Readers can take a genuinely nostalgic trip back through time with Walter Burt in "Kirkcaldy & Central Fife's Trams & Buses". The book looks at the history of trams and buses in Kirkcaldy and central Fife as they emerge through old (and not so old) photographs. The period covered extends from the opening of the Kirkcaldy Corporation Tramway system in 1903 right up to the thoroughly modern buses you can see, and ride on, on the streets of Kirkcaldy and in the surrounding area today. The one exception to this is the first image in the book, which is a reproduction of a picture showing the departure of a fully laden stage coach in the town's High Street in 1824.
The author of this fascinating book, Walter Burt, is a bus driver based in Fife, and his passion for his subject comes over well. The broad historical canvas on which the book is set ensures that it will appeal to a wide audience. Yes, it is a must for bus and tram enthusiasts, and many of the shots in the latter two thirds of the book are of the single and double decker buses that have served in the area since trams were replaced in 1931, and many (in the latter stages of the book, most) of the images are in full colour. But many readers will find equally fascinating the older images (a few of which are tinted and printed in colour) of trams on the streets of the area.
It's a sobering reminder to modern readers that there was a time when trams were commonplace in many urban areas of Scotland, in an age when developing a tram network was a cheap and effective way of allowing people to travel to and from work, or to the shops. Kirkcaldy's trams appear to have suffered from none of the growing pains that have blighted the development of a modern tram network (though "line" might be a better word than "network") in Edinburgh, and leafing though the highly evocative images in this book leads inevitably to the reader asking themselves why modern engineers and administrators have made something so very simple so extraordinarily hard (and expensive).