Backtrack volume 37 (2023)

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LNER V2 No. 60982 heads north
through Brookman's Park on a freight
on 28 February 1959 (Trevor Owen)
front cover

January (Number 369)

Home thoughts from this platform end. Michael Blakemore. 3

Thames crossings. 4-5
Colour photo feature: viiew from London Eye of Charing Cross station encased in Embankment Place with new footbridge being built upstream alongside Hungerford Bridge on 1 November 2001 (Rodney Lissenden) (KPJ on same day we were escaping Thames Basin for mountains of North Norfolk); Cannon Street station under reconstruction on 31 May 1958 with Hastings diesel electric multiple unit and rebuilt West Country Pacific No. 34025 Whimple on train for Ramsgate; BR Class 4  2-6-4T No. 80145 crossing Thames at Kingston wiith a special on 5 February 1959 passing Kingston power station; class 319 about to leave Blackfriars for Sevenoaks on 17 February 2003 with dome of St. Pauls partially obscured by green roofed office block (Rodney Lissenden) ; rebuilt  West Country Pacific No. 34037 Clovelly on 14.30 Washwood Heath to Eastleigh freight on 22 August 1964 (David Idle)

Stephen Roberts. Devon's raillways. 6-13
This is essentially a photo-feature with extended captions, but some topics are not illustrated, notably the Royal Albert Bridge which links Cornwall to railways in Great Britain and it would seem strategically weak to link a major destination to a single track over an ancient structure based on wrought iron. The even more strategic City of Plymouth is dependent upon a line along the sea shore and is vulnerable to storms and Global Warming (HS2 is a folly when perceived in this light). The broad gauge is briefly mentioned, but íts remnants fail to be included. At the other extreme many narrow gauge lines fail to be included and none, not even the Lynton & Barnstaple, are illustrated. No mention is made of David St. John Thomas and his initial contribution to the Regional History of Railways Series.  Illustrations: No. 5031 Totnes Castle on down Torbay Express at Exeter St. David's and No. 7813 Freshford Manor on a local passenger train; map from Martin Smith The railways of Devon; Battle of Britain class No. 34079 141 Squadron crossing Taw estuary leaving Barnstaple for Ilfracombe on 2 June 1963 (Alan Chandler: colour); No. 1010 Coutnty of Caernarvon double-heading with Castle class heading west from Newton Abbot in 1958 (colour); Castle class Nos. 5066 Wardour Castle and 4089 Donnnington Castle double-head 05.30 Paddington to Penzance stopped at Brent with 4575 No. 5505 on 12.24 to Kingsbridge with WD 2-8-0 approachimg on up freight on 18 August 1953 (John Spencer Gilks); BR Standard Class 3 2-6-2T No. 82010 and Class N 2-6-0 No. 31848 passing Exeter St. David's with an up ballast train from Meldon Quarry on 4 July 1955 (T.J. Edgington); No. 4948 Northwick Hall arrriving Kingswear on an ordinary passemger train during 1958 (colour); Crediton station with mixed gauge track; Ashburton station in August 1953 with 14XX No. 1427 in train shed (T.J. Edgington); No. 5924 Dinton Hall on down parcels, Nos. 4955 Plaspower Hall and 6815 Frilford Grange on up local train and 14XX in bay platform at Tiverton Junction on 1 July 1960 (John Spencer Gilks); 44XX No. 4410 with single coach on 10.30 to Yelverton on 6 July 1955 (John Spencer Gilks); Seaton Junction station with British Railways multiple unit with whiskers and Southern Railway concrete footbridge in August 1964 (Geoffrey Skelsey: colour); Plymouth to Exeter Central five or six car diesel multiple unit departing Lydford on 2 July 1966 (John Spencer Gilks); 45XX with number on tank at Lustleigh with a very mixed stock passenger train for Moretonhampstead; M7 0-4-4T  No. 30253 arriving Torrington with 08.00 from Barnstaple Junction (John Spencer Gilks); Ivatt Class 2 2-6-2T No. 41314 at Hatherleigh on 08.32 Torrington to Halwill on 21 May 1957 (John Spencer Gilks).

