HEADLINE NEWS - IC125 blaze at Maidenhead; Another tour operator axes 1995 programme; Days Out teams up with Disney; Network South Central to run to Rugby?; Fort William sleeper reprieved; L&Y 0-6-0 moves to East Lanes; Riviera Trains prepares for debut; Plan for Margate Tramway; New BR rule book launched - in 13 parts; Churnet Valley share issue tops £140,000.
STEAM NEWS - Thompson B1 reunited with frames; East Somerset welcome photographers' charters; More prestigious work for Clan Line', J15 frames leave North Norfolk; New urgency for Stratford-Broadway line; Middleton loco fleet expands; Success for steam at Drax open day'; King Edward I makes good progress; Shock transformation at Littleton Colliery - an •All Change' special, plus steam news portfolio.
NARROW GAUGE NEWS - Special report on Amerton Farm Railway; £1.8m plan for Cleethorpes seaside railway museum; Stapleford Park line reopens; New boiler for P.C.AIIen; 'Dirty Chappies II' at Welsh Highland; Amberley's dilemma.
TRACTION & ROLLING STOCK NEWS - More on National Power's Ferrybridge operation; Newport's forgotten (well almost) gala; Class 165s to be fitted with sanding equipment; More names announced for Le Shuttle locos; ABB switches works contracts around; More TPO staff honoured.
NETWORK NEWS - Ashford International stage one opens; Loadhaul invests £1.4 at Wolverhampton; Problems over Forth Bridge painting; Muck spreader causes West Coast chaos; Detention centre opens at Olympia.
PRESERVED TRACTION NEWS - Class 50 gets stranded at Stafford; Major engine failure on 'Hymek'; Toddington Class 26 is started; HST group to buy power unit; Class 03 charter on Isle of Wight; ''Deltic' D9019 renamed; Waterman Class 45 may move to Cheddleton.
OPERATIONS NEWS - Colin J. Marsden summarises the operating difficulties, locomotive failures and other news items that have caused problems for the train operating companies.
THE RAILWAY ART OF MALCOLM ROOT - The Nick Pigott Interview puts top railway artist Malcom Root under the spotlight.
SNAEFELL CENTENARY MAGIC - Mixing business with pleasure, Chris Milner compiles a pictorial review of some of the highlights of the Snaefell Mountain Railway centenary celebrations.
THE 'OTHER NBR' - Richard Scarth tells the story of Scarborough's North Bay Railway, one of the country's most successful seaside miniature lines.
THE LINES THAT CAME IN FROM THE COLD - Ashley Butlin takes a first-hand look at the railway system of Bulgaria which has seen an upsurge in traffic due to the Balkan crisis.
IT'S BIGGER...BUT HARDLY BETTER! - John Cormack looks at some of the significant changes to the winter edition of the all-lines timetable, which has been heavily criticised.
LINES ON CANVAS - A special advertising feature spotlighting the work of some of Britain's leading railway artists.
THIRTY YEARS ON - To mark the 30th anniversary of the publication of his first photograph in Railway Magazine, John Vaughan takes a personal view of some of the changes that have affected the railways in the '80s and'90s.
THE NEW 'MALLARD' - Peter Semmens analyses the recent record-breaking run of Class 91 No. 91031 and how its performance compares with proposed ECML Eurostar services.
ANGLIA'S JEWEL IN THE CROWN - Colin Marsden takes a look at Norwich Crown Point depot, the operational hub of Anglia Railways.
JUST 31 MILES AWAY
I AM often asked by friends and readers whether I am personally in favour of rail privatisation. The answer is that I wish the whole wretched matter of breaking up the network had never been raised in the first place - but that now that it has, and is effectively past the point of no return, I will do all in my power to ensure it suceeds ...for the sake of our railways' future. As the 'RAT is a politically independent publication, it is not really within our brief to adopt the Government or Opposition stances on such ; matters. The role of our news pages is to report objectively on the cause and effect of such policies, leaving this column and our letters pages open for the dissemination of personal opinions. Yet the whole burning issue of privatisation is one which deserves to be aired more widely, hence my invitation to the Secretary of State for Transport, Sir George Young, and his Shadow on the Labour front benches, Michael Meacher, to address our readers on the matter, You will find the results of their deliberations on the next two pages. You may feel, as I do, that Sir George has sidestepped some of the more embarrassing issues - not least the question of safety and the fact that nothing like the hoped-for 51 per cent of franchises will have been let by April - so if you feel you would like to comment upon or add to the debate, please write to 'Readers' Forum' (address on page 28).
THE winter timetable fiasco was manna from heaven for national newspaper editors who increasingly appear to have declared 'open season' on the railways. It is now almost impossible to open a broadsheet or middle-market tabloid daily newspaper and not find a story related to railways. Whether the subject be the Channel Tunnel, t Railtrack or the TOUs, the nature of the story Is almost invariably critical. It is difficult enough for beleaguered managers and employees to continue holding their heads high in the face of such vicious national lampooning, but when the railway shoots itself in the foot, as occurred in the case of the error-riddled timetable, it must be doubly hard to bear. As these notes are being written, there is speculation that the best thing to do with the '95-96 timetable is to pulp it and start again. For a work of fiction that has brought yet more opprobrium down upon the industry, that's probably the best thing for it!
AS the new business-led railway continues to take shape, enthusiasts are coming across more and more developments they find totally unpalatable. The decision by Loadhaul not to release details of locomotive overhauls in future is one which readers brought up in the British Railways era will find alien in the extreme. Tracking and recording such data has brought a great deal of harmless pleasure to many thousands of enthusiasts over the years and it is a sad and somewhat disturbing state of affairs when information which has hitherto been largely available to the public is suddenly decreed to be "commercially sensitive and of use and value to our competitors."
If such a form of censorship can arrive so soon (before the companies are properly privatised even!), one is left to wonder what we might expect next. Security guards and fences at every depot?!
END OF AN ERA:
IT is sad to see that the North Norfolk Railway and David Madden have parted company after 19 years. As a new volunteer on the NNR in its earlier days, I learnt a lot from David and will always be grateful to him. I wish both him and the railway well for the future.