Vol 36 No 1 - January 2022

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

1 min
grouping britain’s railways

RAILWAYS IN RETROSPECT No.7 Creating the ‘Big Four’ in 1923 “The Grouping was unnecessary, its conception flawed, its planning muddled, and its execution clumsy.” That’s the controversial conclusion reached in this new publication from Pendragon Publishing, the first history of the 1923 Grouping to be published in book form for many years. Lavishly illustrated, this book explores why the idea of compact, zonal, railway groups quickly emerged as something quite different, with new rival companies having no territorial rights, and with competition and duplication of routes remaining unchanged. Employing a blend of official archives, personal memoirs and contemporary publications – from The Times to the Boy’s Own Paper – this unprecedented development in Britain’s transport history is subjected to clinical examination. 88 pages, card covers. | ISBN: 978-1-899816-22-4…

5 min
ship to shore

If you cast your mind back you might recall the once oft-quoted term ‘integrated public transport’. It was bandied about a lot, mainly by politicians, when the better management of buses and trains was something generally to be aspired to. It even surfaced in Yes, Minister, when the Rt.Hon. Jim Hacker was looking to do something ‘popular’, at least until the Permanent Secretary for Administrative Affairs persuaded him it would be a ‘courageous’ course of action to embark upon, whereupon he shied away from taking it. But you know the sort of ideas that got tossed around: buses connecting with trains, buses connecting with each other, trains connecting with each other, buses and trains connecting with each other, tickets which could be available on any service – wild ideas, I…

2 min

10 min
forgotten branches of north east wales part five the mold to brymbo line

Historical background As in the previous parts of the ‘Forgotten Branches of North Wales Wales’ articles, the initial incentives to construct railways in these areas of difficult terrain were primarily to transport the varied mineral products of the area’s numerous mining and quarrying concerns to their further processing plants and/or for onward shipping to their mainly English markets. The Mold to Brymbo line was certainly no exception as along its final route there existed at least 30 sites which were either producing coal, cannel, * brick, tile, fire clay, terra cotta, limestone, silica, lead and iron ore just to name the recorded products. Coupled to the above outputs there were several processing concerns such as iron and lead ore smelting and brickworks etc. Most of these concerns were situated in and…

29 min
the earl and the honourable lady the nobility and the railways of huddersfield

The 5th Earl Fitzwilliam owned Wentworth Woodhouse, Britain’s longest stately mansion, and had enormous wealth increasing by the week. The Honourable Lady was his sister-in-law Isabella Ramsden, whose family famously claimed to own the whole of Huddersfield except for one house. Without these two aristocrats, the town would never have had one of the finest of all classical stations. Born in 1786, the 5th Earl had a spectacular stroke of luck. The Fitzwilliams’ Yorkshire estates – over 20,000 acres in total – were found to straddle the Barnsley seam, the main artery of the Yorkshire coalfield. The discovery coincided with massive demand for coal fostered by the industrial revolution and construction of canals to transport the ‘black diamonds’ to developing West Riding towns. When the Earl came of age in 1807 he…

22 min
aspects of the manchester & leeds railway part two

Photographs from the author’s collection unless otherwise stated. The second opening – Leeds to Hebden Bridge “On Monday last [5th October] pursuant to public notice, the great and important line of railway opened for the conveyance of passengers from Leeds to Hebden Bridge – thus completing, with the exception of nine miles, the entire distance from Leeds to Manchester.” The Standard, 12th October 1840 A traveller from Leeds journeyed ten miles from Leeds by the North Midland Railway (NMR) to Normanton, where the train joined the Manchester & Leeds line to Wakefield, 27 miles from Hebden Bridge. The unfinished nine miles referred to in The Standard’s report lay, of course, between Hebden Bridge and Littleborough, and included the troublesome Summit Tunnel and the equally problematic 250-yard Charlestown Tunnel, west of Hebden Bridge. The Charlestown…