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Autumn 2023 - issue 185

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 always, we have tried to bring a varied selection of articles together for the autumn issue.  However, there is some important information on the first pages for members which will require changes for those members who pay their subscription annually.  After seven years of holding FNRM subscription rates, we have had to appraise them together with membership types.  With several years of high inflation, increases in Review printing rates, office staff, postage, etc, we have to cover our operating costs.  But we are moving with the times, and like many other societies and organisations, we will be offering NRM Review as an electronic copy which will attract a substantial saving on your membership rates, but stress that the paper version will of course still be available.

    To underline our commitment to remain a strong supporter of the museums at York and Shildon, there is a photo of a cheque for £400,000 being handed to the NRM, yes, £400,000.  A large proportion of this came from some substantial legacies left to the FNRM, the remainder from our various fund-raising activities.  

   There are changes in our team too.  We have to say farewell to our Office Administrator, Jayne Molyneux.  Although Jayne only joined us at the very end of last year, she has overseen the transfer to our new office, recruited and trained Emma, our Assistant Office Administrator, and introduced a more efficient accounting system with Treasurer Ray Ekins.  We thank Jayne very much for her commitment and enthusiasm for FNRM and wish her well as she moves to a new job much closer to her home.  Jayne has kindly offered to be ‘on-call’ as we approach year end to help with 2023 accounts and the training of her replacement. 

   This is also the last Half Fare by Helen Ashby, who retires after editing it for some ten years.  We extend thanks to Helen for providing entertainment and news to our younger members and relatives of members.  Please read Half Fare for details of how we plan to extend NRM and Locomotion news to our younger rail enthusiasts.

   This is the final 2023 edition and we conclude Rob Adamson’s series of commemorating the centenary of the Grouping, this time looking at the formation of the Southern Railway.  The front cover demonstrates what a legacy was left to this fledgling company in 1923 with a ‘spaghetti junction’ of lines south of the Thames in London.  Going some 500 miles north, Chris Mew reflects on railways in Fife with the announcement of electrification of the Kinghorn line.  Also, as Christmas approaches, we have details of the Christmas films evening, again featuring rarely-seen films stretching back many decades, held on a variety of very old celluloid and other media, and never published on YouTube or elsewhere.  And Mike Peart looks at other railway films in ‘Popcorn Time’. A mystery is solved after an incident at Dallam, near Warrington on a British Transport Enthusiast's Guild and Locomotive Club of Great Britain excursion back in 1967.  Finally, the true story is told by Ray Walkington who was there at the time!

Railways are in the news nearly every day, with the cancellation of the north western HS2 line and ongoing strikes.  Strikes on the railway are nothing new and Mike Peart highlights disputes back to Victorian times, often accompanied by much violence.  It seems that we have been so conditioned to strikes now that we just shrug our shoulders and carry on; no need for Police involvement.

   Before we close the year with our last issue of 2023, one last mention of Flying Scotsman, a locomotive which has been featured on several pub signs around the country.  We say ‘Here’s to the next 100 years’ as we show how it has been immortalised by the licensed trade.   

Returning to the large donation of £400,000, please consider the FNRM if you are writing a will.  Also, our fund-raising activities require volunteers, and selling mementoes on steam-hauled specials hauled by National Collection locomotives is a fun (but energetic!) way of raising funds.  No sales experience is necessary and it is likely that Flying Scotsman will be out and about across the country in 2024.   We try to be on-board every excursion and be at stations where the locomotive calls.  For the less-energetic, we have a large collection of second-hand books at York which require sorting, listing and pricing; we publish a selection in every issue of NRM Review, but this is just a very small portion of the many hundreds of books.  See Mike Webb’s appeal on page 8.  For members who are less agile or live away from York, we are still looking for helpers to index the 184 back issues of NRM Review.  This is a huge collection of railway stories going back to 1977, a very valuable resource, we plan to make these available through an index to researchers, historians and railway enthusiasts.  If you are comfortable with a laptop or PC, then all this can be done online; we have indexers around the country.  Again, helpers eagerly required!   

On the front cover: Spaghetti Junction? The lines south of the river on the approaches to Victoria and Waterloo, from the Railway Clearing House map of 1912. These lines and their owners are explained in Rob Adamson’s article on the grouping that led to the Southern Railway in 1923. (attribution Wiki Commons)

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