Summer 2020 issue 172 

With so many holidays being cancelled, and at the time of writing, no prospect of knowing when we can start booking holidays with any certainty, this edition features railways, holidays, summer sun and nostalgia.

Whilst operating as the ‘Big Four’ from 1923 to 1948, the LMS, Southern, GWR and LNER all were heavily involved as tour operators.  Even until well into nationalisation, British Railways still had huge non-rail travel interests including shipping (Sealink), hotels (British Transport Hotels) and travel agents (Golden Rail).  One speciality, from the early 1930s until just into the 1970s was the Camping Coach.  Mostly converted from time-expired carriages, these provided self-catering accommodation for families in sidings in sylvan surroundings.  Railway historian Mike Peart, supported by our picture editor, Chris Nettleton, tell the story of this quaint British institution.

On another summer subject, what happened in 1927 which led to hundreds of special trains carrying thousands of passengers?  And why can’t we do this again?  And why back in 1927 did many probably wish they hadn’t gone?  And what part did the railways play in this event?  We’ll say no more; see NRM Review issue 172 to find out.

Continuing the summer theme, we look at a seaside town with a unique claim to fame; a place every rail enthusiast will recognise.  A challenge to the early railway builders, this stretch of line has been in the news on several occasions.  Read about its history and its current challenges.


Railway author Nick Whittaker (author of 'Platform Souls') relives a highlight of midlands trainspotting in the 1960s, the Derby Works August open days.

Summer traffic kept many coastal branch lines open and the Lyme Regis branch is typical running through bucolic scenes to the sea; Rob Adamson records the life of this delightful line.  Also covered are the many summer excursions run in the heyday of holidays by rail in the 1930s and 1950s with many evocative photographs.  The Spring issue precipitated several letters about locomotives lost in WW2 (members in Scotland have discovered the one LMS loco lost) and we have also resolved the question about which locomotive had the shortest operational life, excluding of course one-off test and experimental locomotives.  Also, following the WW2 theme of the Spring issue, The Railway that Never Was is an article about how decoys were built to divert air-raids away from important railway sites.


We look at an unwanted effect of summer weather on railways, buckled rails, plus all the regular features such as Picture Gallery; Where, What, When; more interesting railway pub signs and hopefully a list of meetings and other events which we will be able to arrange if lockdown is lifted.  We are unable to start our regular Autumn and Winter series of talks in York, Shildon and London but have published the timetable in anticipation.  Plus a review of the latest railway books and other news on life in lockdown.

Topically, we have a short article on how railways tackled the last pandemic, the 1962 smallpox outbreak.  A very interesting and intriguing solution was found.

From Science & Society Picture Library by kind permission.

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.