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When I was quite young, I was allowed to stay up on just one night in the year, New Year’s Eve, and one memorable celebration was accompanied by a cacophony of popping and crowing of locomotive whistles. The year was 1947, seventy-five years ago. We had spent the evening at my aunt and uncle’s house and my aunt’s father was an Inspector on the railway at Workington Main, and her mother explained the reason for this particular celebration (her husband was not there, he was with the others at the station). She said that everyone was excited by the many new things that came along at the turning of the year, and those that worked on the railway considered that they now owned it, and it was now up to them to make a good job of running it.

The New Year also heralded in the National Health Service, one of the most important things that has occurred in our lifetime. Whilst the new, shiny, British Railways was born on the following day, the old London, Midland and Scottish Railway had been born in a similar way on 1st January 1923, 25 years previously.

It is the forming of the LMS we acknowledge in this issue, with a look at how the basics changed when most of our independent railways came together to form the Big Four. Many historical railway organisations have treated this event in a number of different ways, and please feel free to take some space in Cumbrian Railways to present your views during 2023 of anything you have worked on reflecting the impact this momentous event had on our railways.

Another momentous affair we must also consider, and this is the abolition of Cumbria County Council. This authority came into being in April 1974, and lasted for almost fifty years, thus neatly dividing the distance in time from the Grouping to today in two. The then new authority consisted of the administrative counties of Cumberland and Westmorland and the county borough of Carlisle, which were abolished and the areas they covered combined with parts of Lancashire and North Yorkshire to form a new non-metropolitan county. You will see in Philip Tuer’s excellent background to the recent changes, but I wanted to make a bit of an administrative statement about how these new areas will be referred to in the context of our railway history. I intend to revert to the names of Cumberland and Westmorland and will be using the same boundaries as existed before 1974. This firmly placed Penrith in its rightful place in Cumberland and not relocated in Westmorland under the new scheme. For the area that was the part of Lancashire, ‘Furness’ seems to be a suitable title, though I know there is strong feeling for the use of Lancashire (or, as my father-in-law would refer to it, Lancashire Detached). For a general name for the grouping of authorities I intend to use the phrase ‘The Lake Counties’, a precedent which was set by David Joy in his exceptional well-produced history of the area under the banner of David and Charles’ A Regional History of the Railways of the British Isles.

By the time you read this, the Spring Meeting will have been held at the Carus Green Golf Club in Kendal (A report appears on page 281). It was, as usual, another great event, bringing together some interesting speakers and the companionship of other members, blended with a well-appointed and comfortable venue. I envy you if you had been able to attend, and would have been very much wanting to be there with you. But I’m afraid age is taking its toll and I am not as mobile as I used to be and the thought of using the trains when they are in their current state of disorder did not bear thinking about.

Finally, please always be aware that there is space for something you have come up with or have discovered which might be of interest to the rest of us. Please get in touch and I’m sure we can work something out.

EditorialMike Peascod242
Elves CornerHead Elf242
In My ViewRon Herbert243
LMS 100Mike Peascod244
Grouping and the Local RailwaysBarry Stephenson248
The County of Cumbria; The end... or is it?Philip Tuer251
The Amazing Adventures of Arthur Miall252
Ainslie PierRon Allison255
A Photographic History of the Smellie 2-4-0 Locomotives 258 of the Maryport & Carlisle RailwayJim Rowbottom258
Rationalisation and Re-signalling of the WCML: Part 11 — Harrison’s SidingsMike Norris268
Rationalisation and Re-signalling of the WCML: Part 12 — Shap StationMike Norris271
Pertinent Paragraphs: References to Cumbrian Railways in The Railway Magazine; Part 21 — 1911Barry Stephenson274
Mail by Rail —TPO CarriagesMike Williams, Nick Stanbra and Mike Peascod278
The Spring MeetingCopperas Hill281
The Electronic TelegraphDavid Hunter282
Cumbrian Railways TodayJohn Peel284
Letters: Hellifield285
Aw Maks o’ SpecialsJohn Peel286

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