Meeting Reports

Friday 7th April 2017
'Westwards from Dover looking for Steam around 1960'
Peter Groom

Always a pleasure to welcome Peter Groom, he presented on 7th April 'Westwards from Dover looking for steam around 1960'. Dover did not have ro-ro but train ferries still operated with B4 30034 shunting the yard. We called at Ashford Steam Centre, Three Bridges with Q1, a class famed for starting but not stopping, Brighton Works with the works Terrier and a 'School'. Lancing Works yard, Fratton and then to the Isle of Wight. Ryde Pier Head with a O2 was followed by a glimpse of this fascinating railway including Ryde to Smallbrook Junction which in summer was double track but in winter was two single tracks after switching out of Smallbrook signal box. Returning to the mainland we visited Eastleigh shed and works with their wide assortment of visiting classes. Panniers on the Weymouth Quay brought back memories and the evening closed with images of the last Saturday of steam on the North Kent line including an un-rebuilt Bulleid pacific on the 'Golden Arrow'. The audience of 42 enjoyed not only an interesting range of images in the latter years of the Southern Region but had the enjoyment of Peter at full regulator describing the reason for some locomotives having three rivets instead of four and other variations which are always a joy to hear explained by Peter.

Friday 3rd March 2017
AGM and Member's Evening

The AGM took place 3 March with 39 members and visitors and satisfactory reports of the branch's activities were received. The book sales were healthy and the Officers and Committee were re-elected. Kenneth Nutter proposed a vote of thanks to the Committee. This was followed by member presentations. Firstly slides, Stewart Jolly took us in 1991 to Aggra and Goa, India where metre gauge YP and YG steam and YDM4 diesels could be found, David McCollum searched the Wirral and North Wales.(part 2) for LNER interlopers which included D9/D10/D11 on Manchester-Chester services and O4, later the O1 on iron ore trains to Shotton steel works and Roger Newman visited Greece in 1963 finding steam on four gauges including the SPAP at Kalamata which gave the excuse to provide Kalamata olives with the interval coffee. The second half digital presentations started with George Hargreaves covering locomotive development of the L&NWR including inside views of Horwich works and the Hughes 2-4-2T with water scoops for both directions of travel, Ian Jones looked at the last ten years at locations as far apart as Patchway in the snow, Beamish, Long Marston and the Shanghai Airport line at 437kph in levitation, and to complete the interesting evening Paul Udey showed images which had been too good to be included in the RO including the Gwili Railway and industrial locomotives at Bitton. An evening of variety.

Friday 3rd February 2017
'Midland Division Steam in Action'
Arthur Turner - Branch President

Branch President, Arthur Turner, 3rd February presented 'Midland Division Steam in Action' which was a journey over the Midland Division commencing with Caprotti 44757 at Temple Meads. Using his own and purchased slides we headed northwards seeing 41535 on the High Orchard branch at Gloucester and on Lickey a variety of 4-4-0s, Jubilees and the infamous 'Big Bertha'. Over the top we called at New Street seeing the calling on signals frequently used because of the short platforms. From Nottingham we journeyed south on the GC to Marylebone to see Midland presence in Poplar Docks, Moorgate and around London. Returning north, activity at Uppingham with ex LT&SR 41975, Leicester West Bridge and then to Derby with an immaculate 58271 and the colourful 4-4-0 with the yellow Andy Capp Blackpool special livery. Is it true that Little Eaton Station SB had the first lady signaller? The ascent of the Cromford & High Peak is always fascinating to the Little Rocks area which produced considerable freight. Through Edale to roofless Hasland MPD and then the S&C Carlisle completed the tour. Locomotives were predominantly ex Midland and LMS with a few LNWR and others thrown in when on Midland lines. Arthur's knowledge from his days in Midland Control added much fact to the enjoyment of the audience of 50.

Friday 6th January 2017
'Swindon Works - the Golden Years'
Brian Arman - RCTS President

6 January the Society President, Canon Rev’d. Brian Arman presented 'Swindon Works - The Golden Years'. The period 1880-1922, much under the control of William Dean although 1896-1902 he was in failing health, is marked with him responsible for 40,000 staff in works and running depots. He gave great autonomy to Wolverhampton Works whilst Swindon was expanded with the 'New' Swindon' by 1880 having a population of 17,500. Whilst describing in the greatest of detail the work of each workshop, many now part of the Swindon Outlet Retail Village, Brian has an incredible knowledge of the social conditions. How 2d a week was deducted for the Hospital Fund, and swimming bath, park, annual fair, trip holidays and library were provided. The broad gauge conversion saw lines of locomotives, coaches and wagons moved to Swindon for gauge conversion. The Great War saw Swindon Works supplying a range of armament and guns and 1896 the first 4-6-0 in England was rolled out to be followed in 1902 by construction of the test plant and six years later the arrival of Pacific 'Great Bear'. The development of Swindon town was described showing that in 1890 there were 22 churches and 22 public houses. The evening concluded with the visit of the King and Queen in 1924. The evening over-ran but few left early, an indication of the fascinating presentation experienced.

