LR Magazine Issue Four: Feeding the Monster


With print copies now being prepped for dispatch to subscribers at LR Towers, London Reconnections Magazine Issue 4: Feeding the Monster is now available to purchase in our online store.


This brings to an end what I would probably describe as our “difficult middle issues”, where the ever-changing nature of the Mayoral elections caused a certain amount of havoc with our planned content. This issue we instead focus on talking to a number of senior figures within the Rail Industry, with a focus both on the past and on the future.

Our cover this month features what is, frankly, an incredible piece of art specially by London artist Paul Tillotson, who took on the title of our lead feature – Crossrail: Feeding the Monster – and ran with it. The stunning original is now mounted proudly on my wall, and I’m half tempted to offer prints in the shop.

The feature itself sees us speak to Crossrail’s Chief Engineer, Chris Binns. Binns’ experience in London is relatively unique. Having worked at a senior level on signalling for both Thameslink and Crossrail we felt that he could likely provide a fascinating insight into the differences between resignalling an existing railway and fitting out a new one.


In addition to this, we wanted to look at the cultural (and communicative) shift that has been happening at Network Rail, an organisation that seems to have become increasingly vocal about its position as a guardian of Britain’s railways. It seemed only natural to go right to the top and thus Sir Peter Hendy makes his second LR Magazine appearance in the feature Why We Alight.


We’ve become conscious lately that it can sometimes be too easy to focus too much on the large organisations and firms working in rail rather than the SMEs and others who make up the supply chain. This is a knowledge gap we’ve been looking to correct through talking with Rail Alliance.

Recent (and occasionally alcoholic) discussions at LR meetups have touched on the difference between innovation and ingenuity within the rail supply chain, and so we felt it was a topic worth covering in more detail and triggering a conversation on. In this issue Rail Alliance CEO Colin Flack attempts to do exactly that in Innovation: The Lazy Man’s Consolation.


Our final timed exclusive is part of a new push I’d like to make to cover some of the smaller things that make our transport network work on a day-to-day basis in an unseen way.

For the first of these we look at the Kee Klamp – a name that will be as unfamiliar to most as it is ubiquitous – in The Secret History of a Kritical Klamp.

When we approached Kee Systems for access to their archive and history, they not only agreed but also offered to sponsor the piece. That sponsorship was gratefully received, and is one of the reasons we’ve been able to start bringing you the LR Podcast. Hopefully similar mutually beneficial content opportunities will present themselves in future.


Last, by by no means least, we bring you two of our previous features now updated and presented in print. In this case, we complete our History of St Johns Station, begun last issue and look at the World Class Capacity work on the Northern and Jubilee lines.


As before, you can purchase your copy of the latest issue in the LR Shop as either a digital download or physical issue. We hope you enjoy reading it as much as we enjoyed writing it. We look forward to bringing you the next one.

A last note – for the completionistas among you who have yet to subscribe, we are down to our last box of Issue Threes – so if you’re looking for a full print run of everything in volume one (Issues One – Six) then it is probably best to subscribe (or individually order Issue Three) sooner rather than later, as we may have to remove Issue Three from the shop shortly, at least in physical form.

John Bull
July, 2016

Written by John Bull
John Bull is the Editor of London Reconnections. A transport journalist and historian, his writing often focuses on the political or strategic challenges facing London's transport network and beyond.