IT is now 70 years since newly-created British Railways staged the 1948 Locomotive Exchanges that saw classic designs from the ‘Big Four’ companies transferred to trials on other successor regions.
Officially, the aim was to analyse the best aspects of each so they could be incorporated in the proposed new BR Standard designs.
However, while schoolboy trainspotters would have been delighted by the sight of interlopers suddenly appearing for the first time in their locality, the trials have been criticised for their lack of scientific thoroughness.
Instead, the newly-appointed BR Member of the Railway Executive for Mechanical and Electrical Engineering, Robert Riddles, an LMS man, drew largely on that company’s practice when the plans for the 12 Standard classes were drawn up.
So, for a major anniversary gala, it was only fitting that it should take place on Britain’s famous double-track heritage trunk line, the Great Central Railway.
The Locomotive Exchanges were the theme of the line’s October 4-7 autumn steam gala.
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