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Cecil J. Allen, the well-known railway author was the Consulting Editor of Railway Wonders of the World. This page gives some further information on his life and career.

Cecil J. Allen (Consulting Editor)

Cecil J. Allen (1886-1973)


Cecil J. Allen qualified as a civil engineer and joined the Engineers’ Department of the Great Eastern Railway in 1903, thus beginning a lifetime’s association with the railways. An authority on steel rails, he inspected new rails for quality. He was later appointed the Technical Assistant (Materials) to the Permanent Way Engineer (Southern Area) of the LNER after the 1923 Grouping.


His first contribution to The Railway Magazine appeared in 1906, which was followed by others. Over the years He wrote numerous articles and books on locomotives, railway company histories, as well as an autobiography Two Million Miles of Train Travel, which appeared in 1965.

From 1908 his official duties entailed a considerable amount of travelling. This allowed him to develop his interest in locomotives and train timing. Mr Charles Rous-Marten began the series “British Locomotive Practice and Performance” in The Railway Magazine in 1901. Following his death in 1908 the articles continued for a year by Mr R. E. Charlewood and, during the subsequent eighteen months, were contributed in turn by the Rev. W. J. Scott, Mr J. F. Gairns, and Mr Cecil J. Allen, whose first article in the series was published in August 1909. Mr Allen became solely responsible for the series from January 1911. He continued to write the articles down to December 1958, nearly fifty years later, during which time he had penned 535 articles in the series.


He went on to write for Trains Illustrated (now called Modern Railways), which at the time was edited by his son, Geoffrey Freeman Allen.


Clarence Winchester appointed Allen as Consulting Editor. He appears to have been commissioned to write a number of more specialist articles, all of which appeared anonymously within the pages of Railway Wonders of the World. It is only through the Editorials that his authorship of these articles can be established with any certainty, and these are the ones so identified on the page listing Articles by Cecil J. Allen.