Steam Railway (UK) - - NEWS FOCUS -

Michael Wal­lace, re­spected hon­orary sec­re­tary of the Friends of the Na­tional Rail­way Mu­seum, died on Oc­to­ber 25 aged 86, writes PHILIP BENHAM.

Born and brought up in Northaller­ton, a few hun­dred yards from the East Coast Main Line, he soon be­came fa­mil­iar with the sounds of steam. He was par­tic­u­larly fond of the ‘A4s’ chime whis­tles as they raced past on the LNER’s York to Dar­ling­ton race­track.

Michael joined the FNRM as a life mem­ber at its in­cep­tion in 1977, two years af­ter the York mu­seum had opened. Fol­low­ing re­tire­ment, he be­came an ac­tive vol­un­teer, and as­sis­tant sec­re­tary soon af­ter.

Among his many achieve­ments, Michael was, for many years, ed­i­tor of the Friends’ quar­terly mag­a­zine Re­view. He was also in­volved in a num­ber of ma­jor Friends projects or­gan­ised in re­la­tion to NRM lo­co­mo­tives, sev­eral in­clud­ing fund-rais­ing ap­peals in part­ner­ship with Steam Rail­way. These in­cluded the stream­lin­ing of Duchess of Hamil­ton, the re­turn to steam of Oliver Cromwell, vac­uum brakes for Fly­ing Scots­man, restora­tion of the cor­rect ten­der for Stir­ling ‘Sin­gle’ No. 1 and the re­paint­ing of Do­min­ion of Canada for the ‘Great Gath­er­ing’ in 2013.

De­spite his self-ef­fac­ing na­ture, Michael was proud to re­ceive an MBE in the Queen’s birth­day hon­ours in 2011.

It was per­haps a fit­ting fi­nale that just a week be­fore his death, Michael at­tended the di­rec­tor’s an­nual din­ner at the NRM – where an in-steam Fly­ing Scots­man was also a guest – an evening he thor­oughly en­joyed.

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