Join us and delve into the archives to discover the stories of locomotive classes large and small, learn how the railway worked, and why it was built in this amalgamation of the popular Reality Check and Railway Realism sections from Hornby Magazine.
Heritage railways are now an everyday part of life – but 70 years ago when volunteers took over the isolated Talyllyn Railway in Wales the idea of amateurs running trains was considered not only controversial but also completely crackpot, as EVAN GREEN-HUGHES describes.
At the turn of the 20th century, the 4-4-0 was the most popular wheel arrangement for passenger work, so it was natural that when the South Eastern & Chatham Railway was looking to upgrade its fleet it opted for some, with the resulting ‘D’ class amongst the most handsome locomotives of the period, as EVAN GREEN-HUGHES describes.
During the 1950s and 1960s the Southern Region massively extended its electrified network, and in doing so introduced a number of new classes of Electric Multiple Unit, with one of the least numerous of these being the 4-BEP which was designed to provide catering on services on the South Coast lines. EVAN GREEN-HUGHES looks into the history of this small but unusual class.
The 1930s saw remarkable advances in railway technology, which produced improved journey times and better comfort for travellers. One of the most progressive trains of this time was the London Midland & Scottish Railway’s ‘Coronation Scot’ - an initiative that war cut short, as EVAN GREEN-HUGHES explains.
Soaring high into the Pennines in spectacular scenery, the Settle & Carlisle Railway has always held a special place in the hearts of enthusiasts and modellers. However, this railway had a troubled history with threats to its existence from the very start. EVAN GREEN-HUGHES explains.
The Class 37 is nearing its 60th birthday and continues in daily use on the national network. One of the most useful variants is the ‘37/4’, which was upgraded to supply Electric Train Heat in the 1980s. EVAN GREEN-HUGHES looks at the development and life of this 31 strong sub-fleet.EVAN GREEN-HUGHES
One of the most recognisable and longest-lived of the Modernisation Plan diesel locomotives is the Brush Type 2, which later became much better known as the Class 31. EVAN GREEN-HUGHES examines this design, which despite its longevity has not been without its problems.
Although the ‘Pacifics’ of the LNER are generally considered to be some of the best-looking locomotives ever built, there was one batch of locomotives that defied this rule. EVAN GREEN-HUGHES and ANDREW RODEN look into the history of the ‘A2/2s’ and ‘A2/3s’ which, while they looked ungainly, were an intelligent response to wartime pressures.
The Great Western Railway is more often remembered for its fleet of copper-capped chimney steam locomotives rather than for technological innovation - but in fact the company was amongst the first to introduce viable diesel traction, in the form of a series of self-propelled railcars, as EVAN GREEN-HUGHES explains.
Throughout railway history there have been many instances of obsolete equipment being repurposed for a second life, with few being as successful as the rebuilding of a small fleet of almost 40-year-old locomotives to become the Class 20/3s, as EVAN GREEN-HUGHES explains.
Much has been written about British Railways’ post-war traction policy and in particular its decision to continue constructing what many regarded as obsolete and outdated steam engines. EVAN GREEN-HUGHES looks again at the dilemma BR faced and reviews whether, with hindsight, it came to the right decision.
In the rush to replace steam during the 1950s and 1960s a number of different propulsion systems were proposed, with gas turbines being the least successful. A number of experimental locomotives were, however, built with one of the shortest lived being English Electric’s GT3, as EVAN GREEN-HUGHES remembers.
For more than half a century, the Midland Railway’s primary lightweight passenger design for secondary duties was a very neat and attractive series of 0-4-4T engines designed by Samuel Johnson. EVAN GREEN-HUGHES looks back at the history of one of the variants of this once numerous class, and finds out why it was so long-lived.