Searching for Master Neverers’ memories


PHIL Mathison’s request for information about the illustrious Master Neverers will all be told in ‘Never Again – The Book’, now being finalised for publication in 2018.

The book has taken five years to put together and is a rich mix of the very best ‘mastershots’ in colour and black & white, but just as importantly, the efforts that went into obtaining them.

‘Never Again ‘is very much a social history containing a portfolio of outstanding images of hard-working steam during the last five years of operation in the UK.

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A new influx of engine cleaners at Lostock Hall pose on and by Stanier ‘8F’ No. 48476 on the morning of August 4, 1968. This followed the MNA’s last and biggest cleaning session, when no fewer than 14 locomotives were cleaned overnight in readiness for the ‘End of BR Steam’ specials. MAURICE BURNS

The Master Neverers Association (MNA) was well known for its cleaning exploits between 1965 and 1968, when hundreds of locomotives received MNA attention.

However, there were so many other lesser known activities that went on behind the scenes in an effort to obtain the elusive ‘mastershot’, including climbing trees, telegraph poles and HV pylons, repainting tunnel mouth insignia and nameboards, making wooden replica nameplates and numberplates, sleeping in p-way huts, barns, hay lofts, signalboxes, waiting rooms and empty coaching stock, and making arrangements with loco crews to get the required smoke effects.

Strong relationships with the ever helpful signalmen, shed staff and train crews helped things, with footplate rides aplenty, including a 98mph dash on No. 46240 City of Coventry up the Trent Valley just weeks before the locomotive’s withdrawal….and ALL captured on film at a time that was without doubt some of the most enjoyable years of our lives.

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The books will be printed on high quality paper, sized 28cm x 28cm and run to a total of about 750 pages in three volumes, presented as a boxed set.

More details about the book will be found on the ‘Never Again’ publishing website:

The surviving members of the MNA
By email

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Many of us of a certain age will have heard of the MNA and their exploits, so this book is a welcome step that will fill a big gap in social railway history – Ed.

Read more Letters, Opinion, News and Views in November’s issue of The RM – on sale now!

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