Vol 35 No 8 - August 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.

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12 Nummer

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5 min

One of our articles last month looked at the ‘traditional’ summer holiday and the whole business of reaching your destination resort by train, in particular the West of England; the concluding part is in this issue. The railway embarked on holiday specials on an epic scale and our author looks at the challenges faced, not least by passengers enduring lengthy journeys from London, the Midlands and the North as late running tested their patience to the limit and beyond. We might, as enthusiasts, salivate over double-headed trains on the Devon banks, even pairs of ‘Kings’, and note how often a restaurant car was included to provide civilised catering, but we shall see that going on holiday required stoical resolution. At least there was the exciting prospect of arriving at the…

25 min
‘the branch’ – the kent coast railway company

After many vicissitudes, mainly financial, the East Kent Railway had opened between Chatham and Faversham on 25th January 1858 and crossed the Medway into the South Eastern Railway station at Strood two months later. With extensions authorised into both London and Dover, despite best efforts by the SER to prevent them, in 1859 the East Kent metamorphosised into the London, Chatham & Dover Railway. By virtue of running powers west of Bickley over the MidKent Railway and the West End of London & Crystal Palace Railway the Chatham got into the Brighton side of London’s Victoria station on 3rd December 1860. Faversham to Canterbury had opened five months earlier but it was not until 22nd July 1861 that the company finally reached Dover. The South Eastern had been in the Channel…

4 min
readers’ forum

Summer Saturdays to the coast Articles appearing in Backtrack have the wonderful effect of reviving long-lost memories of past rail travel – the article on ‘Summer Holidays to the Coast’ being a case in point. My grandchildren could not believe me when I told them the following tale. Our family lived about a mile way from Welling station in South East London, whence my father commuted daily to London. We regularly took our holidays either in Swanage or on the Isle of Wight. Money being tight after World War I, we stayed on a quite basic caravan site. What is unbelievable these days is that we sent our luggage ‘in advance’. My father loaded our cases on to my grandfather’s wheelbarrow. He and I trundled down to Welling station and booked our luggage…

31 min
rocket, the liverpool & manchester railway and ‘public relations’

Rocket, the prototype of the modern railway locomotive, is one of the most famous and recognisable railway locomotives. Indeed the name Rocket has become synonymous with early locomotives and this author has heard both Planet (1830), Locomotion (1825) and even Steam Elephant (1815) referred to as Rocket. Rocket appears in the ‘Thomas’ stories both as itself and as the character ‘Stephen’. Rocket even appears on bank notes, albeit erroneously in conjunction with George Stephenson. This fame and recognisability is perhaps thanks on the one hand to Samuel Smiles’s biography of the Stephensons, but on the other to the excellent 190-year-old ‘PR’ of the Liverpool & Manchester Railway. The L&MR, and its own success, did much to publicise not only the Rainhill Trials but the winning entry Rocket and its builder…

4 min
following the cumbrian coast

The Furness Railway line, leaving the West Coast route at Carnforth, is one of the most scenic in England, taking a course via Grange-over Sands, Barrow, Ravenglass and St. Bees to Whitehaven, connecting there with continuing tracks to Workington and Carlisle. Its setting is around Morecambe Bay and close to the Irish Sea with spectacular river crossings and the Lake District mountains in the background. GAVIN MORRISON captured these scenes at a number of spectacular locations.…

3 min
mr. gresley’s pacifics – as they were

The first two of Mr. H. N. Gresley’s Class A1 4-6-2s took to the rails in the final year of the Great Northern Railway in 1922 and production was continued by the London & North Eastern Railway until 52 were in service by 1925. The design was taken forward with the fitting of higher pressure boilers with larger superheaters in a new batch of 27 locomotives between 1928 and 1935; these were the A3 Class and the earlier engines were rebuilt to that arrangement over the years up to 1948. These photographs show Mr. Gresley’s Pacifics (he wasn’t knighted until 1936) during the LNER years.…