New issue: RE171 August 2010

July 22, 2010

RAIL EXPRESS No. 171RE171: A new era for RAIL EXPRESS magazine!
Inside the August 2010 issue:

• News: The Intercity Express Programme is shelved as a new report by Sir Andrew Foster explores alternatives, which include loco-hauled ‘drags’ beyond the wires. Meanwhile, a DfT and ORR Value For Money study threatens route closures. National Express re-opens Clacton depot, while Direct Rail Services celebrates another successful open day, this year at Gresty Bridge, which sees recently re-activated 37409 renamed. GBRf makes way for DB Schenker on the Taunton loco-hauled and a pair of Class 73s visit the Bluebell Railway on a spoil train.
• News in pictures: Direct Rail Services runs another of its nuclear trains carrying material destined for Russia. The same operator’s 37423 deputises for a DB Schenker Type 3 on a ballast service on the Kyle line, as DRS also begins running oil tankers from Mossend to Inverness on behalf of DB Schenker. Plus Class 90s return to mail work.
• Pictorial: Ireland’s railway system has changed beyond all recognition over the last couple of decades. Regular RAIL EXPRESS contributors Mark Darby, Neil Higson and Paul Quinlan look back and see what we’ve lost, with particular focus on the General Motors motive power of the country.
• Feature: The latest installment in our Retrospectrum series takes a look at the small number of locomotives that carried dedicated infrastructure paint jobs, which includes ‘Union Pacific’ 31116, Infrastructure 47803 and a pair of Merseytravel Class 73s.

RAIL EXPRESS No. 171

• Railtours: Our main story this month is the revitalised heritage traction sector of the charter market, with locomotives such as 40145 and D1015 proving to draw the punters onto trains again. Plus our comprehensive railtour listings for the next month.
• Preservation: There is big news this issue as the Class 58 Locomotive Group purchases ex-EWS and Fertis BREL Type 5 No. 58016 for preservation, along with No. 58045 for spares. The North Yorkshire Moors Railway hires a Nemesis Rail Class 31 for the summer season.
• Time Traveller: Fifty years ago the stylish and luxurious Metro-Cammell ‘Midland Pullman’ DEMU sets entered service between St Pancras and Manchester Central.
• Columns: Your favourite in-depth monthly reading –  Messroom, Traction & Rolling Stock, Unitary Authority, Coaches, Wagons and Irish Angle, complete with superb supporting photography.
• Modelling: We have two major releases to review in the form of Modelzone’s Mk. 1 TPO sorting van and Bachmann’s JPA bogie cement tanker. Our Modeller’s Guide series returns with the first of a two part feature on steel coil trains. Plus there is modelling in the form of Thornaby duo Nos. 37501 & 37502 and an upgrade on the Dapol VTG sliding hood steel coil carrier. Plus the usual news, exhibition diary and Mostyn serial.

On sale via subscription and specialist distribution now.


New issue: RE170 July 2010

June 30, 2010

RAIL EXPRESS No. 170RE170: First for traction news and photography!
Inside the July 2010 issue:

• News: Eurotunnel snaps up GB Railfreight for £31 million to become a major European operator, First Great Western marks GWR 175th anniversary with a repaint for Class 57/6, Freightliner rolls out Class 86/6 in Powerhaul livery, Great Anglia and LTS line franchise renewals on hold as Government looks at consultation, the Con-Lib coalition also reviews plans for new rolling stock.Falling income from government and train operators causes Network Rail to struggle. Class 67s return to mail as DB Schenker takes over mail trains.
• News in pictures: DB Schenker celebrity Class 37/4 Pride of the Valleys continues its UK tour with a trip along the West Highland line, the former EWS Executive Train visits Foewy in connection with a new freight contract and the Direct Rail Services-operated ‘Floodex’ trains come to an end.
• Pictorial: The Class 50s dominated on the old London & South Western route to Exeter from the early 1980s, but by 1991 their tenure was coming to an end. Photographer Mark Darby made several trips to during that final glorious summer  to record the 100mph English Electric machines in action and we reproduce a selection of them in this article.
• Feature: The acquisition of GB Railfreight by Eurotunnel could be a marriage made in heaven, especially in view of the Channel Tunnel operator’s expansion in France through the purchase of Veolia Cargo last year. With the jigsaw complete, and the company also intending to bid for High Speed 1, Andrew Cardle and Philip Sutton provide and overview of the company and explain the strategy behind the deal which, at long last, should see cross-channel rail freight begin to prosper.

