Winter 2021/2 issue 178

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.

With festive celebrations long behind us, we still wonder if Covid will make 2022 another stop/start year; at the moment, museums at both York and Shildon are open to pre-booked visitors.  Work on Vision 2025 and celebrations for the Stockton & Darlington 200th continue apace, Shildon very much involved in the latter event.  In Shildon, work on planning Building no. 2 continues, and once open, Shildon will house more rail vehicles undercover than any museum in UK, maybe in the world.

   We’ve varied topics in this, another 84-page issue.  Rob Adamson’s ‘New Builds – part 2’ covers another five active steam projects, five potential new steam projects and six which for one reason or another, didn’t start.  Rob also asks why there are three ‘New Build’ diesel projects and invites views.  COP26 climate change is still a hot topic; heritage operations will hopefully be exempt from ‘coal-burning’ regulations, but who will supply coal, from where and at what price?  Following the last issue, members have found more ‘revived’ tunnels and as we go to press, news came of a long-closed two-mile long Welsh tunnel being reopened as a cycle path in the Rhondda area.  New uses for old tunnels features Liverpool, Kent, Nottinghamshire and South Wales.  Signalling features in two articles, David Thornber describes the opening of Willesden power box in the 1960s, and in the 2020s, Richard Pulleyn’s FARSAP update covers ECML signalbox closures as York Regional Operations Centre (ROC) expands its sphere of operation.  FARSAP has now recorded interviews with signallers in all types of signalbox across the whole of Great Britain and will be a valuable resource once all traditional ‘boxes have been replaced by ROCs.

   Personal stories are always intriguing and Brian Harfield describes how he’s ‘copped’ 100 railway pubs during the last couple of years.   We have been running a project for members to photograph railway pub signs for a couple of years now, but we are sure there are still hundreds which haven’t yet been recorded.  Pubs are part of railway’s social history and many have or are disappearing.  Ray Walkington shares some very interesting and amusing stories from his time on the Cheshire lines in the mid-1960s.  Amazing what sometimes went on!   Whether there’s snow and ice as you read this, Mike Peart’s winter story and photos might make you shiver!  So a nationwide miscellany of topics plus letters, book reviews, updates from the Director, the Friends in the South of England and Shildon, and updates on Station Hall and indexing back-issues of Review – a mammoth task.  Picture editor, Chris Nettleton, has been studying a large collection of prints left to us; Picture Gallery features sixteen, all of course never published before.

   We’re very grateful to members who contacted us in response to our trial of new fonts and layouts in the autumn issue, and we always welcome feedback on articles, museum topics, replies to letters and all aspects of railway interest (email if possible please).  We received varied responses to our trial of a new font and layout in the autumn issue, but the majority view was that Times New Roman (not ‘new’ really, it’s been around for almost 100 years!) was preferred, so we have reverted to that.  However, we have increased font size and leading (gap between lines to aid readability).

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