PUBLICATION of the book "Railway People of Skipton" is tinged with sadness. It was written by brothers Tom and Malcolm Jarvis but Malcolm never lived to see it go on sale, dying on November 14, last year, his 70th birthday.

The brothers' book is an impressive piece of work and testament to their ambition to identify all the men and women who worked at Skipton engine shed in the time they were employed there.

Seventy-four-year-old Tom, who lives in Colne, is delighted to see the book eventually in print."But I'm sad as well," he said. "I signed a few copies and felt that Malcolm should have been there to sign them as well. His death has left a big hole in my life."

Tom has been collecting stories and information for some years and tells how when the engine shed at Skipton was closed and derelict, he made a visit and among the discarded rubbish, found one of his dad's wage slips for 1947.

"Dad showed it to my mother. The wage was something like three to four pounds. He said 'look, I told you I didn't earn a lot'. I had to laugh," recalls Tom.

The brothers tell us in the forward that they were the sons of main line driver, Ernest Jarvis, and recall how they and their other brother John, who also later worked briefly on the railway, would wander down to the shed to wait for him and sit in the crew room kicking their heals against the lockers.

The three lads - there were five sons - followed their dad into the job, John as a guard, Tom who rose to be a passed fireman, which meant he could also drive, and Malcolm working as a fireman in Skipton and later at Willesden in north London.

The A-Z at the back of the book numbers 900 staff and it even gives details of the Skipton LMS wages bill for the week ending February 14,1948, drivers earning on average of between £6 and £8 for working between 44 and 55 hours. Some men even notched up 60 hours-plus taking home over £10.

Jobs available at the sheds off Engine Shed Lane included drivers, firemen, cleaners, labourers, engine fitters, coalmen, steam raisers, boiler washers, store issuers, tube cleaners, ash fillers, callers up, fitters, boilersmiths and apprentices.

They refer to records that reveal the names of men and women who were working at Skipton as long ago as the 1860s, through to the early 20th century and on to the 1960s.

In the forward the brothers tell us that their encouragement to compile the book was that "we shouldn't allow these characters to fade away".

"There were some fascinating stories attached to many of the railway men and women who had all played such an important part in the life around Skipton from the very beginning of the steam era," they write.

The most dramatic, perhaps, was the collision between a goods train and and express train near Settle on January 21, 1960, when five people died and eight of the 75 passengers were injured.

The body of the book is crammed with features and photographs of individuals revealing how jobs on the railway were a family affair with fathers and sons working together.

It recalls Ernest's experiences during the severe winter of 1947 where British soldiers were detached to dig out snow drifts to free trapped trains and without proper cold weather clothing. Photographs of that same winter show German prisoners of war helping clear the Settle-Carlisle line.

Among the biographies of past workers is that of engine driver Jimmy Bewes whose railway enthusiast son Peter, who lives in Skipton, is a Network Rail adopter, a volunteer job which involves him keeping an eye on the station and reporting any issues that need dealing with which could impact on passengers.

Every time he visits Skipton station he is reminded of his dad, who worked on the railways for 47 years. On the upside platform there is a memorial bench dedicated to Jimmy's loyal service.

Included in the book is a photograph of Jimmy and three of his work colleagues outside the shunters' cabin which contained a picture hung to the wall with the words "Teach by being, Learn by doing."

The final chapter explores the life of the London Midland and Scottish sports club which was first set up above garages belonging to the Midland Hotel, now Herriots, which in its early days held archery competitions on the sports ground. Later it moved into the railway canteen, which had been built in 1941, undergoing renovation in 1961.

The book is available at £10 from Skipton library, at Embsay station on the Embsay and Bolton Abbey Steam Railway and the Worth Valley Railway at Haworth and the tourist information office at Boundary Mill. Tom is also selling it from home on 01282 867941.