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Editorial to Part 17

IN Part 14 I satisfied the curiosity of several readers by telling them of some forthcoming chapters. This innovation has been welcomed by many correspondents, and in response to their requests I shall, from time to time, repeat it. Many readers have not only asked for this innovation, but have also wanted to know why it is that these forthcoming features have not been included earlier. It is my intention that each Part of Railway Wonders of the World shall maintain the high standard of its predecessors. I should not be able to do this if I had included these chapters in earlier parts. In any event, the railway wonders of the world are so numerous that they can be dealt with only in rotation.

SOME chapters that I have planned for the near future will include a new series which my Consulting Editor, Mr. Cecil J. Allen, is preparing. This series will deal with the high-speed trains of the great nations of the world - Britain, America, and the like - and will give details of the speeds they attain at various points on their trips. Another chapter which I know from my corresp-ondence will be very welcome will deal with model railways. Enthusiasm for model railways seems to equal the enthusiasm for giant locomotives.

Part 18 will contain an interesting chapter on the Glasgow District Subway. This subway was one of the pioneer underground railways in Britain. It forms a circular line six and a half miles long, and serves fifteen stations. For some years trains on this line were worked by cable haulage, but recently the subway has been electrified. Details of this electrification scheme and of the Glasgow District Subway itself will form an interesting comparison to the story of London’s Tube railways, which I published in Parts 3 and 4.

MANY readers have asked me if it is not possible to have further chapters on signalling. For next week’s Part I have planned a chapter entitled “Automatic Safety”. This will describe how passengers are protected from the dangers of fog, and different methods of automatic train control. On the Great Western, for example, a warning siren sounds in the driver’s cab, and brakes are partly applied, when the signal is against the train; if the line is clear, a bell rings. On some of the American lines miniature coloured light signals corresponding to those on the track appear automatically in the driver’s cab. This chapter will detail several new aspects of modern signalling.

Lines that carry passengers above the congested city streets have often been suggested as a solution to the difficulties of transporting people during rush hours. Many cities have overhead lines, and in next week’s Part a chapter will appear devoted to elevated railways and monorails.

THE fastest trains in the world on a narrow-gauge system of 3 ft 6 in run in the island of Java. This is one of the many interesting facts contained in a chapter on the Speed Trains of Java, in Part 18. Other points of interest include the fact that no trains operate at night, as many of the lines are unfenced and the track runs through tropical and volcanic areas. The railway is firmly established in this island; the State Railways alone operate 1,800 miles. This chapter will give a comprehensive survey of the railway in Java, and will include details of its construction, its express routes, and the types of rolling-stock in use.

SO familiar a part of the railway is the permanent way that many people do not realize the story that lies behind the manufacture of the rails. Next week I shall include a chapter, “From Iron Ore to Steel Rail”, which will describe how iron ore is converted by a highly specialized manufacturing process into steel rails. This chapter will also include an authoritative description of the methods of iron refining, the chemical constituents, the rolling and the testing, and will be supplemented by many striking illustrations which were specially taken for Railway Wonders of the World at the works of the Lancashire Steel Corporation, Ltd.

THIS week’s cover shows the “King George V”, one of the Great Western Railway’s most powerful express locomotives. In 1927 the engine was sent to the Baltimore and Ohio centenary celebrations, and the bell seen on the front buffer beam was presented to it by the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad on its return to England.

The “King George V” was not the only British locomotive to visit the United States. As far back as 1893 the “Greater Britain”, a three-cylinder compound of the former London and North Western Railway, won a gold medal at the Chicago Exhibition. In 1933 a complete train belonging to the LMS, drawn by the 4-6-0 locomotive “Royal Scot”, made an extensive tour of the North American continent.