From the editor

At the height of the ‘rail blue’ years, while editing Steam Railway magazine, a suggestion to my then employer, East Midland Allied Press, that we might launch a similar magazine aimed at modern traction fans and entitled Rail Enthusiast was accepted, and I suddenly found myself editing two bi-monthly publications instead of a single steam bi-monthly.

In no time at all each of the two publications had gone monthly, and after several career twists and turns, including the editorship of IPC’s Railway Magazine (thankfully the word ‘The’ of this historic publication, founded in 1897 and now in the hands of our own publisher, the Mortons Media Group, was later reinstated at the insistence of my colleague and successor Nick Pigott).

In 1994 I returned briefly to EMAP for a second spell of editing Rail Enthusiast, only to find that the word ‘Enthusiast’ had been dropped – perhaps in the belief that, from the point of view of the then forthcoming privatisation, the business side of modern railways would become the most important factor.

By then the absolute monotony of rail blue locomotives with bright yellow warning panels, and rail blue and grey carriages, had slowly started to change. Large logos, reverse liveries and extended yellow fronts has already been tried, followed by a new InterCity livery, so I decided to run a feature entitled ‘Paint Your Wagon’, inviting readers to get out their coloured pens and watercolours and send us their ideas for brightening up Britain’s locomotives and rolling stock.

When the entries started coming in, there were purples, pinks, oranges, lime greens and anything else you might imagine. They seemed quite outlandish, but proved to be the precursors of the harlequin colours we enjoy (or perhaps not?) today.

I couldn’t resist ‘painting my own wagon’ by having an OO-scale model of a Western Region InterCity 125 power car airbrushed professionally in the classical combination of a brown bottom half and cream top half, separated by a gold lining stripe, and coming together at the front of the power car in a ‘Coronation Scot’-style ‘V’ with that wonderful Art Deco Great Western roundel in the middle.

It looked beautiful, but – horror of horrors! – I’d forgotten all about the mandatory bright yellow ends that graced (or indeed otherwise!) the fronts of all our locomotives and trains, so it was a non-runner from the start. But look at the trains that are running out of Paddington today.

That old romance has returned with a larger stylised version of that GWR roundel and much more muted colours for the latest Hitachi trains and those wonderful HSTs that have performed so valiantly for 40 years.

Railway liveries have fascinated us for generations, and the latest models on offer are exploiting the countless variations to the full – whether pre- or post-grouping, the British Railways era or privatisation – and we would love to hear more readers’ views on the subject for our letters pages.

Talking about the latest models on offer, it’s been a really busy couple of months, first with a re-energised Hornby introducing lots of exciting new developments for 2019 and then Bachmann Europe announcing this year’s Branchline and Graham Farish catalogues shortly before RMM went to press.

Now back at its original Westwood headquarters in Margate, Hornby even had the full-sized A4 Pacific No. 4464 Bittern and ‘Black Five’ 4-6-0 No. 45379 on display in its heritage stock storage facility called the ‘1:1 Collection Museum’ to emphasise two new models – now there’s confidence for you! With new tooling for GWR ‘Large Prairie’ tank and LMS ‘Princess Royal’ models; a particular interest in small, colourful industrial locomotives that will suit a wide variety of compact and perhaps not quite so compact layouts; and the reissue of several diesel locomotives, including a colourful batch of Class 66s, the popular Class 31s in three liveries, two class 60s and a fleet of HST power cars to match, there seems to be no holding them back. See our full report on pages 6-8.

At Bachmann’s catalogue launch in London, several new tooling projects and a host of new models utilising existing tooling were unveiled – including a sound-fitted upgrade for A1 Pacific and 100mph TV star No. 60163 Tornado in late-crest BR lined green.

A sound-fitted version of ‘Patriot’ 4-6-0 No. 5551 The Unknown Warrior in LMS crimson will be available alongside the normal model, and the same options will be available for BR lined green ‘Jubilee’ 4-6-0 No. 45654 Hood with a riveted tender and late crest.

Sound-fitted diesels include disc-headcode Class 20/0 No. D8035, split-headcode Class 37/0 No. 37012 Loch Rannoch and centre-headcode Class 45/0 No. D53 Royal Tank Regiment – and in the expanding 009-scale range comes a newly tooled Baguley-Drewry 70hp diesel locomotive of the type built in the early 1980s for the Royal Navy Armaments Depot and several new wagons.

See our report on page 12, which will be followed up next month.

Pete

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