Cecil J. Allen

Cecil J. Allen (1886– 5 February 1973[1]) was a British railway engineer and technical journalist and writer.

Cecil J Allen
Died5 February 1973
OccupationRailway engineer
EmployerGreat Eastern Railway;
London and North Eastern Railway


Qualified as a civil engineer, Allen worked for the Great Eastern Railway and later the London & North Eastern Railway, becoming an authority on steel rails. He inspected new rails for quality.

He also was the second contributor to the long-running British locomotive practice and performance article series in The Railway Magazine from 1909 to 1958,[2] and then went on to write for Trains Illustrated (now Modern Railways), which at the time was edited by his son, Geoffrey Freeman Allen.

He was a committed Christian and an accomplished organist, writing a chorus "The Lord has need of me". He was offered a place on the train when Mallard broke the world speed record in 1938, but declined the offer as the run was scheduled for a Sunday morning and clashed with his regular church (Christian Brethren) attendance.


He wrote numerous books on locomotives, and railway company histories, as well as an autobiography "Two Million Miles of Train Travel":[2]

  • The locomotive exchanges. Ian Allan. 1949.
  • Locomotive practice and performance in the twentieth century (2nd revised impression ed.). Heffer, Cambridge. 1950.
  • The Stanier Pacific of the L.M.S.. London. Ian Allan. 1950.
  • The Gresley Pacifics of the LNER. Ian Allan. 1950.
  • The Bulleid Pacifics of the Southern Region. Ian Allan. 1951.
  • British Pacific locomotives. Ian Allan. 1962.
  • British Atlantic locomotives. Ian Allan. 1968.
    • ; revised & enlarged by G. Freeman Allen (1976). British Atlantic locomotives (2nd ed.). Ian Allan.
  • Cecil J. Allen; et al. (1972). The Deltics : a symposium. Ian Allan. ISBN 0-7110-0322-X.[3]
Railway company histories
  • The Great Eastern Railway. Ian Allan. 1955.
  • The North Eastern Railway. Ian Allan. 1964.
  • The London & North Eastern Railway. Ian Allan. 1966.
General railways
  • The Iron Road: The Wonders of Railway Progress. John F. Shaw & Co. Ltd. 1925.
  • "The Coronation" and other famous L.N.E.R.trains. Nicholson & Watson. 1937.
  • Titled trains of Great Britain. Ian Allan. 1946.
  • Switzerland's Amazing Railways (4th revised ed.). Thomas Nelson & Sons, London. 1965.
  • The Steel Highway. Longmans, Green & Co, London. 1928.
  • Modern railways: their engineering, equipment and operation. Faber. 1959.
  • Two million miles of rail travel: the autobiography of Cecil J. Allen. Ian Allan. 1965.
  • Salute to the Great Western. Shepperton: Ian Allan. 1970. ISBN 0-7110-0181-2.
  • Hymns and the Christian faith. London, Pickering & Inglis. 1966.[4]

See also


  1. Obituary in the Times, 7 February 1973
  2. "Cecil J. Allen". www.steamindex.com.
  3. "The Deltics: a symposium by Cecil J. Allen and others". catalogue.nla.gov.au. National Library of Australia.
  4. "Hymns and the Christian faith 1 edition, By Cecil John Allen". www.openlibrary.org.

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