Summer 2021 issue 176 

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 still curbs our ability to have holidays, again we're planning to have an 84-page edition, this time looking at holiday aspects of railways around the theme “Trains and Boats and Planes” (no. 4 in May 1965 in the singles charts by Burt Bacharach and no. 12 at the same time by Billy J Kramer) and the railway companies’ ventures beyond rail.  Our resident GWR expert (and founder member of the Great Western Society in 1961), Mike Peart looks in detail at GWR’s ventures in to ships and planes; Philip Benham takes us round Britain looking at other sea ventures, many finally becoming Sealink, and growing up there, Brian Harfield looks at what it was like in Morecambe and Heysham, one of the railway’s principal ports.  Imports and exports are great generators of freight traffic and Jim Summers charts the development by the Caledonian of Grangemouth Docks.  Since the 1960s, foreign holidays have boomed, but why are so few of our airports on a rail link?  John Trebinski reports.  The railways also tried to generate holiday traffic, opening their own travel agency, Golden Rail.  Ian Macbeth was instrumental in its setting up and worked there for many years and describes this non-railway operation.

   The HST features several times in this issue.  In addition to the fastest steam locomotive in the world, the NRM now has the fastest diesel locomotive in the world in the form of power-car 43102.  We have some lovely pictures of it arriving at Locomotion, Shildon.  The final days of the HST on the East Midlands routes were marked by a special journey which really takes the biscuit – read the article to see what this means!  Looking back to the birth of the HST, we recall the late Duke of Edinburgh’s involvement with the NRM, which he opened on 27 September 1975.   Like the gliding swan, everything looked fine from the outside but back in the engine-room (literally) things were anything but ‘cool’.  Read how the day almost didn’t happen!

   FNRM pledged £300k, our largest single donation, to Station Hall refurbishment and as promised we have our six-monthly update from project lead Karen Baker.  As mentioned in previous Reviews, lockdown has precipitated a huge number of new books and we have reviews of seventeen in this issue.  As usual, we have letters with views and feedback on articles in previous Reviews and other topics of railway interest.

   A couple of competitions, the crossword and another Where, What, When? for readers to puzzle over a bucolic scene of something at some time at some place.  And an ‘exhausting’ collection of superb photos in Picture Gallery.

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From Great Western Trust, Didcot by kind permission.