What is it about trains (and other kinds of transport) that is so attractive to people? I struggle to see the appeal myself but I am fascinated by the voracious appetite in the publishing world for books on various forms of conveyance, with trains being an especially popular topic.

Three such new titles have just hit library shelves. My favourite would have to be Transit maps of the world. Yes, that’s right, a whole book about transit maps. Of course, most people would be familiar with the elegant design of the map for the London Underground but failing that, have you ever considered any other maps of this kind worthy of glossy colour photos and a potted history? Well someone has, and they’ve published it. In fact the book in question is actually a second revised and expanded edition. Extraordinary!

Train fanciers might also to be interested to know that Cade’s locomotive guide, the must-have publication for railway modellers is newly arrived and chocka-block with colour photos of trains (both real and model) as well as a mindboggling array of statistics and measurements, most of which I do not understand. I can’t for the life of me imagine what “tractive effort” is but I’m sure those in the know will find this information useful.

The illustrated encyclopaedia of extraordinary automobiles has a lot within its pages to hold the interest of car enthusiasts and non-enthusiasts alike. Grouped by decade the automobiles detailed run (or should that be drive) the gamut from the NASA lunar roving vehicle to Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, the Batmobile, James Bond’s Aston Martin DB5 and the “popemobile”. My favourites would have to be the sci-fi inspired concept cars of the fifties and sixties like the Ford Gyron. Very Jetsons.

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