RAIL EXPRESS No. 170

• Railtours: West Coast Railway’s class 37s stand in for steam locomotives after a string of failures. PTG Bulgarian railtour is a success and GBRf set to operate UK Railtours’ late-summer charters. Includes full railtour listings for July and outstanding photography of May’s specials.
• Preservation: The National Railway Museum’s 08911 Matey lands a starring role in a play based on the Railway Children which will premier at the old Waterloo International platforms. Harry Needle puts 22 locomotives up for sale, while Pete Waterman’s 47401 gets a bogie swap. Plus the best gala images!
• Time Traveller: After three and a half decades of London commuter service, the end came for the Class 307s in 1990, however, eight units managed to survive the cull for a West yorkshire swansong.
• Columns: Your favourite in-depth monthly reading –  Messroom, Traction & Rolling Stock, Unitary Authority, Coaches, Wagons and Irish Angle, complete with superb supporting photography.
• Modelling: The DEMU Showcase Event in Burton-upon-Trent saw another excellent selection of new products and layouts on display. RAIL EXPRESS Modeller was there with its studio to photograph the highlights, including two brand new Network Rail infrastructure wagons from Dapol, Bachmann’s Autoballasters and the FLA Freightliner flat from C-Rail. We also reveal the first pictures of the new Heljan ‘O’ gauge Class 26 and 33 locomotives and Modelzone’s forthcoming TPO coach. New editor Gareth Bayer models the final unrefurbished Class 50 – Warspite – using the Hornby model and a selection of new detail parts from Shawplan and PH Designs. There are also reviews of the Bachmann MOA and Dapol 4mm scale catenary.

On sale via subscription and specialist distribution now.


New issue: RE169 June 2010

May 28, 2010

RAIL EXPRESS No. 169RE169: The best news and photography!
Inside the June 2010 issue:

• News: First confirms that freight subsidiary GBRf is up for sale. The new Liberal-Conservative coalition Government get off to a good start with pro-rail announcements. South West Trains’ Etches Park North ‘Meridian’ depot opens at Derby, while Alstom and Virgin team up for a new West Coast maintenance facility at Liverpool Edge Hill. Summer locomotive-hauled trains return to Weymouth and Great Yarmouth. London Overground re-opens the East London Line after a two-year rebuild.
• News in pictures: A ‘Western’ and Class 40 team up for a railtour to Penzance. An ETH Class 37/4 returns to sleeper duty. The ‘Pretendalino’ goes diesel for a day. DPS celebrates 50 years of Finsbury Park with a white-stripe Class 31.
• Follow-up: We covered the story of Fastline Freight and its demise due to the financial collapse of parent company Jarvis in the last issue. Here, Andrew Cardle, Managing Director of the company when the end came, responds to that feature, setting out why the company ultimately failed, and remonstrates that there are too many barriers put in the way of smaller, new freight operators.
• Pictorial: Half of the Class 87 fleet is now in Bulgaria working for private freight operator BZK. With PTG having just completed a three-day tour of the Balkan country, we present a portfolio of images of these former WCML stalwarts now in traffic on the other side of Europe.
• Feature: When British Rail’s container business was privatised in the mid-1990s, the new owners adopted the company’s original red triangle logo to replace the Railfreight Distribution diamonds worn by most of the rest of its fleet of Class 47s and two types of electric locomotive. Simon Bendall provides a history of the minimalist livery, which used Roundel’s triple-grey Railfreight scheme as a base.

