Railway World Annual 1975 By Alan Williams Hard Cover 136 pages

Railway World Annual 1975 By Alan Williams Hard Cover 136 pages

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Railway World Annual 1975 By Alan Williams Hard Cover 136 pages
 
Railway World Annual 1975 By Alan Williams Hard Cover 136 pages
It's going to be a good year for railway historians. Apart from marking the 150th anniversary of railways in Britain, it also looks very much as if it will mark the turning point in the future of railways - some have even suggested that a mini-Railway Mania is on the way. Personally, I doubt whether the resurgence will be quite as dynamic as that - although there can be no doubt that the now all-too-familiar twin energy and environmental crises have swung public opinion very much more in favour of railways.
This year, rather than attempt to compete with the myriad potted histories of railways that will undoubtedly appear on the bookstalls over the next few months, I have again attempted to put together more of a commentary which at once looks to the past, the present and the future. Perhaps the greatest potential event on the future railway horizon is the opening of the Channel Tunnel, which could be in being by 1980. Proposals for a tunnel link with France go back even before the railway era - the first, in fact, back to the time of the Anglo-French War. And it is almost a century since Sir Edward Watkin actively proposed a tunnel as the pike de resistance of his grand scheme for a through Manchester-Paris trunk rail route. But as Michael Rigby shows in his piece 'Towards the Tunnel?, the very rivalry that served to kindle so many railway schemes in the 19th Century actually prevented Watkin's dream from becoming a reality, and it is only now, with unified, National rail networks on both sides of the Channel, that the project is approaching fruition.
For the present, Derek Cross takes a ride in the cab of a diesel on the West Highland line, and finds that the journey up to and across Rannoch Moor is every bit as awe inspiring as in steam days. And by way of contrast, he goes back in history just far enough to find steam engines still in action - to early summer 1967 - and tells the tale of what happens when four enthusiasts are let loose on a 9F climbing up to Ais Gill with 'the Long Meg.'
Going back into history, Victor Thompson describes the club-like atmosphere of commuting down from the top of Dartmoor on the now long-closed Princetown branch - the 'Prison Line' - while back even further, to the early hours of July 1, 1903, goes J. T. Howard Turner to seek out fresh evidence on the never-explained Salisbury disaster. These, plus Charles Long's strange encounter with 'Madame' and David Percival's 'Diesels Defunct', laced with several steam photo-features, seem a fair cross-section of the Railway World after 150 years.

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