Backtrack Volume 32 (2018)

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Published by Pendragon, Easingwold, YO61 3YS

January (Number 321)

LNER Kl Class 2-6-0 No.62021 at Alnwick station with the branch train to Alnmouth on 10th May 1966. G.F. Bloxham. front cover

Backtrack through the looking glass. Michael Blakemore. 3
Editorial with a pinch of Lewis Carroll

TJE' at Birmingham New Street. John Edgington. 4-7
Black & white photofeature as memorial to the late John Edgington who was born in City and worked for LMS/London Midland Region thereat. Prince of Wales 4-6-0 No. 25752 on 12.20 to Stafford on 8 December 1948; Webb coal tank 0-6-2T No. 58900 acting as station pilot on 21 June 1951; rrebuilt Patriot No. 45522 Prestatyn in mixed traffic lined black livery with tender lettered BRITISH RAILWAYS on 3 April 1950; Class 3P 4-4-0 No. 40745 on pilot duties with Compound No. 1028 behind on `9 April 1949 (these first photographs demonstrate WW2 damage to station); Patriot No. 45539 E.C. Trench moving off Manchester to Bournemouth Pines Express on 25 May 1957 (rear of Queen's Hotel behind); Jubileee No. 45592 Indore waiting to take up British Industries Fair Express on 9 May 1955; B1 4-6-0 No. 61195 having ar4rived an 06.63 from Cleethorpes on 20 October 1956; Caprotti and double chimney class 5 4-6-0 No. 44687 on 17.08 to Napton & Stockton on 29 April 1955; 2P 4-4-0 No. 40659 and rebuilt Scot No. 46148 The Manchester Regiment on 11.05 to Glasgow Central on 28 October 1954; Jubilee No. 45733 Novelty on 17.50 Euston to Wolverhampton on 8 June 1953 (locomotive carrying a crown headboard to celebrate Coronation); 4P Compound No. 41193 on 13.45 to Yarmouth Beach on 8 October 1958; A1 4-6-2 No. 60114 W.P. Allen on 11.41 Birmingham to Newcastle on 8 August 1964.

John Jarvis. Change at Verney Junction. 8-15
In Buckinghamshire.  The London & North Western Railway had a long branch line from Bletchley to Oxford which had a further branch line to Buckingham and Banbury. The Aylesbury & Buckingham Railway was conceived by local landowners Sir Harry Verney and the Mraquis of Chandos, later the Earl of Buckingham and who was also Chairman of the LNWR as a means of increasing their wealth.  The growth and protracted shrinkage of the railways, including the WW2 Calvert Spur are outlined as well as a possible futture as part of a revived Oxford to Cambridge line. Illustrations: Derby light weight railcar at Verney Junction on an Oxford to Bletchley service (colour); map showing convoluted railway lines (many of which are closed) and their former ownership; Verney Junction station c1900 with Metropolitan Raiulway train and its passengers changing to another service via footbridge; Sulzer Peak class diesel elctric locomotive No. D16 on a Leeds to Wembley Cup Final special on 1 May 1965 passing through Verney Junction (colour); Verney Junction on 30 June 1963 (colour: Ron Fisher); Class 5 No. 45292 passes on freight in 1963; plans (station layouts in 1878 and 1896; Standard class  2 No. 84004 at Verney Junction on Bletchley to Buckingham push & pull (Roger Jones); plans (LNWR, Metropoltan Railway, BR (M); Metropoltan Railway K class 2-6-4T No. 115 on freight leaving Verney Junction for Quainton Road on 4 July 1936 (A.W.V. Mace); Metropoltan Railway signal box in mid-1950s; LNWR signal box in September 1967 (colour: author); Class 56 No. 56 046 on Hertfordshire Railtours Mothball rail tour on 29 May 1993.