RAIL EXPRESS No. 169

• Railtours: One of the new GE ‘Powerhaul’ machines debuts on a Pathfinder railtour, hauling the train from Crewe to Carnforth and Leeds with a Hatfield & Stainforth ‘mini tour’. With a pair of mini-specials taking in two Norfolk seaside resorts, Spitfire’s latest tour could have seen problems. Read on for how it worked out.
• Preservation: The GWR175 event at the G-WR will see the unique Brown, Boveri & Cie ‘Kerosene Castle’ prototype 18000 on display. The return to service of ‘Hoover’ Indomitable will now take place in 2011 as problems mount up.
• Time Traveller: Four decades ago, the rail link to the Isle of Anglesey – Stephenson’s famous Britannia ‘Tubular’ Bridge – was severed after a fire ravaged the Victorian era structure.
• Columns: Your favourite in-depth monthly reading –  Messroom, Traction & Rolling Stock, Unitary Authority, Coaches, Wagons and Irish Angle, complete with superb supporting photography.
• Modelling: The last few weeks have seen a mad dash by retailers to link up with manufacturers to produce any remaining locomotives not already claimed – we report on news of 4mm scale Classes 76 & 77, the ‘Blue Pullman’ and LMS/EE ‘twins’ Nos. 10000 & 10001. There are pre-production images of our new limited edition Class 03 diesel shunters and Bachmann’s Class 70 loco.We review Dapol’s ‘N’ Class 58 and ‘Silver Bullet’, as well as the ‘OO’ KQA ‘Pocket’ container wagon, and Bachmann’s 4mm scale MBA. David Ratcliffe describes whisky traffic in a modeller’s guide, while Chris Ibbotson builds up a Bratchell Class 455/9 EMU.

On sale via subscription and specialist distribution (May 28th) or from your local newsagent (June 1st).


New issue: RE168 May 2010

April 29, 2010

RAIL EXPRESS No. 168RE168: First with the news!
Inside the May 2010 issue:

• News: Infrastructure and freight operator Jarvis enters administration, taking subsidiary Fastline Freight with it. DB Schenker wins Network Rail test train contract and purchases Arriva for £1.6 billion. DBS also offers Class 58s for sale. First considers offloading GB Railfreight and Hull Trains. The Government warns that rising Network Rail debt is unsustainable. The Underground PPP is slammed by a MP Select Committee.
• News special: RAIL EXPRESS provides a guide to the rail policies of the major parties wanting your vote in the forthcoming General Election.
• News is pictures: GBRf celebrates Metronet 100, Freightliner’s ‘Powerhaul’ GEs branch out – first railtour, first infrastrucutre train. A Class 37 finds its way onto the Workington shuttles.
• Feature: One of the newest entrants to the freight market has met an untimely end despite securing a significant long-term coal haulage contract and recording impressive performance figures. Fastline Freight operations ceased on a few weeks ago after its parent company Jarvis was forced into administrations. Here, Paul Shannon looks back over the firm’s short but turbulent history.

RAIL EXPRESS No. 168

• Railtours: Our columnist reports from the latest Spitfire multi-traction railtour, the ‘Cumbrian Crusader II’, which saw the first appearance of an orange, black and yellow Class 66/8 on a passenger train.
• Preservation: One of the West Somerset Railway-based Class 33s, 33057, moves to Brush at Loughborough for attention and could be back in traffic later this year. Meanwhile, Scottish DMUs benefit from SRPS grant award for covered accommodation.
• Time Traveller: The famous depot at Finsbury Park, North London, was commissioned three decades ago this April. The celebrated maintenance facility, which closed in 1981, was responsible for looking after motive power on the southern section of the ECML and is best known for its association with the ‘Deltics’. With the Deltic Preservation Society marking the anniversary at its Barrow Hill depot in May, Murray Brown provides a flavour of the site’s early days of operation.
• Columns: Your favourite in-depth monthly reading –  Messroom, Traction & Rolling Stock, Unitary Authority, Coaches, Wagons and Irish Angle, complete with superb supporting photography.
• Modelling: All the news and reviews for D&E era modellers. Kernow transfers ‘Thumper’ production from Dapol to Bachmann, plus more RAIL EXPRESS Modeller reveals more upgrades for the Class 37/7 project. There are reviews of the new Class 86 locomotives released in ‘OO’ by Heljan and ‘N’ by Dapol. Peter Johnson details Brush prototype Falcon, while the Mostyn team reports from the Ally Pally exhibition.

