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Front cover of Trains Illustrated Magazine, Issue 50
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Trains Illustrated Magazine, Issue 50

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Contents Listing - Articles & Features in this issue

Great Northern steam finale - M. B. Dean    
Holyhead in LNWR days - from the Nations! Railway Museum's Collection    
The Kingswear branch    - Keith Beck    
The Liverpool Overhead Railway recalled from the Real Photographs Co Collection    
Struggle for central Scotland - N. Caplan    
An Irish royal train    - Gavin J. Morrison    
Detective work on a coach body - Mike Stanbury    
Steam and electric at Hove - Michael Fisher    
The tank-worked Tilbury

 

Article Snippets
Article Snippets
THE WIDE variety of skills in most aspects of railway activity that we have inherited from our railway past is shown in this issue. That the early railway promoters were clearly imaginative, shrewd and highly competitive entrepreneurs is clear from the railway history of England in the 1840s. Just how hard they could bargain 20 years later for the prize of the Scottish industrial heartland is shown by a lucid study of negotiations in 1864. Now that privatisation is proposed, vaguely, of the former London, Tilbury and Southend Railway suburban passenger services, it is fascinating to hear from a locomotive man how the LT&SR of 80 years ago worked its intensive commuter services efficiently with tank engines, mostly of modest power.

Probably the world's finest steam operation of main and suburban services on the eve of dieselisation prescribed in the 1955 Modernisation Plan was on the old Great Northern Railway East Coast main line; illustrative details are recounted in a masterly review. Very different are the problems of working the Great Western's long Kingswear 'branch' that turned in high summer into a heavily trafficked, albeit largely single-track, holiday main line carrying trains from many points of origin, as described by the punctilious observer. Its glory has almost departed, although a high-speed diesel train or two is present management's grudging admission of a somewhat decayed Torbay's power to attract train travellers.

Hardly had the Southern Railway learned' how to deploy the miscellany of steam motive power and rolling stock contributed by its three constituents and added some of its own unified designs, when it started on its own 'main-line' (and some not so 'main') electrification projects. Hove, served by Worthing-London expresses, coastal trains to Portsmouth and beyond, and by rural Sussex branch trains, was a good centre for studying the motive power and rolling stock working and traffic management, and an author who watched them as boy and man relates his observations and discusses what he had learned. What is surprising is the extent of the Southern's freight traffic in the 1920s in an area then almost devoid of industry.

Detective work on bits of a preserved Great Eastern carriage, as aptly related by a police officer, shows the GER Stratford Works to have been thorough and up to date in carriage building in the 1880s, providing even (some) comfort for third class (and largely East End and consequently very low fare) passengers. The GER was a pioneer in motive power and rolling stock matters in the later Victorian and Edwardian years. The brief feature on King Edward's Irish journey may seem to be- just another comic yarn about Ireland. Space allows the author only to hint at the excellence of the Great Northern of Ireland's motive power and rolling stock (not only royal saloons) in the 1900s — and afterwards. Indeed the GNR (I) was a highly efficient concern in several ways and remained so until its partition between the two territories.

Here then is evidence of virtues dating back many years in railway management and practice in widely different areas of the United Kingdom — a heritage worth pondering.
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