Eric Stokes. Auto suggestions. 16-25
Stream push & pull operation: outlines the terminology and the methodology: the Great Western used mechanical linkage to operate the regulator. Vacuum control gear was used by the LMS and LNER, but the Southern standardised on compressed air control. The LNWR and LSWR had used mechanical transmission via wires along the roofs of the train sets. [Kevin observed and sometimes travelled on the Delph Donkey and is far fromm certain of the origins of some of the rolling stock used see Frank page]. Illustrations: Webb 2-4-2T No. 46712 on Dudley "motor" at Dudley Port in 1949 (colour); ex-GCR F2 2-4-2T No. 5780 propelling 11.45 Alexandra Palace to Finsbury Park at Stroud Green on 11 August 1945 (H.C. Casserley); H class 0-4-4T No. 31177 at Dunton Green with push & pull for Westerham in July 1960 (colour: D.H. Beechcroft); GER F5 2-4-2T No. 67202 at Ongar with push & pull set for Epping on 7 June 1954 (T.J. Edgington); 14XX 0-4-2T No.1432 propelling 11.55 ex-Ellesmere to Wrexham at Marchwell on 25 February 1961 (Alan Tyson); Ivatt Class 2 2-6-2T No. 41223 at Four Oaks with push & pull unit for Birmingham New Street in October 1955 (colour: E.S. Russell); M7 0-4-4T No. 40058 approaching Lymington Pier with paddle steamer alongside in October 1953 (colour); Lemon 2P 0-4-4T No. 6408 at Stanmore with Harrow & Wealdstone push & pull on 16 June 1934; C15 4-4-2T No. 67460 at Gerelochhead with Craigendoran to Arochar & Tarbet push 7amp; pull in May 1959 (Unusual in that corridor, but non-vestibuled coaches used with first class accommodation and lavatory used); (colour: D.H. Beechcroft); H ckass No. 31177 leaving Mainstone West on 15.08 for Tonbridge on 10 April 1961 (Alan Tyson); H class 0-4-4T No. 31530 at Rowfant on Three Bridges to East Grinstead service in July 1960; L&:YR 2-4-2T No. 50731 leaving Sunny Wood Halt with a Bury to Holcombe Brook push & pull on 3 February 1952 (N.R. Knight); Ivatt 2-6-2T No. 41276 on The Welsh Dragon at Deganwy with Rhyl to Llandudno summer service (colour); C15 No. 67474 at Shandon with Craigendoran to Arrochar service in 1960 (colour); 14XX 0-4-2T No.1432 propelling 11.55 ex-Ellesmere to Wrexham at Overton on 25 February 1961 (Alan Tyson); Lemon 0-4-4T No. 41900 at Upton-on-Severn with push & pull t/from Ashchurch on 19 July 1958 (T.J. Edgington); and cutting edge standard 2-6-2T No. 84007 at Uppingham with service for Seaton. 

Mike Fenton. Byway of the 'Barra' - Part One. 26-30
Haltwhistle to Alston branch: partly personal reminiscences of the branch line when it was under sentence of closure; and partly a history of a line which dated back to the Newcastle & Carlisle Railway and was promoted by the Earl of Carlisle to reach the lead mines at Nenthead and an Act was obtained for a branch line from Haltwhistle on 6 August 1846, but the route selected was too difficult and an easier route limited to reaching Alston was approved on 13 July 1849. Illustrations: Alston station on 29 March 1964 (colour: John M. Boyes); panorama of Alston station viewed from above c1903/4; Haltwhistle station with trains and turntable with Alston Arches over Tyne in background c190s; map; Lambley Viaduct and station on 26 March 1967 with Scottish Rambler crossing it; Slaggyford station c1900; G5 0-4-4T no. 67315 at Alston with passenger train in 1957; BTP 0-4-4BT No. 69 in South Tyne during recovery in 1920; camping coach with Jean Gratton on the steps; A8 4-6-2T No. 2146 mear Broom House with train for Alston (E.E. Smith)

L.A. Summers. The naming of engines: an afterword. 31
Evidence provided via Peter Rance, Chairman of the Great Western Trust on how the names selected for the initial broad gauge locomotives. The evidence comes from a printed tender document of 10 September 1840 issued at Paddington as a Specification of locomotive engines with seven feet driving wheels wherein "The Splashers covering the large wheels shall be neatly made in brass according to drawing (No. 2), and the Name of the Engine shall be put in brass letters upon each side of the framing...". Although parts of the document are reproduced drawing No. 2 is not and this document does not cotain the names to be affiuxed which Summers assumes to have been on a separate list.

