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Winter 2023/4 issue 186

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.

Another 64-page issue should be arriving on your doormat in the first week of February, but not knowing what the weather will be like when you read it, we’ve included a lovely colour image from the NYMR on page 3, recreating mixed goods locals with the wonderful steam exhaust created on frosty days.  Also, snow is the subject of picture gallery and our picture editor, Chris Nettleton, has found some photos to make you shiver, with beautiful snowy scenes from across the country and across the decades.  

Like many historical or ‘nostalgic’ organisations, the FNRM is losing its traditional aged members and we need to attract the youth of today.  Sadly, the same has forced the organisers of Warley Model Railway Show to call it a day after over thirty huge exhibitions at Birmingham’s NEC, and railway modellers amongst our members will have heard that a long-established model/online shop, Hatton’s of Widnes, is closing down after some 75 years.  The South of England Group (SoEG) have run an FNRM stand for many years at the NEC show and this will be another event where we can no longer sell our merchandise and promote the NRM.  In order to try and reverse this trend of lower membership numbers, we are looking at branding of the FNRM (more in the spring issue) and an online version of NRM Review is now available for reduced subscription rates.  Details of reduced subscriptions for receiving e-copies of Review were in the autumn issue.  Some members will be receiving this issue electronically, the first time we’ve made this route available.   

In this issue, reflecting the reduction of members and the passage of time, Ken Woods has written an obituary of Peter Townend, a former Vice-President of the SoEG and a former shedmaster at King’s Cross.  A fascinating life story of his time at ‘Top Shed’.

 Two major projects facilitated by the FNRM are featured in this issue, first, FARSAP.  This major project, ‘created’ by our President Frank Paterson, has precipitated a wonderful archive of signalling information, a resource which will be of great value to academics, enthusiasts and industrial archaeologists for decades to come.  Secondly, Karen Baker has written her six-monthly update on Station Hall, a project funded to the tune of some £350,000 by FNRM and one which again, would not have been possible without FNRM’s help.  
   Bringing us right up to date, the major progress at Shildon is described with the imminent completion of New Hall.  A visit to Shildon should be on everyone’s ‘bucket list’ for 2024 as the developments there are extensive; again the FNRM has helped to fund this important project.  Going back in time, Ray Walkington gives a first-hand account of life in 1960s Lancashire and the perils of transporting glass by rail, and Rob Adamson rounds off his series of the 1923 Grouping (featured in the last four issues) with a look at what happened next in the inter-war years.  Going further back, we have two Victorian features with Chris Mew’s story of the Surrey Iron Railway which came and went in what sounds like the blink of an eye, and also Mike Peart looks at the story of young Albert (no, not the one that “got ate by a lion”) but the Prince, husband of Victoria, who loved the new technology of railways.

Autumn always brings a plethora of new books for the Christmas market and we’ve reviewed as many as we can, so if you’ve some Christmas money left over (or any book tokens – remember them?) then there are plenty to whet your appetite.  

 And last, but by no means least, we have the first Half Fare produced by our new editors Willow Baker and Stephanie Ackland under the guidance of our Office Administrator Emma.  Please pass this on to children, grand-children or others - we need to foster rail enthusiasts of the future, and hopefully new FNRM memberships!

 We have not had many letters from members over the last few months, so while the winter weather keeps us out of gardening and keeps us ‘home-based’, please drop a letter to us at the office, or preferably send an email, with ideas for increasing membership numbers, ideas for subjects to be covered in Review, or even, better, write an article yourself.  We don’t have any limit on the length of articles, so a few lines in response to something you’ve read, to long articles of many pages on a railway subject are welcomed.

We hope you enjoy the winter issue of NRM Review.      

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Never mind the locomotive what about the train? British Railways poster celebrating the centenary of the ‘Flying Scotsman’ express. The 10:00 departure from Kings Cross and, simultaneously, Edinburgh Waverley, began in 1862 and was referred to as the ‘Special Scotch Express’. The journey took ten and a half hours and included a thirty minute refreshment stop ‘for lunch’ at York. Eventually the LNER renamed the express using its unofficial name - the ‘Flying Scotsman’ - in February 1924. Image courtesy of National Railway Museum/SSPL.

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