RAIL enthusiasts are blessed to have a hobby where nothing ever stands still. Yes, there is a healthy streak of nostalgia involved, looking back to the ‘golden years’ (of which everyone has a different opinion). But that nostalgia is only driven by the ever-changing scene, as new locos and units enter traffic and old ones are retired.
So never can we say we have seen it all, as something always comes along to prove us wrong – witness the recent ‘Four Trains’ event in York, which saw Virgin Trains make use of a Network Rail possession to run four trains side by side along the East Coast Main Line. It drew thousands of people from across the country, despite taking place very early on a Sunday morning.
Celebrity steam loco No. 60103 Flying Scotsman ran in formation with a Virgin Trains HST, Mk.4 set and Class 800 ‘Azuma’ – with the NRM’s ‘Deltic’ involved too (sort of – see page 12). Together this represented nearly 100 years of East Coast power, something none of us lucky enough to witness will forget in a long, long time. Well done to everyone involved!
‘Bubble’ goes pop
Speaking of nostalgia, Chiltern Railways has bid farewell to its Class 121 ‘Bubble Car’ operations after nearly 15 years. These 57-year-old units found a niche on the Aylesbury to Princes Risborough branch, but have finally had to be retired. They far outlived all of their First Generation DMU cousins, becoming the oldest units left in main line passenger service – just imagine the changes they have seen since introduced in 1960. Happily, if you missed them with Chiltern, these popular and versatile units will now surely be snapped up by preservationists.
Paul Bickerdyke, Editor