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■ The Editor reserves the right to shorten or amend correspondence if required and stresses that publication of a letter does not imply that the writer’s views are necessarily shared by the magazine.

notice outside the barriers, endorsed by the station manager, to the effect that only ticket holders can access platforms and that all platform tickets have been withdrawn! Therefore, the only way is to buy a return ticket to the nearest station, Millbrook, which is absurd. DAVID MEAD, Southern Counties Railway Society

Test case: Chester AFTER being refused permission to go past the barriers at Chester (“You’ll be lucky – if you’re not travelling, there’s no need to go on”), it occurred to me that the plight of railway enthusiasts will not, unfortunately, win the argument for the retention of platform tickets. I can already see newspaper headlines about ‘anoraks’ crying and sulking because they can no longer trainspot. What might persuade the TOCs to re-think is the need to assist the elderly and infirm, plus the revenue aspect. It would only need one case of an elderly person suffering a misfortune because there was no member of family there to assist, and I suspect there would be a case for suing the operator for the distress or injury involved. Perhaps

any campaign you launch should seek donations for costs to defend such an action and prove a precedent? HARRY BARKER, Tarporley, Cheshire

Booked assistants often don’t turn up IT’S all very well train operators telling us to book mobility assistance in advance, but the system just isn’t reliable. My elderly mother-in-law, who is in a wheelchair, travelled from Birmingham New Street to Manchester Piccadilly. Both stations were advised in good time and my wife also travelled with her. She had no problem at Birmingham, where staff assistance was excellent but at Manchester there was no assistance and the staff there claimed no one had told them. It was a good job she wasn’t travelling alone! TERRY BRIDGWATER, Birmingham

Let’s also have an ID card for enthusiasts

I WOULD like to go further and ask your magazine to back the launch of a

national identity card for enthusiasts. ID cards generally are a touchy subject and could be construed as yet another intrusion on our freedoms, yet a specialised one could work in our favour. If it was linked to a railcard and contained a passport size photograph and bar code, it would admit the holder to any station. Obviously there would need to be a fee for this facility and I would suggest £20 on top of the railcard fee of £24. I would also suggest that the card contains British Transport Police contact details to enable card holders to be useful and report incidents such as trespass and vandalism. TONY FAWCETT, email

Cambridge-Ely ticket – just to get on platform! THE Railway Magazine is sometimes difficult to purchase as not all newsagents stock it. W.H. Smith always has lots of copies, but my nearest Smith’s is beyond the barriers at Cambridge. I therefore had to buy a ticket all the way to Ely and back in order to access the shop to buy the magazine . . . and then

found myself reading about the injustice of the lack of platform tickets! I couldn’t help but smile at the irony of it all. While writing, I have also been interested in your recent articles about young people in the hobby. I am a 19-year-old sixth-former and have been a railway enthusiast, both in Canada and England, for as long as I can remember. I can understand the apprehension and I hope that this wonderful hobby will not die. There is such variety in Britain’s railways. We must keep people interested and preserve as much as possible for future generations. Thank you for publishing such an interesting magazine and for defending the rights of enthusiasts. THOMAS BLAMPIED, Cambridge

Falling out of love THE ‘closing’ of stations to all but those prepared to pay the minimum fare is outrageous. It has nothing to do with ‘revenue protection’, it’s just a further erosion of civil liberties. I’m afraid I do not love this country as much as I used to. PETER NICHOLSON, Burnham-on-Sea

British Railways considered turning the A1s out in four different liveries DURING visits of our volunteers from the Brighton Atlantic Project to the plans archive of the NRM, we have unearthed a hitherto unknown gem from Doncaster – a coloured drawing dating from April 1951 showing a proposal to adorn those A1s that were named after old railway companies with the livery of that company. Therefore No. 60147 North Eastern would be in Saxony Green, Great Central in Brunswick & Claret, Great Eastern in Deep Ultramarine and North British in Bronze Green/Brown. Nothing is known of why the proposal was turned down. The attached scan of the original – and now rather grubby – artwork shows that this would have been an attractive feature. No proposal was found for the A1/1 Great Northern, but as that was an odd one out, it was probably best forgotten! MATTHEW COUSINS, Scaynes Hill, West Sussex

A missed connection? RECENT editions of The RM have covered the need to attract and retain young people to ensure our hobby has a future. It has been gratifying to read of steps by individuals and societies that have provided some success. I have noted the ‘Young Ones’ logo in recent issues, with a dad holding his young son’s hand as they set off to explore some unseen place of interest, and it occurred to me that this once commonplace example of domestic inter-action and connection is now rather a rarity. Both generations would nowadays probably feel awkward, if not embarrassed, by the simple pleasure and security of holding hands. Due to peer-pressure, other distractions, etc, it can thus be difficult for values and interests to be translated from older to younger generations. VIC SMITH, Shrewsbury

Time for 4472 to be ‘stuffed & mounted’?

I SEE the NRM has got the begging bowl out again for Flying Scotsman (a quarter of a million pounds this time). Am I alone in thinking that it’s about time this apple green money-pit was stuffed and mounted? It has soaked up money like a sponge and there are lots of preservation projects (such as the Class 15 Appeal and the Class 28 Co-Bo restoration) that, whilst not connected to the NRM, could benefit hugely by a fraction of the sum. I appreciate that, to some, the loco is iconic but preservation should be about more than one engine and the NRM shouldn’t simply be a Flying Scotsman Benevolent Fund. Keep up the good work with The RM. A great read and now the only railway mag worth buying. GARETH HIGGINS, email

April 2009 • The Railway Magazine • 29