John Roake. Over the sea to Skye – via the Highland Railway. 14-19
The Highland Railway was formed from three separate companies: the Inverness & Nairn opened 5 November 1855; the Inverness & Aberdeen Junction which made end on junctions with the first-named and with the Great North of Scotland Railway at Keith on 21 July 1856. The Inverness and Ross-shire Railway reached Dingwall on 11 June 1862 and was authorized to extend to Invergordon. The Dingwall & Skye Railway received approval to extend 63 miles to Loch Carron and  eventually settled for a terminus at Strome Ferry, but was forced to operate its own ferry service to Skye. Illustrations: Kyle of Lochalsh station c1900 with coaches in green & white livery which was replaced by cheaper and simpler green from 1902; Strome Ferry pier; Clan Goods No. 17954 (HR No. 79 entering Kyle of Lochalsh station on a freight train; Strome Ferry station  with overall roof viewed from train for Kyle on 18 June 1937 (H.C. Casserley): overall roof demolished in April 1941;  Clan Goods No. 57596 and a Class 5 4-6-0 at the coaling stage at Kyle of Lochalsh (shelter was an LMS addition) on 22 April 1952 (H.C. Casserley); Clan Goods shunting pier at Kyle of Lochalsh in July 1931; Plockton station in 1953 with hurley being used to load brake van on train for Inverness; one of three hydraulic cranes at Kyle of Lochalsh in 1913 (replaced by 5-ton crane during WW1); Clan Goods shunting at Kyle of Lochalsh in LMS period; flock of sheep trot along platform at Kyle of Lochalsh passing Highland Railway birdcage brake van lettered LMS and with lamps on side

Miles MacNair. More frustrations of fuel efficiency. Part Three. The last-chance saloon. 20-4.
Illustrations: Ing, Porta design proposal for super-efficient steam locomotive in developing countries with valve gear for inside cylinders exposed at the front & twin Crosti preheaters under boiler with exhaust either side (Robin Barnes painting); Hunslet underfeed version of GPCS with screw feeder, steam jets and extra air inlets, gas producer combustion firebox and Kylpor exhaust arrangement (Industrial Railway Record 2009, March)

Mike Fenton. Sojourns on the Southern: being coach camping on the Southern Railway 1935-40. 25-30
Twelve converted six-wheel coaches distributed on eight sites in Devon and Cornwall plus one in Hampshire at Hurn

Peter Mortimer. A timely visit to Mortimer Street signal box. 31
Refers to this box in an earlier Backtrack article (2017, 31, 378) on Engine Shed Junction box . The signalman at Mortimer Street specialised in clock repairs and was known as Tick-Tock. A fox  had raised a family underneath the box. Illusstrations: steps up to Mortimer Street box (caption notes nearer to Mortimer Terrace); rodding for points and signal wires at base of box;

Winners all the way [Gresley V2 class]. 32-
Colour photo-feature: No. 4808 with green cylinders built at Darlington at York engine shed in 1938 ((H.M. Lane); No. 60891 assisting Class 5 No. 45037 on a parcels/Newspaper express at York on 9 June 1957; lined green No. 60867 at Grantham on 1 March 1959;

Croes Newydd and Brymbo. Keith Gays. 36-7.
Colour photo feature: BR Class 4 2-6-0 No. 76040 in front of the water tank and amidst piles of ash and clinker on 21 January 1967; Stanier Class 4 2-6-4Ts Nos. 42616 and 42647 on shed for servicing whilst working a railtour on 29 April 1967; BR Standard Class 4 4-6-0 No. 75046 assembling a freight train in the yard on 21 January 1967; 9F 2-10-0 No. 92074 on steep climb to Brymbo with coke wagons on 19 November 1966; BR Class 4 2-6-0 No. 76040 with front part of motion cleaned.

On the Central Wales Line. John Spencer Gilks.38-9.
Black & white photo feature: Class 5 No. 45298 on 10.25 from Swansea Victoria to Shrewsbury passing Knucklas Halt on 19 August 1959; Fowler 2-6-4T No, 42307 at Llanbister Road on 14.41 Shrewsbury to Swansea on 19 August 1959;  BR Standard Class 5 No. 73036 on climb to Sugar Loaf Summit with 07.45 from Swansea approaching Sugar Loaf  Tunnel on 24 March 1961; 8F 2-8-0 No. 48761 working tender-first on a freight exchanging single line token at Llangunllo on 19 August 1959; English Electric Type 37 arrriving at Llandrinod Wells on service from Shrewsbury on 17 July 1965.

Jeffrey Wells. Horwich in the news 1884-1904. 40-7.
Cites M.D. Smith's Horwich Locomotive Works. Wyre Publishing, 1896. Illustrations: Aspinall 2-4-2T with radial axles No. 1008 (Works photograph); well-appointed houses in Victoria Street rented to middle management in 1900, such as foremen, draughtsmen, supervisors, etc; Erecting Shop with two electric gantry cranes; Mechanics Institute designed by Henry Skelmandine, company architec and built byThomas Riley & Co. Officially opened on 225 October 1895.

David P. Williams. The LNER heavy shunting engines. 48-9
Nonochrome coloured images of  GCR  8H (LNER S1) 0-8-4T No. 69901 at Doncaster c1955 and NER Class X and LNER T1 4-8-0T No. 69916 at Newport engine shed. The text gives detainls of where and when built, allocations, withdrawals and in the case of the S1 fitting witth boosters (on  two built in 1932 and one existing one) for use in the new Whitemoor  mechanised marshalling yard near March. 

