According to GB Shaw, 'those who can, do, those who can't teach', a remark that was not intended to be taken seriously but which for the last 30 years has been used by corrupt politicians to beat the teaching profession. This Les Summers knows, having been a teacher for more than 30 years and a 'doer' long before becoming a teacher, having been writing for magazines since 1972.

The following are a selection of his recent magazine articles -
G.J.Churchward & his contemporaries - 1992
Early Footplate Days on the Great Western - 1993 
The Great Western at Didcot - 1995 
Were the Standard Steam Classes Really Necessary? - 1995* 
British Built locomotives in Western Australia - 1998
Modernisation on the WR - 1998 (with the late A.W.Summers) 
A Case of too much History - 1999 (highly regarded guest-editorial in Backtrack)
Fact, Speculation & Fiction in the case of Mr Hawksworth's pacific - 2000
The GWR's Bonniest Engines (about the MSWJ 4-4-0s) 2000
The Great North of Scotland Railway in the 1960s - 2001
Australia for Steam - Good Planning Pays Off - Locomotives International 2002
Malayan Steam Around Singapore - Locomotives International 2003
The Midnight Horror - Locomotives International 2003
The Priest, the Snow and the Kriegsloks - Locomotives International 2004
A 1920s Journey of a Lifetime (about the GWR WofE services) - 2002
How the GWR Threw Away the Churchward Legacy - 2003
Weird & Wonderful Creatures & Their Fabulous Offspring - 2004
(ground breaking article about the GWR 4-2-4T of 1881) 
Was the Riddles Team Too Conservative? (Steam World) 2005
But Can You Prove It..? 2005 (challenges railway historians to write articles that are based on referenced primary sources)
The View from Paddock Wood - 2005
One Thing Leads to Another - 2006 (networking engineers)
A Return to Spanish Steam - Locomotives International 2006 
At the End of the Day - 2007 (end of WR steam)
The GWR Steam Rail Motors - Transport for the masses
The facts in the case of Jane Shannon (Wantage Tramway)
The B Class 4-4-0 in the History of the ‘Other’ Midland Railway - Locomotives International - 2007 
Steam Diesel & Electric - Towards the Ultimate Answer - Back Track 2008 
The Boy by the Bike Shed - Great Western Echo 2009 (biographical)
Saint and Super Saint - Great Western Echo - 2009
Mr Watson’s Not So Bright Stars and other Irish 4-6-0s - Back Track 2009 
Electrification and the Jazz - Back Track 2010
Swindon’s Acquaintance with Rotary Cam Valve Gears - Back Track 2012/3
Engineers doodling on their drawing boards - Backtrack 

In the Days of Daniel Gooch - Backtrack 2015

Now we will have the naming of Engines - Back Track 2017  (Addendum 1/18)

* This article has been used as a standard text for students taking courses from the Institute of Railway Studies, University of York. 

Copies of these articles for research purposes only are available, use the Contact link for details. 

Les Summers is willing to consider commissions for written work on agreed subjects; he will also undertake remunerated research for authors. Please use the the Contact link for an early response.

Steam Photographs

Les Summers does not claim to be a great railway photo-artist but he has built up a library of photographs of railways taken in the UK and abroad between 1963 and the present, both in the UK and abroad, particularly in Germany, Italy, France, Spain, Portugal, Poland, Australia, Malaya, China and South Africa. He also has some archive photographs. Use the Contact link for details.