The permanent way is a principal feature of all railways, but is little explored. Jim Pike's illustrated history fills this gap in railway literature. He investigates the origins and evolution of track from the earliest wooden rails to the welded steel used today. He looks at engineering developments, at methods of manufacture, and at successful innovations over the last 200 years. This account is full of fascinating insights into this important but neglected topic. It is written in an engaging, non-technical style, and will be illuminating reading and reference for anyone who loves railways and is intrigued by their history. Jim Pike is a railway enthusiast and researcher who is a volunteer worker on the Embsay & Bolton Abbey Steam Railway, and at the National Railway Museum at York. A retired civil servant and a history graduate, he has a meticulous approach to the minutiae of railway history and an infectious enthusiasm for the subject which comes across in his writing. His remarkable and highly praised book Locomotive Names published in paperback by The History Press (2009). He lives in Leeds.