Mr. Peppercorn's K1 Class. 32-4
Colour photo-feature: No. 62001 at Darlington; No. 62011 at Alnwick with passenger train for Alnmouth; No. 62052 near Glenfinnan with passenger trai for Mallaig on 21 June 1960; No. 62006 inside Alnmouth terminus in 1965 (David Lawrence); No. 62051 on express near Chelmsford in July 1959 (Alan Chandler); No. 62052 near Lochailort on 21 June 1960; No. 62031 at Fort William on passenger train which included an insulated container and a fish van (G. Pratt)

John White. Remembering the Porthcawl Branch. 35-7
Black & white photographs are all by author. The Porthcawl branch originated as a horse tramway to convet coal from Tywith to the harbour at Porthcawl. It was called the Duffryn Llynvi & Porthcawl Railway and had become part of the GWR by 1873 which constructed a new junction with the main line at Pyle. After WW1 Portcawl grew into a holiday resort, but railway trffic fell in the 1960s and the line closed on 9 September 1963, Illustrations: No. 6435 on 14.30 railmotor being propelled out of Porthcawl for Pyle; panorama of Porthcawl bleak station with its archaic gas lamps;  No. 6435 at Pyle with 17.10 service from Porthcawl on 28 August 1963; No. 6434 at Tondu with 13.40 service to Porthcawl on 8 September 1961; No. 6435 arriving off Tondu branch at Pyle with 13.27 to Porthcawl on 28 August 1963; Nottage Halt with No. 6435 arriving on 26 June 1963; Porthcawl station on 7 September 1963 with No. 80133 on 18.40 to Swansea High Street, No, 6434 on 18.55 to Pyle and Cross Country dmu on 18.30 to Newport High Street 

Brian Topping. Through Summit Tunnel. 38-41
Fireman's (steam locomotive not fire fighting sort) experience of working through the tunnel. Writer was a passed cleaner working at Bury and describes his initial experience of working through Summit Tunnel on a Crab 2-6-0 No. 42730 when he travelled out on tthe cushions to Sowerby shed where he bparded the locomotive and ran light to Mytholmroyd to take over a freight. 8F runs through Bury Knowsley Street (Ray Farrell); 8F No. 48295 on a coal train passing Class 4 2-6-4T No. 42484 on freight in Bury on 26 April 1965 (Ray Farrell); Sowerby Bridge shed on 10 September 1961; WD 2-8-0 No. 90181 exits western end of Summit Tunnel on 13 December 1963 (Ian G. Holt);; Jubilee No. 45717 Dauntless on Liverpool to Newcastle express heads towards Sunnit West Tunnel on 21 December 1960 (Ian G. Holt); Crab No. 2310 exits Wateerbutlee Tunnel (D. Ibbotson); 2P 4-4-0 No. 40684 leaving Bury for Bolton on ordinary passenger train on 8 April 1959;

Alistair F. Nisbet. The end of South Western steam. 42-8
From Waterloo and via Bsingstoke: broad survey with classes liable to be found on pssenger services. Illustrations (all by author and with two exceptions all in in colour: all Pacifics in rebuilt forms) West Country No. 34004 Yeovil on 17.30 to Bournemouth leaving Waterloo on 31 March 1967; down Bournemouth Belle hauled by Merchant Navy No. 35005 Canadian Pacific on 26 August 1964; Batttle of Britain No. 34089 602 Squadron having brought in empty stock into Waterloo on 1 June 1966 (black & white); No. 35008 Orient Line backing into Waterloo  to power 08.30 to Weymouth; No. 80140 bringing empty stock into waterloo passing Vauxhall on 8 March 1964; No. 35030  Elder Dempster Lines, 80015 and 82029 in Waterloo engin dock on 5 April 1967 (b&w)

