Solo Publications was formed in 1998, when Matthew Beddall and Ken Elks combined to produce a small booklet written by Matthew on the subject of the East Kent Light Railway, a privately owned minor railway. Both had formerly been members of the East Kent Light Railway Preservation Society, set up to take over the line in the event of it being closed by British Rail (which it did in 1987).
Encouraged by the success of this booklet, the pair collaborated on "Invicta to Eurostar", a brief history of mainline railways in Kent also published in 1998, which was based on a series of leaflets originally written by Ken for handing out to visitors to the East Kent Railway Museum. The next booklet followed in 2000, another solo effort by Matthew, this time about the Kent and East Sussex Railway, which, like the East Kent Light Railway, had been engineered and operated by Colonel H.F. Stephens from an office in Tonbridge, Kent.
During the next two years, while Matthew was away at university, Ken worked on two other books, one on the tickets used by the East Kent Light Railway, which resulted from research that he had carried out over a period of twenty years and another a reference guide to the opening and closing dates of stations built by the South Eastern, the London, Chatham & Dover and the South Eastern & Chatham railways, together with details the various changes of name right into the British Rail era. It was obvious that both of these specialist subjects would only have a limited market that would normally preclude any kind of publication. Accordingly, a decision was made to change to an A4 format and using laminated covers with wire binding. This enabled small quantities to be produced and so avoid a heavy capital outlay. As these initial stocks sold a further batch could be printed where necessary. Apart from anything else, this approach avoided the neccessity to store large quantities of books as had happened with the first three books.
Both these books were well-received, as a result of which other railway enthusiasts and authors approached Solo Publications about the possibility of getting their own research work published. These culminated in a series of other titles all on the subject of railway tickets from well-regarded experts such as David Geldard, whose work on pre-grouping Great Western tickets was followed by a two-part treatise on the tickets of the SER, LCDR and SECR and another on those of the Midland Railway. David's intention is to gradually write and publish books about results of his research into the tickets of all the pre-grouping railways. Two other acknowledged authorities have added their contributions, Brian Pask on the tickets of the Great Western and Great Central Joint Railway and recently, Godfrey Croughton on Irish platform tickets, a completely revised edition of a book first published by the Transport Ticket Society in 1993. Meanwhile, Ken Elks published a catalogue on platform tickets issued by the Eastern Section of the Southern Railway.