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Editorial to Part 14


STILL they come. I refer to the innumerable letters that arrive by every mail to praise the cover pictures which have been used on this work. It is true that great care has been taken in the selection of these illustrations, and the result has been very satisfactory. The appreciation of their excellence has led to many more inquiries from readers who still want to know if I intend ultimately to include every cover as an art plate. This is my intention, with certain reservations. For example, while the cover on Part 4 was an ideal cover in itself, I doubt if many readers would desire it as a single plate inside, although most of the covers I have used are eminently suitable for straightway reproduction without lettering; hence, most of the cover illustrations will ultimately appear inside the work, and I know already from the enormous amount of corresp-ondence that has reached me concerning this subject that these plates will be welcomed enthusiastically.


When the time comes for the work to be bound in two volumes there will be only one style of case, which will be sold to subscribers at the small sum of 2s.; but although there will be only one style of case, there will be two binding styles, particulars of which will be announced in a later number.


In response to those readers who have asked me which number will complete Volume 1, it is likely to be Part 24, Volume 2 beginning with Part 25.


ALTHOUGH progress is the watchword of the railways, and although almost every day sees some new development in railway practice, I find that there is considerable interest among railway enthusiasts in the things that have led to these modern developments.


My correspondence contains many letters from readers praising those chapters which have dealt with the history and evolution of locomotive practice, and asking for further chapters on this fascinating topic. In response to these many requests, several chapters of historical interest are now in course of preparation. Meanwhile, in Part 15, there will be a chapter that deals with several aspects of railway history.


This is entitled “Through the York Museum”. More than a century of progress has gone to the making of the modem railways; but until comparatively recently little effort was made to bring together in a permanent collection exhibits of early locomotives and equipment. Some time ago, however, a museum was opened at York, and next week’s chapter will describe this interesting exhibition.


FASCINATING though railway history undoubtedly is, we cannot ignore for long those things which are to make history during the next hundred years, and which future generations of railway enthusiasts will see at York. One of the most recent developments in railway practice has been the ticket and change machines, and in Part 15 there will be a chapter dealing with machines that are almost human in the work they do. This chapter will also have its historical interest, for the principle of the first ticket machine - invented by Thomas Edmondson, a chief booking clerk on the Manchester and Leeds Railway - is, for the most part, in use to-day.


WE are so familiar with the railway track as an accomplished fact that we do not always realize the difficulties and problems that have to be faced before the track is laid. Many readers have expressed a desire for a chapter dealing with the machines which are used to excavate and prepare the ground before track-laying is begun. This subject will be dealt with fully next week in a chapter entitled “The Track’s Heavy Artillery”.


ONE of the most picturesque sights that we see when a locomotive is at speed is the smoke that streams from the chimney. To the engine driver, however, this presents a serious problem, and one that railway engineers are trying to solve. The problem is caused partly because boilers - in order to give greater power - continue to grow in diameter, with the result that chimneys are forced to become considerably smaller to avoid striking overhead structures. In Great Britain, for example, where tunnels and bridges are particularly low-built, modem engines scarcely have any chimneys at all. The smoke and steam emitted by the chimney, therefore, fail to clear the eddy currents set up by the boiler in motion.


In a chapter entitled “Solving the Smoke Problem”, in Part 15, the efforts of locomotive engineers to defeat this menace will be described. Their efforts have made for some novel effects in railway engine design. In this part, too, we shall begin a chapter dealing with the locomotives which are sometimes known as the railway “maids-of-all-work” - tank locomotives. Tank locomotives have been, and still are, important to our railways. Of approximately 20,000 steam locomotives owned in Great Britain alone, nearly 8,000 are tank locomotives.


COVER 14 depicts a giant 4-6-4 express locomotive (No. 1335) of the New York, Newhaven and Hartford Railroad in America.