Philip Atkins. An Edwardian locomotive quadrille. 49-57
The links in locomotive design between the Midland Railway, the North Eastern Railway, the Great Central Railway and the North British Railway. The key person in this was Walter Mackersie Smith and his son, John William Smith. W.M. Smith was a pioneer in the  use of piston valves and took out Patents. NER 2-4-0 No. 340, a two-cylinder compound was so-fitted in 1888. In 1894 an inside cylinder M1 4-4-0 No. 1639 was fitted with piston valves. Neverteless, the NER was slow to adopt piston valves: only the final two S class 4-6-0s were fitted and many of the T class 0-80s were built with slide valves. he Midland Railway was much quicker when John Smith moved to Derby at Johnson's behest and the 1892 series of 4-2-2 were equipped with piston valves, as were all new 4-4-0 designs, but freight locomotives were not equipped until 1911 with the prototype Claa 4. On the Highland Railway the trial by Jones on the Loch class was a failure and within four yeats had to be replaed by slide valves.On the Great Central Railway Pollitt fitted the 11B class 44-4-0 with piston valves and on the NBR Holmes adopted them on the 317 class. Illustrations: NBR Reid 4-4-2 No. 870 Bon-Accord on the 13.55 Edinburgh to Perth (and Inverness) at Waverley c1909; 3CC 4-4-0 No. 1619 (3-cylinder compound) at Scarborough; Johnson 3-cylinder compound No. 2631 with bogie tender at Derby Works; 4-2-2 No. 2601 Princess of Wales in grey workshop livery at Birmingham New Street in late 1899; Pollitt Great Centrl 4-2-2 No. 971 at Manchester Central; MR 4-4-0 No. 999 (colour); NER 4-4-0 R1 class No. 1238 (caption states that photograph reproduced appeared in Locomotive Mag., 1909, 15, page 73 (not quite so Backtrack image is straight elevation, whereas Locomotive Mag. is three-quarter profile!); Robinson Director class No. 430 Purdon Viccars at Gorton Works in 1913; NER V class 4-4-2 No. 532 in November 1903; GCR 4-4-2 No.1092; NER Class S 4-6-0 on freight train at Dalton Bridge on 19 April 1922; GCR 4-6-0 Class 8B No. 1069 at head of train of fish vans (posed photograph); Class 8A 0-8-0 as LNER No. 6139 on empty mineral train at Rugby in August 1925; proposed Johnson Midland Railway 0-8-0 (side elevation diagram); proposed Reid North British Railway 0-8-0 (side elevation diagram); GCR 0-8-4T as LNER No. 6173 on March engine shed; NER 4-8-0T as LNER No. 1353 on Darlington shed on 22 July 1934 (W. Rogerson); restored 4P compound No. 1000 at Nottingham Victoria on RCTS East Midlander on 11 September 1961; GNR (I) V class compound No. 85 Merlin leaving Bangor (Ireland) for Belfast on 15 May 1989 (colour: D.W. Mosley)

Still more men at work  Paul Aitken. 58
Colour photo feature of permanenet way workers (platelayers to ancient Kevin; gangers in the captions) in their high visibility orange clothing at work: at Sheffield on 12 July 2000 shovelling ballast on modern concrete sleepered track to adjust the angle of elevation or cant; Dent station on 18 July 1993 members of gang pushing trolley along track; Crossmyloof on 4 July 1993 unloading ballast from hopper with clouds of dust (Kevin's eldest daughter loves trains but hates the dirt which sometimes comes home on her husband's clothing from being a civil engineer working on railway projects); Shawlands station on cold 27 January 1996 with ganger dropping salt on slippery station platform (West Runton station has more salt than on the beach); King's Cross station on 29 July 2003 with man on a light ladder cleaning the windows of an HST power car. More of these watching men at work (but long after the soft hats and cloggs days) pictures see Volume 30 page 562 and still more fron references thereat