Return to Cumbria. Gavin Morrison. 50-2

Bruce  Laws. The Waveney Valley Railway. 53-60

Readers' forum. 61-2

Gremlin ccrner. Editor. 61

The Irish goods. David Houston. 61

Focus on Inverness. Gerald Goodall. 61
The Highland Railway possessed two travelling post offices which latterly in the British Railways period individually operated between Glasgow and Dingwall and had rotas which took them to Helmsdale and Kyle of Lochalsh. Both vehicles could be seen briefly at Dingwall.

British locomotive builders to the world. John Bushby. 61
Takes a long time to state that we are the greatest and yet failed to keep up with modern traction, not helped by Riddles who thought he had acquired a full-size model railway and let the grass grow under its tracks.

Harrow and Wealdstone. Laurence Akehurst. 61
In the 1970s Akehurst used to talk to a commuter from Tring who just missed the 07.31 departure and that the next t rain terminated at Watford Junction and had to walk across Cassiobury Park to the Metropolitan Line station to reach London. In an age when railways were considered an essential service the up and down slow lines were available on the following morning. Sir John Elliot was Chairman of the Railway Executive at the time of the disaster, was knighted in 1954 and became Chairman of the London Transport Executive in the same year when he failed to resolve a bus strike lasting for six weeks

Harrow and Wealdstone. Allan C. Baker. 61-2
Critices Roberts for the use of the driver of the up express applying "his emergency brake": such brakes were not fitted to most steam locomotives. He also states that the application of AWS would have prevented the accident. This is not necessarily so as it could be ignored or switched off

Harrow and Wealdstone. Robin Leleux. 62
Queries the extent of damage to No. 46202 and wonders if its boiler was reused and ponders whether the name Princess Anne led to pressure from Buckingham Palace for the locomotive to be eliminated [KPJ at that time the Royal Family was a msajor railway user]. Also notes how rapidly the railway reopened and notes his own experience of the Clapham Junction accident was observed on a journey to Brighton when on the return journey an empty train had been positioned to block the view of the accident and how on the following day he was able to view the clearance work from Battersea Rise Bridge which included the poignant sight of stacked briefcases.  

Harrow and Wealdstone. Nick Booker. 62
Extremely critical of Roberts for failing to cite either of Peter Tatlow's serious and thorough books on the disaster and the failure to note Coomb's study published  by David & Charles in 1977. He also wonders if shift working had led to Driver Jones becoming drowsy and his fireman being similarly afflicted

Harrow and Wealdstone. A.J. Mullay. 62
Prime Minister Churchill visited the accident and wanted to know who was responsible: John Eliott offered himself: see On and off the rails. Allen & Unwin, 1982. Not mentioned in Churchill Diaries.

Book reviews. 62

A detailed history of the LMS ''Royal Scots' 4-6-0s. John Jennison. Railway Correspondence and Travel Society, 258pp. Reviewed by MB [Michael Blakemoor] *****
Well received by Michael Blakemore

Swanscombe Cement Works and its railways. Chris Down. Industrial Locomotive Society. 424pp. Reviewed by JRS. ****
"Commendable for the diligent research, Quality photographs, maps and diagrams, the book is a must for any library". Warns of short print-run.

The railways of London Docklands: their history and development. Jonathan Willis. Pen & Sword Transport. 160pp. Reviewed by PR ****
Central theme is rejuvenation of London Docklands with Docklands Light Railway, Jubilee Line and Elizabeth Line

In the Peak of the winter. Stewart Jolly. rear cover
Class 123 on 10.45 Manchester Piccadilly to Cleethorpes passing Edale in snow on 18 December 1982


Fowler 3F 0-6-0T No. 47345
working as pilot engine at
Carlisle station, c1963. front cover.

February (Number 370)

John Scholes. Does history have a future?  67
Guest Editorial. "Our railway past hardly stood up to scrutiny with whole townships flattened, graveyards destroyed, and churces denolished, all to build a new line. All that is before you get to the long hours, poor pay, unfair treatment and unnecessary deaths through neglect and  unsuitable equipment.. It was a hard existence and life was cheap, so we should be thankful that things have moved on". ..."Most of our railway heroes came from poor and uneducated backgrounds, but by sheer hard work and dogged determinationsucceeded in establishing a notable place in 'history'". "There are few plans for our br illiantly engineered canal system James Brindley calculated it all in his head. Stephenson gets far more personable credit than he deserves. His assistant Locke hardly gets a mention for saving the day when Parliament threw out the first London to Birmingham Railway application..."