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Spring 2024 issue 187

The NRM Review is of course one of the benefits of being a member of the Friends of the NRM and is published in January, April, July and October.

First, and most importantly, May will see the opening of New Hall at Shildon, a major new building which will house up to fifty rail vehicles, the largest collection undercover in Europe.  FNRM are proud to be associated with this, having donated £400,000, the largest ever donation in the 47 year history of our society.  New Hall will open to the public on 24 May and we would encourage all members to make tracks for Shildon (pun intended).  The Friends’ North East Branch have been extremely busy over the past few months preparing for this exciting addition to the NRM’s display capabilities, and Richard Barber has been busy recording the complex ‘filling operation’; see page 3 onwards.  I think you will be amazed at two photos on page 3 entitled ‘The old and the, er, new’; only twelve years separates the building of these two items of rolling stock….but what a difference!
   This spring edition is always quite ‘heavy’ with administrative items in preparation for the AGM in June.  The financial report shows that the FNRM is in a strong position, and we have been able to donate some very large sums to the Museums recently.  What was considered our biggest ever single donation was £250,000 (for the meeting area in Wonderlab – the Michael Wallace Learning area), has been surpassed by the £300,000 for Station Hall (later topped up by £50,000 to cover inflation) and now the £400,000 donation to Shildon’s New Hall; a total of £1million.  Thanks are due to all FNRM members for their support and continued membership subscriptions, donations, purchases of second-hand books and help with other fund-raising events.  Thank you everyone!   

 Two important dates for your diary are the AGM on 15 June and also a special ‘one-off’ presentation by author Christian Wolmar on 13 July; both at York.  We are hoping to facilitate ZOOM, but watch our website for further details.  There are of course other talks and events happening in our NE Branch and South of England Group and all members, regardless of where you live, are very welcome to any FNRM events. 

  It is apposite that we have made arrangements with a solicitor, on very favourable terms, who can help with will-writing, or updating wills.  FNRM receive a considerable amount of income from wills, ranging from small, but very welcome bequests to some quite large ones of many thousands of pounds.  If you are considering updating your will or even writing one for the first time, we would very much appreciate donations via this route please.  However, while we are still here, help is always needed to support the Friends, and even if you’re unable to be actively involved due to distance from York or Shildon or via the south-east group, anyone with even modest IT skills can assist in the ongoing Indexing project.  Secretary Graham outlines how to help in Who Wants to be a Volunteer.   Co-editor John also prompts us to sort out those old railway photos, many never seen by anyone but you, which will certainly hold some fascinating facts.  No matter what their condition, Brownie 127 snaps, 35mm slides, glass plates (!), they all hold a record of the history of our fascinating hobby – railway enthusiasts!  Please let us know what you find.   We know that many members are avid railway-book collectors, and we’d love to know what you thought of recently published books that you’ve either bought or read.  We try to include as many book reviews as space will allow, but we know this is but a very small selection of the many books published each year.  Write a review of any newly published books for us please! 

 We mentioned in the last editorial (NRM Review 186) that FNRM are looking at branding.  We have a little more work to do on this and the formal launch will be at the AGM in June.  Also, long-time NRM volunteer Michael Rigg has joined the editorial team of NRM Review.  Many of you will probably know Michael, he has been a familiar face around the NRM for many years, particularly on the Information Points. 

Following Rob Adamson’s series over the last four issues on the 1923 Grouping, we follow up with four articles on what happened next from 1923 onwards, starting with the GWR.  Personal stories are always very enlightening; Frank Paterson and Ray Walkington ‘spill the beans’ on some happenings long, long ago!  Also, the book review of the Stainmore Railway in NRM Review 186 precipitated a letter describing a ‘thrilling’ drive of misbehaving 40075, a 3P 2-6-2T.  And to prove we’re not fixated on steam, Mike Peart tells the story of GWR railcars, and also the gestation of FARSAP, the latter a great success due to the FNRM.

 Co-editor Chris has assembled a superb collection of photos of the Rugby Testing facility in Picture Gallery and we have a selection of members’ letters covering matters raised in previous Reviews; keep sending in your letters, one thing leads to another unearthing fascinating facts along the way.

The second issue of Half Fare from our new editorial team is published; please pass it on to any youngsters you know.  Again, letters and input from our younger generation much appreciated. 

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