About Me

I live in Torbay,  a beautiful seaside holiday area in South Devon UK known to many as the English Riviera owing to its spectacular coastline and comparatively warm local climate. The area was developed  for mass tourism largely through the efforts of the Great Western Railway, whose famous engineer I.K. Brunel also acquired land in the bay, beginning construction of a grand home for his later years. Sadly ill health claimed his life  early and the building was never completed to his design, although a later house used the foundations and still carries his name. Today railways no longer dominate the remaining tourist trade, and more distant and exotic destinations have become accessible and affordable for many.  Nevertheless the bay retains a special atmosphere in the summer.

I have an employment background in control engineering and transport, having previously worked for British Rail, Railtrack and Network Rail as a signal engineer. I also worked for several UK-based consultancy practices on railway projects throughout the world, and have helped local heritage rail operations in Devon voluntarily. I currently carry out  freelance graphic design and video work and volunteer for a local charity, cool recovery .

I owe my interest in railways largely to my father Peter Townend, a lifelong railwayman,  steam locomotive engineer and depot manager. He later wrote of his experiences and his beloved engines in a series of books and magazine articles, and has been interviewed  for a number of TV documentaries and specialist video productions, thanks to his association with famous locomotives under his control at Top Shed including Flying Scotsman and Mallard. He has published a new book in 2014, available from Irwell Press:  LNER PACIFICS REMEMBERED .

I am interested in all forms of modern transport, and support their integration and ease of use for all.  As an engineer I’m drawn to all things technical and scientific, and I am strongly in favour of greater efficiency and accountability in humanity’s use of the worlds finite resource,  conserving the natural environment and reducing waste and pollution.

I follow a number of on-line rail related newsgroups, forums and blogs, namely:




In response to various articles and discussions, I have produced a number of maps, diagrams and other graphic material. I will document those of greatest interest to me in a series of blog posts to appear here in the future, but in the meantime here is a  link to an index listing of the files, the subjects of which should be fairly evident from the file names.


Those wishing to contact me for any reason please use email:


Peace and good will to all! – Mark