Spring 2021 issue 175

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.

As Covid restrictions continue then the NRM Reviews continue to be bumper 84-page editions to help while away the hours when we can’t do much else.  We got this issue to all UK members, and other postal systems permitting, to all overseas members too by the end of April.  This enabled readers to commemorate the day when, arguably, an event took place which resulted in the greatest loss of Gt Britain’s railway route mileage.  The date was 3 May 1921, so on 3 May 2021 you know the background to this story.

   Looking back further to 1825, we have an update on the Stockton and Darlington preparations for the 200th anniversary, an event with which Locomotion at Shildon will take a starring role.  Talking of Locomotion – the locomotive, the move from Darlington to Shildon is also discussed together with Green Arrow’s move to Doncaster.   In the summer 2020 issue, Hugh Fenwick described the effects of summer weather on the permanent way (PW).  With a PW career of over 50 years, and with April showers in mind, Hugh describes the effects of sudden heavy rainfall in an article on ‘Washouts’.  We also have an article by another long-standing engineer, David Thornber, on the frustrations of PW projects, a very thought-provoking piece.

   Our regular contributor Mike Peart takes a serious look, but with a humorous angle, on trespassers over the years, both the woolly ovine type and the two-legged variety.  Some of the excuses which trespassers have come up with are inventive to say the least.     We feature the stories of four stations from around the country, the ‘rebirth’ of Curzon Street, Birmingham, the evolution of Alloa, the changes at Waterloo since Eurostar left and the ‘Subs’ of Edinburgh. 

   Making further use of the wealth of oral history to which we have access, the legendary ‘Windcutters’, or ‘Runners’ are described by the crews who worked them.  These fast unfitted freights used to take coal from the East Midlands coalfields down south, with the crews changing at Woodford Halse.  These trains, hauled by a variety of O1, O4, 8F, 9F, ‘Ozzies’ and other classes were worked by Annesley shed in Nottinghamshire.  Continuing with personal histories, we have Graeme Miller’s next instalment of being a young fitter at Polmadie as the LMS moved towards 1948 nationalisation, and at the other end of the nationalisation story, David Copeland continues the story of EWS in the late 1990s.  And we have a light-hearted look at ‘Bells and Whistles’ and also an article on how to do, or not do, timetabling.

   So a huge variety of railway stories as always, plus of course our regular Picture Gallery, this issue focussing on some unusual combinations in ‘double-headers’; also another railway-themed crossword; an obscure photo to decipher in Where, What, When? and another collection of book reviews; Covid seems to have precipitated an avalanche of varied and excellent railway books!  And lots of readers’ letters.