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.
Railway operators are always seeking ways to improve efficiency, and one of the most interesting results of this process was the conversion of a number of brake coaches to include a cab, enabling a train to be driven from either end. EVAN GREEN-HUGHES looks more closely at British Rail’s Mk2 Driving Brake Second Opens.
Repurposing and recycling are very much in vogue at the moment, but are principles rarely applied to trains. However, that is now all changing with the rebuilding of surplus electric multiple units into versatile and useful bi-mode trains, as EVAN GREEN-HUGHES explains.
The Class 56 is one of only a few British diesel locomotive classes to be designed specifically for heavy freight work and has nowadays largely disappeared from the network - although those that remain could have an interesting future. EVAN GREEN-HUGHES explains all.
With a route mileage of just under 250 and serving 272 stations, the London Underground network carries around five million passengers a day, yet attracts little attention from enthusiasts and modellers. EVAN GREEN-HUGHES delves into the fascinating history of this unique system, much of which is normally well hidden from public view.
On May 19 2017, the final examples of British Railway’s famous ‘bubble cars’ were withdrawn from mainline service after a remarkable career spanning 57 years, during which time they have gone through many modifications and changes to their duties. EVAN GREEN-HUGHES reflects on the story of the Class 121 and 122 DMUs.
Despite being the largest single class of electric locomotive in the country, the Class 86 has never attracted much attention from either enthusiasts or modellers, yet it was the workhorse of the West Coast route for more than 20 years, as EVAN GREEN-HUGHES explains.
Doctor Beeching is more commonly known as the man who destroyed much of our railway system, but his time in office also produced initiatives that helped the railway to prosper, including the introduction of the ‘merry-go-round’ train for handling the transport of coal, as EVAN GREEN-HUGHES describes.
One of the shortest-lived initiatives of British Railways’ 1955 Modernisation Plan was the use of diesel-hydraulic traction on the Western Region. EVAN GREEN-HUGHES takes a look at the demise of these famous locomotives, and explains why they had such brief lives.
Of all the diesels built during the modernisation of British Railways the Class 14s stand out as one of the shortest lived – not because they were a poor design but because they were built to the wrong specification at the wrong time. EVAN GREEN-HUGHES looks at the history of this small class.
Perhaps one of the most spectacular failures of railway engineering that has ever taken place in this country was the tilting Advanced Passenger Train, a multi-million pound project that failed to enter reliable public passenger service, as EVAN GREEN-HUGHES explains.
The Vanwide or VEA van is the currently being developed as a new ready-to-run model in ‘OO’, ‘N’ and ‘O’ gauge by Bachmann, Sonic Models and Dapol respectively. DAVID RATCLIFFE explains how BR’s last vacuum-braked pallet van came to be.
London, a Saturday night 40 years ago. Hordes of fans mob the platforms at King’s Cross station cheering the star of the day while thousands of cameras record the remarkable scene. The occasion is not, however, the appearance of a Hollywood film star, but the final run of one of the most popular diesels – the ‘Deltics’. EVAN GREEN-HUGHES looks back to January 1982.
In the quest for ever more efficient steam engines there have been some remarkable designs produced, some of which have been more successful than others. One of those that showed great promise, yet which failed to deliver, was the LNER’s ‘Hush-Hush’ 10000, as EVAN GREEN-HUGHES explains.
Victorian era saw intense competition between rival companies for traffic between London and Scotland, which reached its zenith in a thrilling series of events that were to become known as the ‘Railway Races to the North’. EVAN GREEN-HUGHES relays the fascinating story from a forgotten era of rail travel.
Although it was a failure in service and lasted a mere eight years with BR, Duke of Gloucester has been transformed into a phenomenally powerful masterpiece in its preservation career. EVAN GREEN-HUGHES looks back at the history of this remarkable, and unique, engine.
While leaves on the line have become a regular topic for those who wish to make fun of our railways, for train operators they represent a very real danger and one that has demanded the introduction of special counter measures, which include the Rail Head Treatment Train, as EVAN GREEN-HUGHES describes.
One of the most spectacular designs of the steam era was Gresley’s huge semi-streamlined express ‘P2’ 2-8-2. However due to mechanical problems these locomotives never realised their full potential and saw less than 10 years service before they were extensively rebuilt, as EVAN GREEN-HUGHES explains.
One of the most distinctive locomotives of the early modernisation era was the ‘Western’ diesel-hydraulic, a design which had a very short life on the main line and which was rendered obsolete almost as soon as it was built, as EVAN GREEN-HUGHES reveals.
One of the most remarkable and recognisable locomotive designs of the Victorian era is the narrow gauge Double Fairlie, a type that became inexorably linked with the development of the Ffestiniog Railway in North Wales, but which also became world famous due to its incredible pulling power, as EVAN GREEN-HUGHES describes.
It is hard to believe that 50 years have passed since the first of British Railways’ large diesel locomotives were introduced. The English Electric Type 4, or Class 40 as it later became, was one of the success stories of the modernisation plan. EVAN GREEN-HUGHES looks back at the design’s history.
Swindon was amongst the railway towns and cities established in the 19th century. Its works came to personify efficiency and quality, a reputation lasting well into the diesel era. EVAN GREEN-HUGHES takes a look at this famous location and discovers how it came to occupy such an important pa rt in railway history.