No. 24 - p33

© APRIL 1969


    It does not seem so very long ago that preservation schemes were a novelty. Our regular readers will recall occasions when correspondents and articles have touched upon the subject. Our reason for once again discussing the matter is the remarkable acceleration and change of emphasis on the movement. Attempts by the Club to prepare comprehensive lists of preserved locomotives have been hampered by the constant flow of items into private hands and even by transfers between owners.

    Some of our early misgivings about the whole idea have proved unfounded, and the amount of money available has been adequate to bring quite a few machines up to first-class standards. The initiative at present (as far as industrial locomotives go) seems to be with individual preservationists rather than with groups, with consequent emphasis on the smaller types of locos, from the humble Lister upwards. Although we did wonder whether individuals would find that they had bitten off more than they could chew, we have seen some excellent paint and overhaul jobs done by these mini-railway operators, and many of the group efforts have been left in the shade. Of course, we "industrialists", especially the narrow-gauge enthusiasts, have a great advantage over the main line fans in that we can choose items according to our resources of money and space. Obviously the forthcoming Pocket Book of preserved locos will need regular revision over the next few years, and it is interesting to speculate on the content of the changes; how many transfers?, how many scrappings?.......

    Our thousand-dollar question (you pay us - not us you!) is this. Where will all these locos operate? Compared with ten years ago, there are precious few narrow gauge lines now operating. There are several preserved lines, of course, the most notable being the Middleton Railway, which has quietly but effectively carried on its normal commercial operation. In the narrow gauge field we would like to see the Leighton Buzzard venture succeed. While the preservation of Iron Horses is a bit outside our scope, the railway is the ideal target for preservation, and we trust that the opportunities available are not allowed to waste. Obviously all railway schemes are utterly dependent on the support of their former or present owners, and we must count ourselves lucky in that so many fans sit in company boardrooms throughout the country. The British seem to have an unparalleled affection for railways for which we should be thankful.

    "Swansea Harbour Trust having undertaken hauling work, which hitherto has been performed by a contractor, necessarily took over the workmen, but upon its being known that there were five non-unionists among the transferred men, about seventy loco men employed by the Trust ceased work. The Amalgamated Labourers’ Union has made representations to the traffic manager, and the strikers declare they will not work with non-unionists."      ("Colliery Guardian", 5th August 1910 - KPP)