Friday 16th December 2016
Christmas Buffet and Quiz

16th December, 36 students and friends celebrated the end of term, which had had a good OFSTED report, with a quiz set by Headmaster Arthur Turner and a seasonal hot/cold buffet. coffee & fruit juices plus crackers and mint chocolates. Our knowledge of palatial residences known to the GWR, manufacturing plants and TOPS numbers amongst others was severely tested. In the absence of Professor Dale, alternatively engaged, the winner with out of 80 was Brian Arman 69, second Andrew Davison 68 and third David McCollum 67. Nearest the mystic number were jointly Steven Painter and Reg Wood.

Friday 2nd December 2016
'Cornwall; The Tamar to Newquay'
Alan Wild from Bournemouth

On 2nd December 45 members welcomed Alan Wild with 'Cornwall: The Tamar to Newquay'. Starting with Callington, the gem was an 02 on gated stock and then we saw the Calstock wagon hoist which lowered wagons from the viaduct down to the quay. The Bude branch was traversed and then Wadebridge, the home of the Beattie 2-4-0WT. Services ran to Padstow and both Bodmin North and General. T9 4-4-0s worked to Padstow and leisure traffic to Bodmin North used to include special services carrying 1000s of passengers to witness hangings at Bodmin gaol. An AC Cars 4 wheel railcar was the only sign of modern traction. Commencing at the Royal Albert Bridge with mainly modern traction we traversed the GWR main line west looking at Defiant Platform which was for use by the RN and a SWT 159 working a Penzance-Waterloo. At Liskeard we changed to the Looe branch with its reversal at Coombe Junction. Lostwithiel used to be a major clay junction with holding sidings for clay hood wagons waiting for a ship at Fowey. Castle 7029 came through in 1985 before the clay operation at Fowey was seen loading ships. 7715 was at Par with a service to Newquay and the evening ended at Newquay which had three platforms, now just one, with the longest capable of handling 15 coaches and two steam locomotives. A much enjoyed evening and we look forward to Cornwall part 2.

Friday 4th November 2016
'The Last Rites of the Somerset & Dorset'
Mike Beale & Terry Nicholls

As to be expected, 'The Last Rites of the Somerset & Dorset' on the 4th November brought out an audience of 66 to the presentation by Mike Beale and Terry Nicholls. Mike, using the official S&DRT presentation described the history of the railway from the Dorset Central and Somerset Central railways, their amalgamation in 1862, the construction in 1874 of the Bath extension, closure to through passenger services in 1962 and the almost complete closure in 1966. Rolling stock, infrastructure and the day to day operation were covered including the RCTS special 2nd January 1966. The various restoration schemes at Midford, Midsomer Norton, Gartell Railway and Shillingstone plus 50th Anniversary of the closure events on a number of preserved railways indicated that the line had not been forgotten. Switching to 8mm cine, Terry gave a fascinating display of services from the mundane to enthusiast specials, the Devonshire and Combe Down tunnels which are now walk/cycle ways and completed the evening with the last week end enthusiast specials. An evening very much appreciated by the large audience. .

Friday 7th October 2016
'Steam in and around York'
Chris Nettleton from Middlesborough

7th October an audience of 42 experienced Chris Nettleton from Middlesbrough with a digital still/cine presentation 'Steam in and around York'. Concentrating on passenger services, we saw Atlantics of Wordsell from the NER, Ivatt from GNR, and Aspinal from the L&Y. Other gems of the 1900 were a Robinson 'Director' from the GCR, a Deeley 4-4-0 from the MR and a Holden 4-2-2 from the GER. Cine included sequences from 1931 to the 60's covering North shed with 35007 and a LMS Garratt plus pre-war colour and LNER official film of servicing a locomotive with graphic scenes of the coaling plant, wet ash pit 15' deep plus the turntable. A variety of Pacific hauled named expresses and other expresses with A1/A2/A3/A4/V2 plus Patriot 45517 hauling a Newcastle-Liverpool in 1959 were all what could be seen at this busy station, the hub of long distance lines reaching in all directions. A superb quality presentation from a speaker with a vast fount of local knowledge was very much appreciated.

Friday 2nd September 2016
'Images from around the UK Rail Network'
Jack Boskett - top photographer

'Images from around the UK Rail Network' was the title for Jack Boskett on the 2nd September. If you are a rivet counter, this was not for you. Jack has incredible talent for converting a scene into an artistic image. Often it may be extensive steam with a locomotive appearing through the mist, a train in the landscape with a tree in just the right position or a close up of H.M. The Queen such as when she opened the Borders line to Tweedbank. In his official capacity he is tasked by train companies to record special events which he does from privileged positions. His model railway in OO gauge depicts in the greatest of detail a locomotive scrap yard with bodies stacked three high. The 42 members saw something rather special, slightly different, but to an extremely high standard of photography and image structure.

last updated: 18/04/17