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BERGEN'S LOCAL SHIPPING SERVICES 1839 TO 1989 By MIKE BENT
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The Norwegian local steamer, for those whose livelihood depended on her, was far more than a mere conveyance. She became an institution, part of late 19th and early 20th century folklore, and an... More > integral element of everyday life. This book, first published in 1989, is the saga of how, over 150 years a remarkable transport system, perhaps without parallel anywhere else in the world in terms of extent and complexity, evolved in western Norway, from the days of the pioneer steamship owners to the era of car ferries and express-boats.< Less
A MINE CALLED WAGNER, A MAID CALLED MINERVA By MIKE BENT
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Autumn 1917: the Great War drags on inconclusively, inflation is rampant. Raymond Jessop, manager of the Dyffryn Cellwen steelworks, is seeking business partners with whom he can one day relocate to... More > a country where the costs of raw materials and production are lower: neutral Spain. Specifically the Bierzo, where the Basque economist Julio de Lazúrtegui has devoted decades to fomenting international interest in Coto Wagner, Europe's richest seam of iron ore. Pablo Gutiérrez, second officer of Dyffryn Cellwen's ore carrier 'Afon Dulais', torpedoed off the Gower coast, is Raymond's choice to track down the elusive Lazúrtegui and negotiate business terms. Pablo´s travels enmesh him in the underworld of unscrupulous German and British commercial and political interests, and introduce him to the delectable and mischievous Minerva, an Asturian farmer´s daughter, who helps him to find life and love beyond an arranged marriage which has ended up on the rocks.< Less
THE LONG COAST By MIKE BENT
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A family saga, a shipping company history, and the story of the career of a rather unique Norwegian coastal steamer, rolled into one, provide the background for 'The Long Coast'. The action, focusing... More > on the lives and loves of young Gilbert Hansen and his neighbours Rigmor and Ragnhild Isaachsen, whose parents run shipping agencies in Gijón in northern Spain, takes us from Asturias during the tumultuous years of the Republic and the first fifteen months of the Civil War, via post-Depression England and the Icelandic convoys crossing the submarine-infested North Atlantic, to the occupied Norway of the early 1940s.< Less
THE RAPE OF ARCADIA By MIKE BENT
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Mourning his Italian girlfriend, killed in a train accident caused by vandals, Desmond Whittaker starts life afresh after being sacked by the new American editor of the transport industry magazine... More > for which he worked for years, having written an outspoken and politically incorrect editorial. Taken on by Magda, the enthusiastic editor of a new journal of similar type published in central Europe, he moves from Italy to northern Spain, to establish industry contacts there with potential advertisers. His choice of the Asturian fishing port of Les Arenes reflects the fact that the man whom he once believed to be his father has just donated him an 'inheritance' - a tract of coastal land which is now keenly sought after by local property developers. As is the finca belonging to Des's new neighbour, the elusive violinist and architect Oihana Argüelles. When his half-siblings learn that he is sitting on half a million euros of real estate - and refusing to do anything about it - the fur starts to fly.< Less
CANTABRIAN SUMMER, BALTIC WINTER By MIKE BENT
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Holidaying in Cantabria, Tamara von Rosenberg befriends freelance website creator Martin Haynes. Their time together is cut short when Tamara learns that her widower father is dying following an... More > inexplicable car accident on a remote Polish country lane. While trying to solve the mystery of his death, Tamara perseveres with her late parents' ambition to turn a decaying mansion on the Baltic coast into a nursing home. She finds that some individuals will stop at nothing to wrest the property from her hands. Poland plunges into a bleak, bitter winter of political chaos amid growing opposition to the Government's pro-EU stance. Nationalistic feelings run high. Historic feuds are reawakened. With French, German, Polish and Armenian blood, and a surname betraying her Ostpreußen ancestry, Tamuna discovers that staying alive in remote Rybkowo is a formidable challenge. Especially when those who would see her suffer in order to further their own ends arrange for her house-guest Martin to be 'deported' . . .< Less
THE STATIONMISTRESS By MIKE BENT
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Romance, adventure, travel and skulduggery on the Cantabrican coast in northwest Spain in 1982/3. Railway enthusiasts and lovers of travel by rail will be particularly interested in this slightly... More > eccentric novel - written by a professional railway industry journalist, and historian of Spanish railways and industry. For more details of the storyline, read the back cover text!< Less
THE BERGEN TO KIRKENES HURTIGRUTE By MIKE BENT
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Each evening of the year a ship leaves Bergen on an 11-day voyage which will take her up the Norwegian coast far beyond the Arctic Circle and to within a stone's throw of the Russian border at the... More > iron ore mining town of Kirkenes. En route she will visit 35 different ports and cover a distance of close on 2,500 nautical miles. In summer she sails in almost continuous daylight; in midwinter much of the journey is realised in darkness or varying shades of twilight. The Hurtigrute (Coastal Express) still performs similar functions to those the Post Office's first mail steamers did 180 years ago, and offers the traveller from abroad a unique insight into everyday life on the Long Coast - an insight denied to coach tour participants and those who visit Norway on cruise liners.< Less
THE STATIONMISTRESS (APPENDICES) By MIKE BENT
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The companion volume to my novel 'The Stationmistress', containing FESUO timetables, route diagrams, maps, and other useful bits of information about the company. I was unable to upload it to lulu as... More > a single file together with the main text (no Broadband in this valley and 5.5 MB was too much for the system!), but in the end producing two separate volumes works out better - you can read the story and simultaneously have the maps, route diagrams and suchlike open at the appropriate page(s)!< Less
A HISTORY OF SPANISH RAILWAYS: VOLUME ONE - EUZKADI, NAVARRA AND EASTERN CANTABRIA By MIKE BENT
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A dense rural and urban population, rich farmland, abundant timber resources, and diverse and plentiful minerals were all factors that contrived to endow the four provinces of Bizkaia, Gipuzkoa,... More > Áraba and Navarra with numerous and varied rail-based transport systems. In this book we trace the history of these railways. Starting with the 1,674 mm gauge trunk line from Madrid to the French border - a phenomenal engineering feat completed in just eight years - and its branch from Miranda del Ebro to Bilbao, we subsequently examine the evolution of the great complementary web of metre gauge public railways, many of which are still with us. Separate chapters are devoted to the urban and interurban tramways, funiculars and public lifts of Donostia and Bilbao. Finally, we consider the plethora of industrial and mineral transport systems - railways, inclined planes, ropeways, endless chain railways - and even a monorail!< Less
THE STAVANGER TO BERGEN NATTRUTE By MIKE BENT
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For over three-quarters of a century, from 1892 until 1974, seven evenings a week, a steamer left Stavanger on the 99-mile voyage up the coast to Bergen, while her opposite number headed southwards... More > through the night from Bergen to Stavanger. Summer and winter, in fair weather and in foul, in wartime and in peace, the Nattrute hardly ever ceased to operate. Scarcely a local route, it was by no means long enough to be grouped among the trunk coastal services, such as the Bergen to Kirkenes Hurtigrute, or the Bergen to Oslo Kystrute. Nattrute steamers were for the most part purpose-built for the service, and offer a fine ilustration of how the design of such vessels evolved over the first half of the twentieth century.< Less