Heritage traction on the main line

Trains operated by individuals or small private companies have, for more than 50 years, provided a welcome variation to what we can normally see in everyday service. EVAN GREEN-HUGHES looks at how these workings came about and explains how they could provide variety on almost any post-1960s layout.

WHEN THE railways of Britain were nationalised in 1948, the state saw no place for private enterprise in the running of the country’s transport system. The population was given the service that the state thought fit to provide but if they didn’t like it then it was no good looking elsewhere, for what had been offered was what it was going to get. Only two decades later and with the system decimated by the Beeching cuts the country saw the withdrawal of the final steam engines, the decision having been taken at central level that modernisation was to take place.

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