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Rail Tales: Emily’s Big Train Ride


This beautifully illustrated hardcover book tells the story of NSW railways for children aged 6-10, as seen through the eyes of Emily, an inquisitive 8-year old with a vivid imagination. In conversation with her Grandpa, Emily explores many aspects of rail heritage.

Emily and her toy rabbit travel back in time and she gets to ask the questions an 8-year old might ask. We see her driving a steam train, sitting in an 1850s third class carriage, talking to engine drivers, firemen and signalmen, and helping Alice the elephant unload the circus train. She finds out how bridges and tunnels were built, what navvies and fettlers did, and where trains were built, maintained and repaired. She visits country towns and finds out how they relied on the railways to transport produce, mail, animals, the circus and baby clinics. She even meets the queen in the Governor General?s carriage. Finally we return to the present day and Grandpa explains why maintaining rail heritage is so important.

Rail Tales is cowritten by Powerhouse Museum staff Margaret Simpson (Curator, Science and Industry) and Helen Whitty (Manager, Family and Community Experiences). Margaret has written extensively on rail heritage, including her publication On the Move: A History of Transport in Australia (Powerhouse Publishing 2004) and Helen has written a number of books for children based on the Museum’s collection.

A combination of illustration and historic photos from the State Rail archives, this book is a history lesson disguised as a charming series of stories for adults and children to share.

Rail Tales: Emily’s Big Train Ride is part of an education program jointly developed by the Powerhouse Museum, the Office of Rail Heritage and Trainworks.

Additional information

Weight 0.4 kg
Dimensions 26.5 x 21 x 1.3 cm
SKU: MAAS-PUB-0270 Category:


Margaret Simpson and Helen Whitty. Illustrated by Wil Loeng



Date Of Publication

August 2013


NewSouth Books


Powerhouse Publishing

Book Format


Number Of Pages



approx 80 colour and black & white images, illustrated throughout


265 x 210 mm