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The May/ June issue of TRACTION (no. 245) will be published on Friday 6th April.


One of the types of traffic that has disappeared from our railways is the travelling post office train, where mail was sorted on board as the train hurtled through the night. If you ever saw the frantic activity at places like Carlisle and Crewe, when the ‘ Up Special’ TPO appeared, it’s a sight you’ll never forget. Mick Humphrys, being based at Euston, drove the TPOs north from the Capital and recounts his experiences driving electric locomotives on the TPOs as far as Crewe.


The humble diesel multiple unit was often overlooked by the enthusiast, who tended to be attracted to the thousands of main line diesels that BR operated. However, from the late 1950s, they became an essential part of the railway and are now viewed by many as just as interesting as locomotives. Alex Fisher’s article about the DMU depots of British Rail attempts to give this aspect of the railway its proper prominence.


Another feature of railway operation that has gone is the local freight train. David Ratcliffe looks at north Manchester in the dying days of such trains.


Hopefully, by the time this issue appears, the chances of disruptive snow will have diminished, so perhaps it’s time to look at one of those days when the chance to photograph the railways in the ‘white stuff’ occurred. In December 1978, Steve Randall had the chance to photograph trains near Bradford upon Avon and was surprised by the variety of traffic.


Staying in Wiltshire, David McPherson returns with the second part of his article about Swindon Shed in the nineteen sixties. Moving a little further west, Gavin Morrison’s photographs of that great railway station, Bristol Temple Meads, take us back to the days of locomotive hauled trains in the 1980s and 1990s.


In our European section, Michael Watkins continues his series of articles about the electric locomotives of the Swiss railways. This time he looks at some of the real giants of the railway, including the articulated ‘Crocodiles’ which had a life in traffic of over 60 years!


In TRACTION MODELLING, James Smith describes how he took a 4mm scale model of a ‘Clayton’ and rebuilt it to represent the prototype DHP1, or ‘Super Clayton’. This issue’s featured layout is a model of an imaginary main line suburban station at Earl’s Court in London built by Terry Tew.


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