Contents Listing - Articles & Features in this issue
THE ILL-FATED "LEADER" - W. A. Tuplin
GE TRAIN SERVICES OF 1905 - Cecif J. Allen BAVARIAN BAROQUE - C. Hamilton Ellis OLD EUSTON PART 3 - J. S. Curtis SOME IMPRESSIONS OF NEW ZEALAND RAILWAYS - Margaret Witson THE COWES AND VENTNOR LINES - Photo feature NORTHAMPTONSHIRE TUNNELS - L E. Thompson Q STOCK METAMORPHOSIS - J. Graeme Bruce LETTERS TO THE EDITOR SIR WiLL'AM A. STANIER SUMMER SPECIALS - Photo feature FOOTBRIDGES - 1 - R. E. G. Read and Cordon Biddle LIGHT RAILWAY NOTES - W. J. K. Davies CLUB NOTES FRONT COVER: Great Eastern "Claud Hamilton' 4-4-0 No. 1802 heads an up Cambridge line express near Audley End in about 19t0. Notice the six-wheel brake-thirds marshalled among the bogie vehicles. Elsewhere in this issue, Cecil J. Alien describes Great Eastern crain services of 1905.
OUR unfavourable reaction on hearing of the formation of The Horsham and Guildford Direct Railway Society to preserve the recently-closed Horsham-Guildford line of the Southern Region is, perhaps, more than justified in the present light of railway preservation. The aims of the new society are the now familiar ones of the restoration of a regular passenger service, particularly for commuters, with a diesel unit, and the operation of vintage steam locomotives and stock at weekends for enthusiasts. The precedent for such a scheme, to quote the organisers in their publicity handout " is the success of other railway societies in promoting vintage trains ". Just what other successes are meant baffles us for, so far, not one of the existing standard gauge preservation societies has yet operated a commuter service; indeed only one standard gauge line, the Bluebell, has operated a passenger service at all, and that solely as a tourist and enthusiast attraction. The Keighley & Worth Valley line seems likely to see passenger services next year, but it may be some time before the Midland & Great Northern Society's recently acquired three mile section of the M&GN from Sheringham to Weybourne has a passenger service. Although the Kent & East Sussex position is a little clearer, here too funds are still needed for the Society to complete negotiations with British Railways. The one scheme which might have stood a good chance of operating a weekday commuter service, the Westerham branch, foundered through lack of funds at the right time, yet it was probably the best suited of all, for it was no more than 20 miles from London, had direct rail connection with a BR main line but was self contained with cross-platform interchange at Dunton Green. Horsham-Guildford trains, however, are handicapped, for at the northern end they must share tracks for a mile from Peasmarsh Junction to Guildford with the Waterloo-Portsmouth electric service and from Shalford Junction with Redhill-Reading trains as well. To be of practical use, Horsham branch services must enter Guildford station, yet is it really practicable to expect BR to be host to services of a preservation society on this heavily-used line ? Moreover, a junction with the Horsham line does not figure in the SR's Guildford resignalling scheme. To its credit one of the founder members of the society, with long experience of rail transport, has recommended surveys to ascertain the potential weekday traffic, should the service be restored. At this stage it would not be right to comment further on this aspect of the scheme, but, of the plan to supplement a normal passenger service by weekend enthusiasts' services of vintage trains, we have doubts, for as we have said on several occasions there are already sufficient or even too many preservation schemes. Any new ventures can only endanger existing lines to the detriment of all, not only in donations and subscriptions from society members but in fares from visitors. If the organisers of the Horsham & Guildford Direct scheme expect financial support and voluntary labour from railway enthusiasts we ask them to think again, for existing schemes of both line preservation and locomotive and stock restoration can do with all the contributions they can get. The number of railway enthusiasts is limited and, already, resources are almost stretched to the limit. Several schemes have been in hand for some years and have not reached finality because money has not been forthcoming as quickly as the organisers had hoped. If on the other hand the Horsham & Guildford scheme has financial backing from business sources and does not depend on voluntary contributions from railway enthusiasts, we wish it well, even though we have doubts on the feasibility of running powers over BR lines, which would be essential for the success of its public function. The preservation side of the scheme to complement the regular passenger service might then not be quite such a problem, for a number of organisations have acquired locomotives but have nowhere to run them. But whatever the future of the Horsham-Guildford plan it must be examined critically by its sponsors; if it does prove practicable, clearly the preservation aspect must be conducted in liaison with existing schemes through the Association of Railway Preservation Societies.
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