A Difficult Time

Earlier today I completed a mammoth proofreading project for Pen & Sword Books, this one a look at the operation of the West Coast Main Line from 1957 to 1963. Author John Palmer has carried out much research on this complex project, which has three threads to the story. Firstly, the day-to-day workings of this busy trunk route, secondly, the introduction of diesel and electric locomotives together with the new infrastructure, and, thirdly, the effect of Dr Beeching’s 1963 Railway Reshaping Report. A difficult time for all concerned, not least of which were the front line railway staff. One item highlighted was the erratic availability of the diesels, for many reasons sometimes out of their control, such as being maintained in sheds alongside steam engines. One wonders whether it would have been easier to keep a nucleus of the most powerful steamers in service, handing straight over to the electrics when the time was right. However, hindsight is a wonderful thing.

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