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Obituary: P.J.G. Ransom

Obituary: P.J.G. Ransom: Canal and railway historian, Waterways World contributor and author who wrote over 25 books on transport.

Born in 1935 and growing up in rural Northamptonshire, not far from Crick, P.J.G (John) Ransom never took to farm life. But he did develop a passion for railways and would regularly cycle 5 miles to the West Coast Main Line to watch the fast steam trains coming through. His interest in trains evolved into an interest in all things connected with steam power, and eventually with canals.

In 1969 he took his first boat to Ireland, on which he wrote his first book, Holiday Cruising in Ireland. Tinkering with steam boats, he came to observe that they enjoy unrivalled freedom compared to steam engines which must stick to short sections of track.

He was an Inland Waterways Association member for more than 60 years. For 20 years he also owned a succession of hire cruisers operated by Swan Line of Fradley, along with steam boats on the canals.

He wrote widely on canal and railway history. His books included Waterways Restored (1974), The Archaeology of Canals (1979), Scotland’s Inland Waterways (1999) and
Bell’s Comet: How a Paddle Steamer Changed the Course of History (2012), and he regularly contributed to Waterways World.

One of John's more recent books, Iron Road, was shortlisted for the Saltire Society Scottish History Book of the Year award. 

P.J.G. Ransom.


Tuesday 21 May  | Andrew Denny  | 4.04pm, Tuesday 21 May 2019

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