Jeffrey Wells. Life, death and other matters - The Great Western Railway in 1870 - Part Two. 59-61
Part 1 see previous Volume page 714. Illustrations: Pembroke Dock station; Neyland station in 1933; Birmingham Snow Hill station with Birminham Corporation trams in Colmoe Row; Slough station; Awre station; Gresford station c1907

Readers' Forum 62

Lesser London. Graham Smith 
The upper photograph at Farringdon Station on p689 of the November issue of was almost certainly taken during the evening peak in June 1978 – despite the very few passengers visible! The seated passenger is reading the Evening Standard (or was it The New Standard by then?) for which the early edition did not appear on the streets until lunchtime.
The peak hour through passenger trains between the Midland line and Moorgate were restricted for many years to just three or four trains during each peak in the direction of the traffic flow, with appropriate ECS working in the opposite direction. Latterly, these were usually all stations workings between Luton or St. Albans and Moorgate. The former peak hour service to and from the Great Northern suburban stations was considerably more substantial, but that had ceased several years earlier when the service was diverted via the former Northern City Line.
Platform 4 at Farringdon station would then only be used by passengers for the three Midland Line slow trains during Monday to Friday evening peak - the platform would have been closed off at other times of the day. With regular Metropolitan/Circle Line trains from Platform 2 to King's Cross St. Pancras and more frequent, often semi-fast, trains from St. Pancras to St. Albans, Luton and Bedford, the use made of the three through slow trains to St. Albans/Luton, especially from King's Cross Met (Pentonville Road), Farringdon and Barbican stations was latterly not very substantial. The trains were perhaps more popular for passengers joining at Moorgate. The presence of a London Transport official is to ensure train doors were closed properly before departure and also collect tickets from any passenger who might have chosen to travel locally to Farringdon from Moorgate or Barbican by the BR train. When DMU operation was first introduced on the St. Pancras-Bedford suburban services from January 1959, it was found that the bodies on the Rolls-engined units (with epicyclic gearboxes) allocated were slightly wider than previous standard DMUs, and earlier non-corridor suburban coaches. This would have been a safety hazard if it were necessary to evacuate a Moorgate train on the steeply-graded curve on the section of the line between Kentish Town and King's Cross Met, which passes beneath St. Pancras station, as the tunnel wall clearance would not permit the train doors to be opened. As a result, the Midland Line trains to and from Moorgate remained worked by loco-hauled suburban stock until the early 1970s (retaining some steam haulage until 1962), then by Cravens-bodied DMUs made redundant by line closures elsewhere. Subsequently, a series of unexplained fire incidents resulted in the replacement of the Cravens units by a miscellany of DMU stock with narrower bodies, from elsewhere – hence the 'Llandudno' destination display visible in the photograph.
Eventually, electrification of the Bedford-St. Pancras suburban services in the early 1980s changed everything and Platforms 3 and 4 at Farringdon saw regular, all-day passenger train services.

Lesser London . Andrew Colebourne
The picture of Bow station on p686 of Backtrack must have been taken before November 1939 when the trams in Bow Road were replaced by trolleybuses. According to the train service was suspended in May 1944 because of bomb damage but the station remained open, served by a replacement bus service, until one month later when a V1 flying bomb severely damaged the station buildings, resulting in the demolition of the upper storeys of the central block. The apple advertisement is mentioned in the caption to the picture of Mildmay Park station. I think it dates the image to 1975/76 when there was an 'English Apples and Pears' promotion. There was a Routemaster bus that was painted in an overall advertising livery as part of that promotion. One of the routes it worked was the 171 which ran past the disused station.

