Collecting NSE Memorabilia

NetworkSouthEast.co.uk

This new section is a fascinating insight into collecting NSE Memerabilia, produced for the NSE Page by Adrian Wymann.

According to the Oxford Dictionary, memorabilia are, quite simply, "memorable things". Well okay, there are a lot of things which come to mind as being memorable in conjunction with NSE, but when railway buffs start talking about memorabilia, they usually mean "memorable physical things which you can collect and take home". So, if you’re thinking of that day when you saw Cl 50 "Glorious Network SouthEast" passing through Vauxhall, I’m afraid that’s only a memory. But if you’re thinking of those signs which read "Thank you for travelling Network SouthEast", well, you might actually come across one of those and be able to take it home – presto, classic memorabilia!

Availability of NSE memorabilia

It’s a fact of life that whenever something new pops up, the old stuff gets dumped one way or another. In addition to this, everybody knows from personal experience that the passing of time does no good whatsoever to preserve things no longer in use. Items fall into a state of (severe) deterioration, are disposed of or are, quite simply, "lost" one way or the other. Quite logically, the number of "survivors" therefore gets smaller and smaller as time goes by. Bearing this in mind, the NSE enthusiast-turned-collector is in quite a comfortable position. The demise of NSE is, after all, still quite a recent event (so much so that quite a number of stations still retain their NSE guises today (the South London Lines Epsom Downs branch, for example) and even comparatively important ones (e.g. Sutton) only turned Connex yellow as recently as 1998), so there’s still quite a lot of memorabilia around.

Definitely the first place to look for souvenirs from the NSE era is the Collector’s Corner in York, operated by National Railway Supplies NRS, with a growing website at http://www.natrail.com/collect.html. When I last visited their premises in December 1997 (still in London at that time), I was absolutely amazed by the number of e.g. NSE station signs available (some in fact stretching the concept of "portable memorabilia" to quite some extent), and it’s no coincidence that the logo on their website actually features two examples of NSE station signs as examples of what’s available.

UPDATE: I (Michael, not Adrian) have since visited Collectors Corner, in York, and there was not much Network SouthEast material there. Upon enquiring, I was informed that they still had large amounts of Network SouthEast material in their stores, and that they would send me a list. When I recieve that list, I will put details up here. Anyway, back to Adrian's original article:

Naturally, a multitude of other sources is also available, ranging from exchanging items with other collectors to specialised auctions.

Examples of NSE memorabilia: Station signs

Thank you for travelling Network SouthEast

One sign no NSE station could do without was the friendly "Thank you for travelling Network SouthEast". I have one of those signs in my personal collection. It measures 6¼" x 2' 3½" and is in a very good condition apart from the slight signs of over-tight screws on the corners:

In this picture, the sign still carries the sticker "South Eastern - This sign is to be removed". All in all, it’s a real beauty, bought in December 1997 from the Collector’s Corner for a mere £ 10,00. The staff was very friendly and helpful and had the sign sent to my home abroad. With the customs declaration reading "relics", the parcel showed clear signs of Swiss customs officials having a very good look indeed at this. It’s quite an amusing thought – I wonder what they made of this peculiar item...

 Network SouthEast - Welcome to ...

It’s quite obvious that a railway thanking you for having travelled on its trains would not simply tell you which station you just got off at, but would actually welcome you to that place. Thus the "Welcome to..." sign was just as much part of the NSE feeling as the "Thank you" sign. The one I have in my personal collection comes from Bexley on the London South Eastern line:

It’s one of the smaller signs, measuring 6¼" x 2' 3½", in very good condition and a good example of how appealing and well-balanced these signs actually were. It’s a true gem, acquired in December 1997 from the Collector’s Corner for £ 20,00. In this picture, the sign still carries the sticker "South Eastern - This sign is to be removed"; while the green dot simply is the price tag. Given a good and careful wash, these signs will look (almost) brand new.

Text © 1999 Adrian Wymann for the Network SouthEast Page

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