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Backtrack Vol 35 No 7 - July 2021

Backtrack, Britain's Leading Historical Railway Journal, covers all aspects of railway history from its earliest days through to more recent events up to around ten years before now including, early railway history from the 'pre-Stephenson' era, steam, diesel and electric locomotive history, railway company history, railway carriages and wagons, railway stations, railway ships, hotels & road vehicles, railway economic and social history, railway publicity and advertising. Backtrack's contributors include many of today's leading railway history writers. From the beginning the magazine has maintained a reputation for its production values and each issue contains a wealth of photographs reproduced to the highest standards, including a generous selection of historic colour. Published monthly, Backtrack is THE magazine for all who are interested in British railway history.

United Kingdom
Warners Group Publications Plc
12 Issues

in this issue

5 min

Lights – Camera – Action … Going to the cinema to watch a film isn’t something we’ve been doing much in recent times; in fact, as I write this (in May) my last evening out was to go to the film night in the local community centre in February last year. In any case, going out ‘to the pictures’ hasn’t been the occasion it used to be for quite some time. There isn’t much of a classy experience, in my considered opinion, in attending a screening in one of the in-vogue multiplex cinematic emporia where you are force-fed a long series of trailers for movies you probably aren’t the least inclined to watch, followed by Pearl & Dean commercials for products you aren’t the least inclined to afford, before eventually having…

1 min
dark times at lime street

16 min
summer saturdays to the coast part one

‘Let’s go to the Seaside’ The British summer holiday was very much a creation of the railways. Until the mid- 1800s only the upper classes could entertain the idea of a holiday. For such, escaping from the heat and stench of city life to the family seat in the country was normal, while for the young aristocrat, ‘The Grand Tour’ of Europe was all but obligatory. Arrival of the railways made it possible to reach much of the country within a few hours. Of course, in the nineteenth century long before paid holidays were introduced, it was still only the wealthier members of society who could contemplate such sport. Yet, as the fruits of the industrial revolution created a new mercantile middle class, increasing numbers could find both the time and…

17 min
a derailment without apparent cause

Sometimes a railway accident occurs for no apparent reason and in spite of all the technology available to the investigators of the time the cause remains a mystery. Such a one was that which occurred at Buddon on the Dundee & Arbroath Joint (D&AJ) line in 1924. Her Majesty’s Railway Inspectorate (HMRI) has been, right from the very earliest days, adept at investigating and determining the cause of all kinds of railway accidents although at first it had no statutory duty to do so; nevertheless the inspectors were sufficiently concerned for the safety of the travelling public that they took it upon themselves to carry out investigations and to provide reports on their activities to the Board of Trade, their employers. For those who would like to learn more about their…

23 min
making tracks british trans port films and the history of british railw ays 1950-1983

On a Saturday night in 1952 a young couple has gone to the cinema to see The Gift Horse, a new wartime drama starring Trevor Howard. As usual, the feature is accompanied by a short. As the lights go down and the film starts, a patrician voice intones “Spring in England, West Cornwall to be exact. Broccoli is the crop of the moment, and there is a rush for it.” For the next 30 minutes the couple is entertained by a film outlining the problems that transporting the broccoli harvest causes the nation’s railways. The film was Train Time, one of the early films produced by British Transport Films (BTF), established in 1950 by the British Transport Commission (BTC). It was headed by Edgar Anstey who had been involved in the…

24 min
tragedy, trespass and trivia on the tanfield branch, north eastern railway

The Tanfield Railway, running passenger trains as a preserved railway on the trackbed of the Tanfield Waggonway (as well as using the 1854 Marley Hill engine shed and yard of the Pontop & Jarrow Railway) since 1977, has a justifiable claim to be the oldest railway in the world. The history of the original Tanfield Waggonway using horse-drawn wagons on wooden rails has been extremely well documented elsewhere, and the impressive scale of the development on the line in the eighteenth century has been well preserved. The wooden rails lasted until 1837 when the line was taken over by the Brandling Railway, which took three years to relay the line with iron rails from Dunston to Tanfield Moor and introduced a series of stationary steam engine-worked inclines and self-acting inclines,…