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TRACTION 261 Rail Blue Special Issue


steverabone
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Welcome to this rather special issue of TRACTION in which we celebrate the Rail Blue years of British Rail. It was an era which many readers of TRACTION remember with great affection as, somehow, those years of the 1970s and 1980s managed to combine something of the old steam age railway with an increasingly modern one.

 

We start with the short period when pairs of Class 50s were introduced to speed up the principal services north of Crewe on the main line to Scotland. Jon Littlewood and David Clough take us back to those heady days when high speed diesel traction roared over the northern hills.

 

David Hayes concludes his look at the Midland Main Line using photos by Kevin Lane; in this issue it is the turn of the southern part of the line into London between Harpenden and St. Pancras.

 

I’m sure most enthusiasts have tales of unexpected events on their travels by train when something unusual happened to add interest. Barrie Rigg talks about ‘Those occasional oddities’ on his journeys around the north of England.

 

We start a two part feature by David Hayes about the distinctive tanker trains run for the British Oxygen Company. The first part looks at the 1970s and 1980s with the later years following in the next issue.

 

Staying with freight traffic, John Dedman recalls the short period in 1985 when Class 45s were scheduled to power Severn Tunnel Junction to Eastleigh Speedlink freights.

 

The ‘Deltics’ were, of course, no strangers to Scotland although, as a rule, they were largely confined to the East Coast Main Line between Berwick and Edinburgh. Richard MacLennan has looked at how widely the Class 55s actually travelled on lines north of the Border with some surprising conclusions.

 

Martin Axford recounts his photographic experiences with different cameras in his younger days with particular emphasis on his favourites, the Class 33s.

 

Finally Gavin Morrison presents a selection of Rail Blue images ranging across Britain from Penzance to Georgemas Junction.

 

In TRACTION MODELLING we feature a fascinating layout which imagines that the Somerset and Dorset Line did not close after all but was modernised and survived into the Rail Blue period. There’s also a detailing feature about weathering a Class 40 as a review of the new Bachmann Class 414 2-HAP unit.

 

Edited by steverabone
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Well done to the TRACTION team for producing a wonderful themed issue, within which I'm very pleased to have had material included. A nice touch is that the cover shot of issue 261 features 40061 (formerly 261). I, for one, hope that this special edition is well-received by the readership and leads to further themed issues of TRACTION appearing in future. Cheers.

Edited by David J Hayes
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Well done!  I thought this was a particularly good edition.  I especially enjoyed the features on peaks on Severn Tunnel to Eastleigh Speedlink services, the 'BOC trains; feature and Martin Axford's reminiscences of his spotting days; you can never have too many Cromptons in an issue!  On a personal note I was  particularly pleased to see the photograph of my late Grandfather's house beside the line, just shy of Skew Bridge, probably one of the most photographed houses in Salisbury, albeit only accidentally! (the picture of 50043 heading west out of Salisbury on p.58 - Martin only mentions the Cathedral :-) ).  My grandfather was a career railwayman  and my Dad grew up in that house, which was a railway property at the time.  I have fond memories of sitting up in the window closest to the line and feeling the whole place vibrate with the passage of each train. Thanks again and looking forward to the next edition.

 

Best wishes, 

 

Paul

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On 29/11/2020 at 01:03, David J Hayes said:

Well done to the TRACTION team for producing a wonderful themed issue, within which I'm very pleased to have had material included. A nice touch is that the cover shot of issue 261 features 40061 (formerly 261). I, for one, hope that this special edition is well-received by the readership and leads to further themed issues of TRACTION appearing in future. Cheers.

 

 

Looking forward to getting this one, as I remember the BOC trains on the LMR at least.  During the 1982 strikes they were some of the most important trains to run, keeping the hospitals supplied with oxygen. I recall us going light to North Wembley with a class 47 to work some empties north.  IIRC we were relieved at Bescot by an onward crew taking it to Ditton.  Also looked forward to seeing and hearing the empties from Monmore Green (6F57 David ??) thrashing past Bescot with an English Electric 4 on the front. 

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