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Editorial to Part 19


I HAVE received an interesting letter from a man who has just returned from West Africa. He tells me that he was attracted by the cover of Part 17, which he saw on a bookstall, and, having enjoyed reading that Part, he wishes to know if he can obtain back numbers.


I should like to make it clear that all back numbers of Railway Wonders of the World may be obtained from our Publishing Department. Incidentally, my correspondent wanted to know if we shall deal with the railways in West Africa. A chapter on this will be included shortly; and in response to several other correspondents, further forthcoming chapters will be on the Channel Tunnel, Speed Trains, the Darjeeling Loop, the Cornish Riviera Express, and the Electrification of Railways.


PART 20 will contain a continuation of the chapter on British Rail-cars. The various types of rail-cars in this country, their comparative speeds and weights, and differences in the power units will be fully discussed and explained in this interesting chapter.


And now for some news that will interest and satisfy a very large number of readers. Next week I shall begin the first of some chapters on Model Railways. Nearly all railway enthusiasts have at some time wished to possess and operate a railway of their own; and this accounts for the large number of Model Railway Clubs that exist all over the United Kingdom. Model railways may vary in gauge from ⅝-in to 5-in or more. Next week’s chapter will confine itself chiefly to the HO (half O) gauge. The building of a private system and its equipment are discussed in this complete chapter, which will serve as an introduction to this fascinating subject of model railway engineering.


THE railway in Poland provides a most interesting story. The Great War devastated this country, and the work of reconstruction has of necessity been slow, but there are to-day more than 11,000 miles of track open in Poland. Polish lines are composed of ex-German, ex-Austrian, and ex-Russian railways. The first line in Poland was begun in 1845, and that section now forms part of the main line from Warsaw to Vienna. Nearly all the railways are State owned and the lines about Dantzig came under State control in 1920. The whole system radiates from Warsaw. It takes international traffic from west and central Europe to the Baltic States, to Russia, and to Romania. Poland is politically and economically one of the most important countries in Europe; and its railways must, therefore, be of corresponding importance. Part 20 of Railway Wonders of the World will contain a complete chapter on the Polish railways.


I HAVE already published the romantic stories of the Great Western Railway, and the London and North Eastern Railway. These have been very popular, and many readers have asked me if the other systems will be similarly dealt with. Next week I shall begin the fascinating story of the Southern Railway - the company that owns the largest suburban electrification system in the world. The Southern Railway, which came into existence in 1923, includes five constituent companies, the London and South Western, the London, Brighton and South Coast, the London, Chatham and Dover, and South Eastern Companies, and the South Eastern and Chatham Managing Committee. There are also fourteen subsidiary companies. The Southern has an enormous suburban traffic, claims the largest share of Continental traffic, and has a total track mileage of 5,432. Next week’s chapter will trace the growth of this vast system from London’s first railway - the London and Greenwich, opened in 1837 - to the modern extensions of the electrified lines.


THE photogravure section in Part 11, “Stations from the Air”, seems to have been among the most successful of my photogravure features, and many readers have asked me to publish another gravure supplement on stations photographed from the air. In Part 20 another will be included; this will contain aerial views of Glasgow Central Station, Cannon Street, Holbom Viaduct, and St. Paul’s Station (London).


THIS week’s cover shows a “head-on” view of the Southern Railway locomotive “Camelot”. The express engine belongs to the celebrated “King Arthur” class. It has a 4-6-0 wheel arrangement. The two cylinders have a diameter of 20½-in and a stroke of 28-in. The driving wheels measure 6 ft 7-in. Its total heating surface is 2,215 sq ft. The fire-grate area is 30 sq ft and the working steam pressure is 200 lb per sq in. The tractive effort at eighty-five per cent, of the working pressure is 25,450 lb. The engine and tender weigh 138½ tons.