Great Western eight-coupled tanks. Michael Horton 
Rer picture of No.5237 on p675 (November), I can confirm, that the said locomotive was spotted at Wolverhampton Works on 15 April. I believe that date of the photograph was 1 April 1962, as the same shot was published in another magazine giving this information. It was very unusual for this Class of locomotive to appear at Oxley, for the reason that the article stated – small coal bunker. How it got to Oxley is a mystery? It could have been towed to Oxley: it may have worked unaccompanied on an incoming freight, or it was assisting another locomotive on a similar freight, but I believe that it was towed to Oxley, as part of a freight. If it was towed to Oxley alone, why did it not go direct to the Works? Maybe someone has got more information on this issue and I shall be very interested to find out the full facts.

The West Coast Main Line electrification . Stephen G, Abbott
To add to Alan Taylor's excellent review (November) the WCML scheme had its shortcomings. After resignalling Manchester-Styal-Crewe the next phases, the lines through Stockport, Liverpool-Crewe and Crewe-Nuneaton used numerous, mostly pre-existing, signal boxes as did the Potteries and Northampton loops. Presumably this was to trim costs in the face of threatened curtailment of the scheme, later sections resuming the practice of large power boxes. Islands of local control remain to this day on the Liverpool line and at Stockport — the large LNWR boxes there stand testament to a missed opportunity.
With lack of foresight there was much waste: far too many sidings and yards were wired, a district electric depot built at Rugby soon became redundant as few trains started or terminated there, Castlethorpe station north of Wolverton was rebuilt then closed in September 1964 (the platforms survive) and the mail facilities at Tamworth were largely wasted as the West Coast TPO was diverted via Birmingham New Street in March 1967, interchanging traffic there instead. On 18 April 1966, en route back to college in the Wirral, I travelled into Rugby from Market Harborough on a line sadly axed a few weeks later, before enjoying a high-speed electric run to Crewe — which made one feel that there was a future for railways after all

The West Coast Main Line electrification. Robert Day 
Re Alan Taylor's article in the November issue, as my late father was engaged in much of the signalling work connected with the electrification and the conversion to colour light signalling. Based in the London Midland Region signalling drawing office on Nelson Street in Derby, he produced plans for, and then went out on the ground to instal and test, many of the schemes. At various times he worked at Macclesfield, Stafford and Euston, putting in full weekends, especially over the notoriously hard winter of 1962-63. Taylor's article omits to mention that!
My father's experience also showed up the reality behind the four-year delay in obtaining Parliamentary approval for the northern extension of electrification from Weaver Junction to Glasgow. Although the engineering study started in 1966, as far as my father was concerned, no new work came his way for electrification; rather, he was asked one night in 1966 to put in an hour's overtime, to do a rush job on the proposal to close the Midland main line through the Peak from Matlock to Chinley and single the line from Ambergate to Matlock. "In an hour's overtime" he later said "I put fifty blokes out of work, and that was just the signalling staff." This upset him. His managers were unable to give him any reassurance about the likelihood of more work putting the modernised railway in, but suggested that there would be more work in taking old railway out. He accordingly could see no more future in railway work and left BR later that year to take his skills to the construction industry.,

The GWR in Wirral. Mike Lamport
My old chum Robin Leleux's response to the quest for information about this venerable cross-country train in the November edition prompts me to add the following. Between 1958 and 1960 while my father was station master at Selling in Kent we made regular family rail trips from there to visit his parents who lived in Godalming in Surrey. Normally, these trips to the see the grandparents were made via London but, on one particularly memorable occasion, Dad announced that this time we were going take 'the Continental' or 'Conti' as the local rail staff in Kent called it ( It did have that Dover portion after all) from Canterbury West. How exciting the prospect sounded to this ten-year-old fan with visions of one of Mr. Bullied's Pacific's sweeping us through the hop fields and into that uncharted territory beyond Tonbridge. The reality, as I stood on up platform at Canterbury West platform craning my neck to see our engine coming down the line from Margate, was something of an anti-climax. Instead of Pacific, the locomotive was a rather nondescript Maunsell UI Mogul. The train itself, however, made up for this by being formed of a number of smart carmine and cream coaches which, from someone brought up on a diet of Southern green, made it feel special after all. Years later, when Dad returned to his Surrey roots as assistant station master at Guildford, he still spoke of the 'Conti' while his staff there, as Roger correctly reported, called it 'the Birkenhead'.

