First edition of the 20th book in the Railway Series, with 27 vibrant color illustrations and two double-page tinted pictorial flyleaf spreads.
In this 20th book in the series, the Railway celebrates the hundredth birthdays of Skarloey and Rheneas, its two oldest engines, with reminiscing, passengers in period costume, television cameras, and a visit from a Duke. As a young boy growing up in Hampshire, Wilbert Awdry developed a fascination with railways as a result of his father's enthusiasm for them. When Awdry's family moved to Box in Wiltshire, Awdry would lie in bed at night listening to the trains on the main line of the Great Western Railway, located just yards from his house. He later wrote, "It needed little imagination to hear, in the sounds the train engine and banking engine made, what they were saying to each other… From that time there developed in my mind the idea that all steam engines had personality and could express it." When his son came down with the measles, Awdry began writing the first railways stories, which began a beloved series that ran for 28 years. "Not only does Awdry's splendid Railway series seem not to have suffered a jot from the passing of the age of steam, but it seems to have blossomed into a truly permanent landmark in 20th-century children's books" (Connolly, 29).
Book about-fine, dust jacket with faintest dampstaining and only light rubbing to extremities. A near-fine copy.