29 MARCH 1940, Page 28

We do not venture to claim for this standard work

on British Railways that it is light reading, but eminent writers such as Father Ronald Knox have admitted finding it as fascinating in its way as a good detective story ; and it contains more useful and exact information to the square inch than anything else in print, not excluding the Encyclopaedia Britannica.

There is no excitement in literature comparable with the joy of spotting, in these pages, the ingenious turns and twists of a Sunday train escaping from, say, Cheesing Eyebright in the South of England in January to its bolt-hole at the Clachan of Aberfoyle in the Scottish Trossachs. Hundreds of such absorbing problems lurk here in an atmosphere of businesslike sobriety which conceals the wildest romantic possibilities. (The various very full indices, by the way, offer valid clues as well as tantalising red-herrings to the real-life sleuth.)

Not the least of the book's many abnormal qualities is an unrivalled collection of asterisks, daggers, double-daggers, and sections, which draw attention to the significance of points of interest the reader might otherwise easily overlook.