On sale via subscription and specialist distribution (April 30th) or from your local newsagent (May 1st).


New issue: RE167 April 2010

March 26, 2010

RAIL EXPRESS No. 167RE167: Number one with the news and pictures!
Inside the April 2010 issue:

• News: The government announces that the expensive IEP project is on hold. Direct Rail Services Class 20/3s in line for London Underground ‘S’ stock delivery moves. The first stage of the HS2 route between London and Birmingham is revealed. Grand Central HSTs to be repowered with MTUs. Network Rail publishes strategies for the Great Western Main Line and Midland Main Line. First Great Western loco-hauled to be axed as cascaded DMUs arrive. General Motors Class 59/2s are taking over from the last operational Class 60s.
• News in pictures: A Direct Rail Services Class 66 gets Fastline colours, 66048 James the Engine is recovered and interesting workings for Colas machines.
• News is pictures special: With First GBRf taking over the Rio Tinto Alcan contract from DB Schenker, we present before and after coverage of the freight flow.
• Feature: The early privatisation era saw Pete Waterman’s fleet of former Rail express systems locos receive LNWR black, while the InterCity Charter Services coaching stock fleet was given plum and spilt milk. The full livery history of Waterman Railways loco fleet is here.

RAIL EXPRESS No. 167

• Railtours: Our columnist looks back at his first trip on a F&W Railtours charter, which took place 30 years ago! Includes full railtour listings for April.
• Preservation: BR blue is gaining in popularity. We illustrated newly repainted 20048 and former FM Rail 31128. The sorry tale of ‘Peak’ D14 reaches court.
• Time Traveller: Three decades ago, Bury Bolton Street station was axed in favour of a new Interchange station. Do you remember the Class 504 EMUs?
• Columns: Your favourite in-depth monthly reading –  Messroom, Traction & Rolling Stock, Unitary Authority, Coaches, Wagons and Irish Angle, complete with superb supporting photography.
• Modelling: With the arrival of the Hornby Mk. 3b DVT (reviewed in the previous issue), RAIL EXPRESS Modeller provides a guide to suitable formations as our popular Modeller’s Guide series returns. We also take a look at the latest new products, including the Heljan BTH Type 1 (Class 15) and new DCC-fitted Bachmann ‘Warship’. Finally, we have the full run down of new diesel and electric era items revealed by Bachmann for 2010, which includes a Class 85 (AL5), ‘Desiro’ EMU and an FNA nuclear flask wagon.

On sale via subscription and specialist distribution (March 27th) or from your local newsagent (March 30th).


New issue: REX166 March 2010

February 24, 2010

RAIL EXPRESS No. 166RE166: The best pictures of the wackiest workings!
Inside the March 2010 issue:

• News: Colas Rail Class 66s take over on ‘logs’, the Tories say hard won rail investment may be unaffordable, Grand Central threatens legal action over new ‘Eureka’ timetable, First GBRf wins West Highland alumina flow, Wembley Yard threatened with rationalisation, growing pains stall Class 70 revolution, NXEA employs a Class 20 on passenger trains!, Eurostar promises to buy new rescue diesels, and Network Rail strategy reports point to greater use of HS1 and reformation of the Class 460s.
• News in pictures: Irish Rail repaints RPSI 141 Class locos, Class 92 trialed on Mk. 3s ahead of sleeper use, Class 56 56098 gets Loadhaul livery and a Fastline Freight Class 66 visits Thorney Mill.
• Reviews: A new Atlas from the publishers of the Quail track diagram books brings a greater level of detail is reviewed, along with new DVDs from Sutton Park and Train Crazy, the latest volume of Freightmaster and a book which recalls South Wales’ colourful rail heritage.
• Feature: Thirty-five years have passed since David Rapson and members of the Merseyside Railway Society visited the Western Region junction station at Tiverton, now demolished. The Class 52s were still common power for many of the trains that thundered past, but they were slowly being usurped by Class 50s. The incredible variety of workings was recorded for posterity and the day’s obeservations are recalled in this feature.

