"Dunfermline & West Fife's Trams & Buses" by Walter Burt offers readers a trip back in time that brings back to life long lost and almost forgotten generations of public transport, while also bringing us up to date with an insight into modern bus operations in the area. The book is a companion to the same author's "Kirkcaldy & Central Fife's Trams & Buses", and offers a similar format. The first few pages are home to an introduction and a brief history, which between them set the story of trams and buses in the area in context. The rest of the book carries images of vehicles, two to a page, each accompanied by a paragraph of informative and well researched text.
The book is arranged chronologically. After a brief glimpse of a horse drawn carriage, we are into the era of the trams, which began operating in West Fife in 1906. In 12 pages of images we are taken back to a long gone Fife, and the images are often as informative about the way the area's settlements have changed - or not - as they are about the vehicles they are primarily intended to show. We were amazed to see an image of Cowdenbeath High Street, complete with double decker tram and horse drawn delivery carts, that (other than a change of vehicles) looks very like it did when we photographed it for our feature on the town much more recently.
After a brief glimpse of the men and women who operated the trams and early buses, we make the leap to the internal combustion engine, as the roads of Fife become used to the passage of buses: though not before one last glimpse of the tram in an amazing photo that shows a continuous line of them stretching off as far as the eye can see, waiting to be scrapped following their withdrawal from service on 4 July 1937. The bus images that follow begin in the era of black and white photography, before progressing through to full colour as the story comes more up to date. The most recent image is of a coach photographed in November 2012.
This is a book primarily of interest to lovers of old trams and buses: but as with its predecessor, the evolving backgrounds to the main subjects of the images mean that the book is also - almost incidentally - a fascinating record of the development of the area over the past century.