Great Western Railway Journal
The last ever Great Western Railway Journal, a sad event from many points of view. This is I think a vintage issue that covers a very pleasing range of subjects, the last part of Castles in traffic by John Copsey, more St Ives in detail, Newbury Racecourse goods train operations, a concrete bin, Titley and Bullocks Mill Crossing, 1617 on the Abingdon and the final part of traffic at Birmingham Snow Hill. Paul Karau drops a strong hint that there will be additional "specials" in the future, but that they are unlikely to be available through the news trade. Going back to Snow Hill, the article in this issue is both visually stunning and poignant, covering the complexities of the control office, the early installation of MAS and the run down of what had been magnificent facilities as through traffic was concentrated at New Street following electrification. I know that hindsight is a wonderful thing, and that the motor car appeared to be the future in the mid 1960s, but nonetheless I think that the destruction of Birmingham Snow Hill and its routes ranks as one of the most monumentaly stupid things that the British have ever done to themselves, and God knows we have done and continue to do stupendously stupid things on so many levels.
A superb feature on Bow ended carriages, Newbury goods yard, part 6 of Snow Hill, part 4 of Castles in traffic, labelling passengertrains, Blunsdon Road Crossing in pictures and letters - it will be missed!
Feedback and appreciation from readers regarding the impending "closure" dominate the editorial, which preceeds the fabulous final part of the Snow Hill series of articles, this covering operations and traffic after the Second World War. Other articles feature 4259 in close up at Wolverhampton, more beautiful and detailed views of St Ives station, passenger train operations at Newbury and "Lad Porter at Yelverton" from an interview of Larry Crozier by Chris Turner. Finally a letters section featuring a brilliant and illustrated piece on coachboards from reader Colin Jenkins in South Africa. There is no doubt that the old Great Western was a very fine institution, with Snow Hill arguably its greatest triumph, and this issue does it full justice from beginning to end.
A splendid article on Melksham Station, St Ives station in achingly wonderful detail, Part 3 of Castles in traffic, "The Great Bear" including a pull out frame plan and informative letters from readers who were there, as it were. John Copsey anounces hs retirement from editorship and there will be just three more issues in the current format. O for a time machine...
Part two of Castles in traffic and the fourth part of traffic at Snow Hill are the major articles in this issue, in addition to John Lewis on the manufacture of gas for coach lighting. Two other delightful articles are Chris Turner recounting the story of Bob Ashton and his family at Brittania Crossing on the Kingswear Branch and Richard Watts recalling schoolboy memories of the Abingdon branch, featuring a shotgun, hot dogs, bangers and pagodas.
The final part of the 45XX series, traffic at Birmingham Snow Hill, water troughs in winter and a lovely feature on St Ives featuring plans, detailed photographs and detailed memories.
The first part of an extended study of Birmingham Snow Hill, Laira in the Fifties, Wartime on Hatton Bank and more on the 45XX Class at work, including some very decent drawings, two cross sections and a frame plan, all very informative. A good crop of letters too.
The continuing quality and detail that this magazine comes up with is breathtaking, so many years after the demise of the subjects that it is concerned with. 45XXs at work, Bananas at Barry, Banbury Goods, Hatton Bank, Worcester running shed and a truly fascinating account of the politics of the General Managers office at Paddington over a very interesting period.
Part 2 of Worcester Shed and part 3 of goods operations Banbury continue from earlier issues while Stourport on Severn, banana traffic at Avonmouth and wartime on Hatton bank are new subjects.
A detailed look at Worcester running shed, the story of the second gas turbine locomotive (complete with pretty decent drawings), a detailed look at Banbury's goods operations, a day at Dezizes recounted and a visually stunning visit to Chalford with Mike Fenton, which includes some beautiful colour photographs. Wonderful as ever.
Another slice of proper railway, goods operation at Banbury, part 3 of the ROD class in traffic, Tyesley depot and its locomotive work and a really interesting feature on the "Gas Turbine Era" plus letters.
Four main features in this issue, two delightful explorations of Liskeard and Newbury, junction stations set in very different locations, Tyesley Locomotives and their work in the Birmingham district and a third part of ROD locomotives in traffic. As my life passes by and the more I look at pictures such as those in this issue of Great Western Railway Journal, the more I find myself thinking of Adrian Vaughan's assertion; "end of steam, end of civilisation". Overly pessimistic for sure and I expect that the two are unconnected, but it makes you wonder...