The Birmingham West Suburban Railway. James Lancelot 
It was a pleasure to read Geoffrey Skelsey's thoroughly-researched article on the Birmingham West Suburban Railway (November). The figures he quotes tell a sorry tale; but I am not sure that they altogether allay the disgust I felt (and still feel) at BR's treatment of the route.
At its lowest ebb, my local station of King's Norton was served by a mere five trains a day on Mondays to Fridays – two from Redditch and one from Worcester and beyond into Birmingham in the morning and two to Redditch in the evening. This was against a background of the recent introduction of one-man buses on the parallel route which did not give change and which were delayed both by the need for the driver to sell tickets and the extra congestion caused by city-centre reconstruction. Passengers who might have been tempted to defect from the bus to the train were dissuaded by the closure of the entrance to the station from Cotteridge which otherwise would have been convenient for the local shops and bus stops (today, this is the principal entrance to the station). Such a situation, combined with the lack of any attempt to tap into potential traffic from Longbridge, Cadbury's, the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, the University and the preparatory schools in Edgbaston leads one to suspect that BR were not interested in keeping the local service alive – a suspicion strengthened by their proposal to close the Redditch branch and close the BWSR stations no sooner than Redditch had been nominated a new town. The transformation of the service in 1978 was a wonderful step, but the potential had been there long before.

Harry Pitts and the Aldersgate Explosion . Andrew Colebourn
In the caption to the picture of the locomotive Edmund Burke on p697 of the November issue; the train is approaching Farringdon station on the outer rail, not Aldersgate. The location can be seen in the background of the picture on p695.

Harry Pitts and the Aldersgate Explosion. Michael J. Smith,  
The electric train in the photograph on p694 is of District rather than Metropolitan stock. At this time both companies shared the operation of the Inner Circle.

'Rather unprincipled persons'. Frank Walmsley
Re A.J. Mullay's article on Ministers of Transport in the September/October issues made compelling reading. Barbara Castle did a long stint as MP for Blackburn. Scouts at Queen Elizabeth's Grammar School were grateful to her when she overturned a British Rail refusal to stop an express at Preston so allowing the troop and equipment to journey to Scotland for an annual camp.
In her autobiography Fighting all the way (MacMillan 1993) Barbara described her appointment as Minister of Transport. "The task I faced was gargantuan. In pleading with me to accept the post Harold [Wilson 1 said to me 'Your job is to produce the integrated transport policy we promised in our manifesto', adding characteristically 'I could work something out myself, given half an hour'. This was an oversimplification de luxe." In the same paragraph she went on to explain that the department had no tradition for planning transport as a whole. Its work was compartmentalised under three deputy secretaries dealing with highways, urban olicy and a miscellany in which railways were ped with ports, shipping and nationalised roa rt. "It seemed a chaotic system to me."
The Beeching Report was waiting for her on arrival. Closures had begun and there was uproar among Labour's rank and file which had always been pro-rail. Barbara was determined not to allow market forces to destroy a railway system on which so many people were dependent, to say nothing of turning traffic on to overcrowded roads. Chapter 15 'Full Steam Ahead' should be made compulsory reading for all Ministers of Transport on the day of their appointment.

Winter wonderland. David Rodgers. rear cover
8F 2-8-0 No. 48191 in highly polished state hauls short Topley Pike to Buxton freight in light snow on 24 February 1968. See previous volume for letter from Alan Eatwell on how No. 48191 was kept in toy railway condition and further portraits of this beautiful locomotive