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The railway enthusiast’s life-world

29/01/2008 12:37PM Page 3 Introduction provide famous locations bubbling with riches (the RSPB reserve at Minsmere; Crewe Station’s platforms). Each has its specialised argot, its cant. Bird-watchers speak of LBJs – little brown jobs; railway enthusiasts of Duffs, Streaks and Space Ships. Each group has its internal hierarchy. Adepts owning broad interests in the modern railway’s ramified machine ensemble patronise those who merely collect engine numbers (train spotters – or, ‘loosely’, says the OED, gricers); experts on particular birds’ ecology despise

in British railway enthusiasm
Canals, roads and railways in Manchester

carts and wagons to Manchester and having these delivered there, to bring back a return load of cotton from the canal wharf. 82 Transport and the industrial city This practice of using canals to bring cotton to Manchester and roads to distribute it to satellite towns only ended, according to this account, when the railway network was sufficiently established to enable spinners and manufacturers to collect goods from local railway stations.57 Coal within the Manchester industrial region, of course, was largely carried by canals, which provided 570,000 tons of coal

in Transport and the industrial city
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prototype, eight magazines covered the modern British railway scene in 2002, supplemented by 14 ‘heritage’ or ‘nostalgia’ titles. Seven model railway magazines covered British topics, with another three serving traitors interested in foreign railways:11 a total of 32 titles, compared with the 25 which I found on public sale at York Station’s bookstall in December 1993.12 And this is to say nothing of an arena where computer technology has had a very profound impact: closed-circulation society magazines. Many among these now are large and glossy full-colour magazines

in British railway enthusiasm
Exclusive brethren

been fatuous. Thus by comparison with most European and American equipment, today’s fullsized British locomotives, passenger coaches and goods wagons look squat and skinny, victims of pioneer Britain’s restrictive load gauge – that template which ensures that railway vehicles may penetrate tunnels and bridges, draw smoothly alongside station platforms, and not strike signal posts in passing.20 A tight load gauge presented no significant modelling handicap at larger scale/gauge relationships. Even in gauge 0, steam-outline model locomotives proved big enough to house

in British railway enthusiasm

choosing to evoke imagination. ‘Toy trains mean four-wheeled [clockwork] locomotives with no buffers and non-reversing mechanisms, wagons and coaches in bright shiny colours, tiny stations and nine inch radius curves in 0 gauge,’ one addict tells us. ‘The attraction of these items lies in the fact that they do not resemble real railways, and they would be rejected by collectors if they did. When operating layouts, toy standards also apply. Signals are decorative accessories, like trees, to be scattered anywhere about the layout. To increase excitement, trains are always

in British railway enthusiasm

and facilities came under attack. In June, supporters of the Maulvi Liaquat Alia, who had proclaimed a jihad against the Christians, destroyed a station, a locomotive and carriage shops in the Allahabad district. At Barawi, some 37 km distant, railway staff and their families took refuge in a dry water tanks and held off attacks from rebels for over thirty hours before relief arrived from Allahabad. Even more dramatically an engineer

in Engines for empire
The South African War, 1899–1902

illustrious citizen, Cecil J. Rhodes, and its railway connection over 1,041 km to Cape Town. Although the town had prepared elaborate defences, large numbers of refugees fleeing from the Boer republics became trapped in Kimberley, and so the local railway manager sought to boost the store of foodstuffs by retrieving a large consignment of flour from the nearby Modder River station. As one of the refugees, J. Fred Byrne, a former rugby

in Engines for empire
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The last pariah

: major junction stations and termini; engine sheds. These last were train spotting’s Valhalla. Given sufficient notice, British Railways bureaucrats would issue permits for parties of enthusiasts to tour particular sheds; but since these always were dangerous places a responsible quasi-adult (aged sixteen or over) had to lead these parties. How many youths joined me in perjuring themselves over this? Our fathers and grandfathers lied about their age to get into the army, but we lied to get into Old Oak Common. If no permit nestled in one’s pocket then sheds had to be

in British railway enthusiasm

run more trains per day because they possessed a greater proportion of double-track lines, more rolling stock, and a larger capacity (for unloading) at their railway stations. Elements of their forces actually reached the frontier first in July 1870 but, as the French tried to save time by combining mobilization and concentration, massive confusion ensued. The Prussians and the armies of the southern German states had

in Engines for empire
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The army and railways

relatively rapid penetration by the military and/or the police. Yet railway movements were hardly a panacea. As the Horse Guards began moving larger bodies of soldiers by rail, often from the southern counties to the Midlands and the northern counties, the railway stations became the focal point for demonstrations, and the track and property of the railway companies became targets for attack. On 13 August 1842, when 700 Grenadier Guardsmen and

in Engines for empire