Nice and rural(ish), the "Westbury Top Job" by the late Gerry Parkins describes operating the Weymouth line, including some lovely pictures of the small stations along the route. Tyesley locomotive depot, the working of Moreton Cutting sidings, an article on the ROD locomotives in traffic and a page of Great Western nameplate lettering.
Chapter and verse on GWR point rodding, an extended article on West Ealing in the 1930s, express traffic working over the Northern Main Line, working a trip to Morris Cowley and losing the train staff near Swindon - a pleasingly varied issue.
A great issue I think, Chris Turner tells us more about a guard's life on the Oxford to Princes Risborough route, part two of Witney (a fascinating place with two stations), Newport Mon, Milcote in some detail, part three of the 51XXs at work and a delightful article on a gurad getting left behind and walking across the Saltash bridge. All concluded with a really quite stunning full page colour picture of 9709 on milk tanks at West Ealing in 1961 - a joy to behold.
An extended piece on Witney and the Witney Railway, passing Solihull, more 51XXs at work, positioning of water cranes, the fading years at Cricklade and a jaw droppingly lovely colour picture of an auto train leaving Ebley Crossing Halt by Roy Denison. This is a nicely rural and visually appealing issue of a wonderful journal - long may it continue.
Main articles are the 51XXs at work, a detailed examination of the development of Oxford South Goods and a trip along the branch from Paignton to Kingswear in the 1950s, (still with us but quite changed from the times recalled here) In addition there are more Cambrian 0-6-0 pictures, photographic glimpses of Knightwick, Cholsey and Moulsford and Didcot, plus lots of letters.
We are well out in the country with this issue, an extended article on Cambrian 0-6-0s in traffic, part two of branch line operation from Newton Abbot and an interesting piece on the Long Rock to Penzance stretch of the Cornish main line. Also featured are express workings over the northern main line and a colour feature on Iver.
Worcester Locomotive Works, Express working on the Northern main line in 1937-38, Pangbourne in the 1940s and branch line goods working in Newton Abbot, featuring some breathtaking photographs.
Having completed the extensive survey of all things Paddington in recent issues, we are treated to a "glimpse" of Wiveliscombe Station in the 1950s in this issue, courtesy of Colin metcalfe. 12 pages, a signalling diagram, an OS map extract and some of the nicest photographs I've seen, all taken by the author - much more than a glimpse. Also Bordesley and Tyseley sheds are explored, the English Division 56XXs are given a good going over, more breakdown cranes, Moreton Cutting and letters. I've got to go back to Wiveliscombe, on page 151 a wonderful photograph of the two signalmen taken on the box steps whilst changing shifts, just look at their faces, their dress, their pose - whatever criticism one may make of rose tinted nostalgia I can't help thinking there's something very good in that picture that the current "great and good" in this country haven't got a single clue about.
The final part of operations at Paddington, extending up to the diesel era and even including some views showing the "Blue Pullman", the final part of the series on horseboxes and the "Bulldogs" in their last years, plus three "bonus" views of Honeybourne in the 1950s.
Highlights are part 1 of "Bulldogs At Work" and Vastern Road Yard in Reading by Chris Turner - an excellent source for detail of any period freight yard. Also GWR Horse traffic part 4 and the evolution of the 44XX class, on the cover two super snow scenes at Pangbourne - lovely.
Reading goods, 44XXs in traffic and the wonder that was Honeybourne, an absolutely enormous installation that has been rationalised almost beyond recognition. Actually it has recently undergone a miraculous rennaissance as part of the Cotswold re-doubling project, but is still a shadow of what was.
The first and major part of a series on Honeybourne station and junctions, showings its development and decline, "modern" horse boxes, a useful piece on 6 ton travelling steam cranes including scale drawings and Vale of Rheidol locos in colour.
A major piece on passenger operations at Paddington and the earlier GWR horse boxes occupy the majority of this issue.
Passenger pilot operations at Reading, part five of the ongoing Paddington article together with a lovely colour photo feature on Thame Station and Iver in the snow.
Part Four of passenger operations at Paddington, a photographic jolly at Dainton, the first part of an extended series on Horse traffic and an interesting insight into an aspect of carriage and wagon work.
S&T maintenance on the Cheddar Valley route and a detailed look at the Worcester "Vinegar Branch" are two relatively local features, also part two of gates at level crossings including scale drawings of both gates and equipment and the Hawksworth "Counties" at work.