RAIL EXPRESS No. 166

• Railtours: ‘Westerns’, ‘Whistlers’ and ‘Choppers’ feature heavily in the 2010 plans of railtour promoters. Our columnist provides the highlights of the upcoming year’s railtours, with special focus on Spitfire, Pathfinder and Compass.
• Preservation: The East Lancashire Railway’s Class 37 fleet, which includes No. 37109, 37418 Pectinade and ‘Slug 6’ 37906, sees use on infrastructure duties on the Manchester Metrolink network – ‘Crompton’ 6525 also sees use as a shunter at Bury.
• Columns: Your favourite in-depth monthly reading –  Time Traveller, Messroom, Traction & Rolling Stock, Unitary Authority, Coaches, Wagons and Irish Angle, complete with superb supporting photography.
• Modelling: A special extended edition of our RAIL EXPRESS Modeller supplement has something for everyone. Richard Dockerill describes an incredible upgrade of the Lima ‘O’ gauge Class 33 and the Mostyn team refurbish stalwart Class 24 No. 24047 with twin five-pole motors. There are reviews of Hornby’s Mk. 3b DVT, the latest ViTrains’ Class 47s and S-Kits’ FEA-F railhead treatment train flat. Plus, we reveal our next special edition models in the form of a four ‘Heavyweight’ Class 37/7 locos in shadow privatisation freight operator liveries and a pair of Bachmann Class 03 shunters – your only chance to buy authentic BR blue era machines.

On sale via subscription and specialist distribution (Feb 26th) or from your local newsagent (Feb 27th).


New issue: REX165 February 2010

January 27, 2010

RAIL EXPRESS No. 165RE165: The best pictures, the latest news
Inside the February 2010  issue:

• News: Chiltern Railways targets Oxford and plans Class 67-hauled trains to take over on key Birmingham services. East Coast Main Line timetable planners have a ‘Eureka’ moment with new clockface schedule, DfT looks to longer franchises, DB Schenker’s ‘Tesco Express’ starts with a bang as boss Keith Heller’s forthcoming retirement is commemorated with a new locomotive repaint. Failures and poor communication leave Eurostar passengers fuming, and HS2 route details leaked – madness as HS1 and Heathrow links unlikely to be included.
• News in pictures: Total whiteout as snow blankets the UK distrupting road, rail and air traffic. We publish the best images of the glorious sun and snow combinations presented to our contributing photographers.
• Feature: A by-product of the break up of British Rail under privatisation, Royal claret has been applied just one shunter and four main line locomotives in the last decade and a half. Our feature recalls the origins of the dedicated Royal Train fleet, which began with Res Class 47s and is now, controversially, provided by a German company with Spanish traction!
• Feature: Our traditional end of year summary looks back over a another busy year for the rail industry. 2009 was notable for a number of reasons. On the positive side the quantity of locomotive-hauled trains increased and a new diesel type arrived to challenge the domination of the Class 66s. This was balanced by the high profile failures of National Express and Advenza Freight, as well as DB Schenker’s plan to remove the Class 60s from traffic. Our look back includes some stunning photography.

RAIL EXPRESS No. 165

Railtours: This month our columnist takes a ride on a seasonal special organised by the Penistone Line Partnership, which took locals on a day out to a popular Christmas market at Skipton. Plus railtour listings for February.
Preservation: ‘Deltic’ D9016 Gordon Highlander enters preservation for the third time. There are green repaints for two more Class 47s, but the sale of 56134 falls through after it is robbed by thieves at Healey Mills.
• Columns: Your favourite in-depth monthly reading –  Time Traveller, Messroom, Traction & Rolling Stock, Unitary Authority, Coaches, Wagons and Irish Angle, complete with superb supporting photography.
• Modelling: A special extended edition of our RAIL EXPRESS Modeller supplement has something for everyone, providing they enjoy wagons and multiple units! There is a detailed history of the ‘Presflos’ by a well known expert to go with our review of the new Bachmann model, while the Mostyn boys describe the construction of their incredible BRCW Class 104 DMUs. There are first pictures of the new Bachmann Class 03 and Hattons Class 14, while we look back over the modelling highs and lows of 2009. What was our favourite model of the year and which one will get the wooden spoon?

On sale via subscription and specialist distribution (Jan 28th) or from your local newsagent (Jan 30th).