I've no doubt this book is on many peoples bookshelf as it is a classic. Rightly so and one of my favourites. It was given to me by a close friend of the family. The book is the tale of Peter Smiths time as a fireman on the S&D, interspersed with some great photo's from Ivo Peters. It is a highly entertaining read with various tales of runs over the S&D. A lot of details of what it was like to fire the loco's of the time, their foibles and strengths all told in an entertaining read. From stories of perseverence of running through Devonshire tunnel with a West Country Pacific which started to slip so they were on the floor boards with damp cloths over their mouths to avoid the heat and smoke. To many hilarious tales - the heavy coal usage of the unrebuilt pacific's catching out a Western Region pilot driver on the Pines Express, apparently 30 miles from Bournemouth "the fireman stepped out of the tender and ceremoniously put a shovelful of coal on the fire. "That's it then" he said "I've just swept out the tender". This bit of news caused quite a stir on the footplate". Crossing keepers looked after by crews, under cover of darkness who would kick out a few large lumps of coal for them while passing, until one time a fireman timed it wrong and "crossing keeper lost the back door of his house, a huge lump of coal wrenching it off it's hinges". Tales of unrebuilt pacific's catching fire - the inside valve chains would flick up oil into the cladding which would then catch fire. One fireman on the up "Pines" noticed smoke and fumes coming out of the casing on his side, after a while he decided that it had caught fire so he called over the driver to have a look. The drivers comment was "That's nothing you ought to see it on my side" at which point the fireman had a look out the drivers side to see flames pouring out of the casing. There's more to the story but I won't spoil the book. If you like this book there is also the follow up book "Footplate over the Mendips".