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Current Issue


In putting together the wonderful array of articles and features that make up this latest issue of Cumbrian Railways, one of the last things I do on it is to sit down, with pen and paper, to draft this piece (yes — a proper pen and real ink). It gives me time to reflect on many things, the most important of which are the contributors that have given their time and knowledge to provide us with the interesting results of research into their chosen subject.

Normally I don’t comment in this column on the content of any particular issue, and just leave you to explore things yourself. However, there are two articles in this issue that span the lifetime of the development of an essential tool used in the railway’s everyday operation. Telegraphs and telephones are interlinked, and we have, in these two articles, both the birth of telegraphy and at its fullest extent of development. This timespan has been ably covered by Peter Rooke and John M Hammond. Peter tells us how the railway was used in an original cable link with the Isle of Man and is fascinating. John gives us a vivid description of the installation of the PABX telephone and the data transmission equipment in conjunction with the wholesale modernisation of the signalling on the WCML. At the time, this was ground-breaking technology. As an aside, I used a similar PABX system within London Underground and, with the addition of a prefix of numbers, I could contact people in British Rail. Whilst it was an important link in my day-to-day job, it also allowed me to chat with friends, including Greg Fox (of Foxlines Books,) and during these chats with him I learnt a lot about publishing and book production.

The piece about the traffic at Carlisle for the Glorious Twelfth in this issue came from an article that was found in an issue of the magazine, The Railway & Travel Monthly. I have been able to get my hands on a full set of this magazine in digital form. The CDs containing this magazine are from the growing list of publications that have been made available by the Great Eastern Railway Society in their Files Emporium, where many such publications are available on disc and in download form. A look at their website to see what is available will be rewarded. The GERS are to be heartily congratulated on their inspirational work.

The content of the Journal depends on those who write the articles, those that support the editorial process and those that print it. Currently, the latter task in the hands of David Crossland, of Elgar Books, who has been doing it for us for just over a year. David gives us very good service and produces Cumbrian Railways to a very high standard.

No matter how good the support team is, the Journal can only operate with a regular supply of articles from the members. I am often amazed how some obscure detail or other can make interesting reading, even after reading it many times as the publication comes together. I am gratified to hear that one or two of you stop whatever you are doing for a quick cup of coffee and a scan through the contents when the latest Journal hits your doormat.

This is a luxury that is denied me, I’m afraid. A quick glance to make sure everything is in order is all that happens in Durley Dell, though with David’s invaluable help, nothing is ever untoward. However, there is always a reckoning, and this comes a day or so after the Journal has been delivered, when the Elves start getting messages, highlighting some error or omission perpetrated by the Editor that has shown itself. My apologies if you are the author of that particular piece. It is no one’s fault other than my own.

I am now looking to the membership to get pen to paper to produce more articles, as the stocks are now getting a bit thin. The subject can be anything as long as it is relevant, something on your favourite station or some youthful trainspotting reminiscences go down well. Our photographic archive continues to grow and is available to you all if you need something to illustrate your work or to act as a trigger for something else that tickles your fancy. Long or short, they are all worthwhile and will be appreciated by our members.

I miss being able to get to our members’ meetings at the moment, though I live in hope. Each meeting allowed me to chat to people and cajole them into action, but because I haven’t tapped you on the shoulder doesn’t mean that your contribution is the never the less needed. If you have a story waiting to burst out or just needs a bit of coaxing, please get in touch with me, my contact details are on the third page of every copy. I’m sure that anything you can put together will interest and entertain all those in the CRA and you, too, could get the thrill of seeing your own work in print when the postie rattles the letter flap and you put the kettle on. It is such a good feeling.

Please keep on reading and please keep on writing!

EditorialMike Peascod290
In My ViewMike Faulkner291
An Introduction to the Photographs of Bob LeslieJohn Pickup292
The Millom School Train in the 1950sStan Buck298
The St. Bees Undersea Telephone CablePeter Rooke300
Rationalisation and Re-signalling of the WCML: Part 13 — Shap Quarry; Mike Norris304
Rationalisation and Re-signalling of the WCML: Part 14 — Shap SummitMike Norris307
The Eve of St. Grouse at Carlisle Citadel and NorthwardsRonald A Senior-White313
Rationalisation and Re-signalling of the WCML: A personal ViewJohn M Hammond318
Cumbrian Industrials:A Maryport Mystery Peter Holmes320
The Hospital Parade, BarrowMike Peascod322
An Hour by the LinesideDavid Gibson324
Joint Line GemsMike Peascod326
Book Review: The Maryport & Carlisle RailwayDougal Julian Hare328
The Electronic TelegraphDavid Hunter330
Cumbrian Railways TodayJohn Peel332
Aw Maks o’ SpecialsJohn Peel334

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