The 1954 International Railway Congress, Willesden

With the UK’s biggest railway trade exhibition, Rail Live! taking place again in a weeks time, here’s a quick look at a much earlier rail trade exhibition. In 1954, Willesden in North London was the site of a joint exhibition by British Rail, London Underground & various manufacturers for the International Railway Congress.

Here’s some photos of the original catalogue. The locos on display ranged from prototype gas turbine 18000 (now at Didcot Railway Centre) and BR 8P 71000 “Duke of Gloucester”, it was so new that no photos were available for the brochure, instead a line drawing was added. Duke of Gloucester is preserved, currently undergoing a major overhaul. Some photos of the exhibition are at the Duke group’s site.

The joint exhibition included stock from London Underground, various pieces of permanent way & signalling equipment, inc some of the UK’s newest tech. At the time, containerised transport was in its infancy, having been pioneered by UK railways with wooden containers that were craned between rail wagons and road transport. There were several on display. The displays even included Wickham railcars for maintenance crews.

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