When British Rail Eastern Region Public Relations Department was asked to participate in the Newcastle 900 celebrations, there was no money available at the time for anything other than strongly promotional activities designed to boost passenger travel figures. There was a little cash left over from the sale of the Rail 150 “Cavalcade” Books, and the Chief Passenger Manager’s Advertising section squeezed a little more out of the “Inter-City 125” budget. The offer was made to the Organisers of a small booklet celebrating the links between railways and the City, and was accepted, but it was a very tight timescale. A comprehensive history was out of the question – it would need far too many pages and would have to be researched and written from scratch.
Stuart Rankin, then Head of PR Section at York HQ, and Michael Woods, Divisional Public Relations Asst. at Newcastle, came up with the idea of a series of short essays, highlighting particular topics of which each had already some specialised knowledge. Rankin undertook the Introduction, Waggonways, Newcastle & Carlisle, Locomotive Building, Tyneside Electrics. Woods wrote Main Lines South and North, Central Station & The Bridges, Rails to The Coast and High Speed Trains and the Metro. It is always indicative of a hastily prepared short publication when a page is left blank – in this case, the inside back cover!
It is an interesting thought that in 2017, 37 years after publication, “Newcastle 900 – RAILWAYS” is itself now of historic interest, and remains a useful brief introduction to the railways of Tyneside.
PREVIEW BELOW – MAY TAKE A WHILE TO LOAD.