Rail Express Editor Richard Clinnick talks us through what to expect in the new issue when it is released next week!
Welcome to 2024 and the first edition of Rail Express to be printed this year.
It’s been a mixed end of 2023 and start to the new year for the railways. Class 319s have finished carrying passengers, TransPennine Express has indeed, as planned, removed the Class 68-hauled Mk.5As from traffic and Castle High Speed Trains now operate only in Cornwall for Great Western Railway apart from one train per day from Exeter St. Davids.
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But there are positives, testing of the first Rail Operations Assets Ltd Class 93 is about to begin, South Western Railway has confirmed that the Class 701s are, finally, “only weeks away” and all set to enter traffic, albeit four weeks late, while the impact of building railways can be seen by influence the Elizabeth Line has had on the passenger numbers at stations. Rail Express has all this covered.
That influence could well be replicated in Scotland. I visited the Levenmouth line in December to look at the reopening of the line where, as this issue went to press, driver training was about to start ahead of a return of passenger trains for the first time since 1969. There is a hope that these services could act as a catalyst for an improvement in the fortunes of Leven and the surrounding communities.
Elsewhere, Network Rail programme director Chris Gee, a name often seen in the pages of Rail Express, organised a charity photoshoot at York Holgate Works to mark the end of last year’s railhead treatment train operations using Direct Rail Services Class 37s. Quite what the future holds for the popular Type 3s remains to be seen, but you can see Chris’ work in this edition.
Elsewhere, as always there is our unrivalled traction and rolling stock coverage in our Power By The Hour, Shunters & Industrials, Units, Wagons, Coaches and Preservation columns.
In Rail Express Modeller, Nigel Burkin rounds-up Hornby’s 2024 catalogue while there are reviews of Graham Farish’s new ‘N’ gauge Class 158, an ‘O’ gauge PCA cement tank from Heljan and Realism Defined, Accurascale’s early Class 37/0 in ‘OO’ gauge, the FNA-D from Revolution Trains also in ‘OO’ gauge and Hornby’s TXS sound fitted to a Class 47. Kit corner features Nigel building a fleet of ‘Grampus’ wagons.
I hope you enjoy this edition of Rail Express.
Richard Clinnick, Editor