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Peterborough

Meeting Reports

Thursday 12th January 2017
'Branch AGM and Member's Evening'

Our meeting on 12th January began with the branch AGM. Following the reading of the minutes of the AGM in January 2016 and the presentation and acceptance of the usual reports, the retiring committee was re-elected en bloc, the members being: Barry Butler - Chairman, Robert Warburton - Secretary, Alan Burgess - Treasurer and Colin Greatrex - Committee member. Following the meeting, four members gave short presentations. First was Colin Greatrex, who showed digital images from scanned photographs of late steam workings which he took in 1966 around the country, and followed these with even older images of workings through his local station at Oundle in 1963, the last full year of passenger workings on that line. He was followed by RO Managing Editor Mike Robinson, whose digital images in Egypt were taken in November 2011. He managed to visit the stations at Aswan and Luxor while on a Nile cruise and showed us images of Henschel and Adtranz diesels, before showing the familiar outline of the GM 'Class 66' of which Egyptian Railways has 40 examples. David Smith then gave a presentation on the Rookwood cemetery railway at Sydney in Australia. This covered a large area and had three stations and the line carried both coffins and mourners to the nearest station to the grave! The line was open from 1867 to 1948 after which all remaining business went by road. The last contributor was Jim Hogg, whose digital images complemented those shown by John Douglas at our December meeting, as he showed views taken in Ecuador in 2015, after the railway had been reopened for tourists with modern rolling stock and without the need for the tourists to ride on the roofs of the vehicles!

Thursday 15th December 2016
'Rail Journeys in Vietnam and Equador'
John Douglas

Local Enthusiast John Douglas began this presentation with a brief overview of his engineering career which took him to many countries on business. His visits to Vietnam only allowed limited time to see any railways and trains, but on one visit he did make the 1600 Km journey from Hanio to Ho Chi Minh City, this taking 30+ hours over two nights and the day in between. Much of this journey was through flat agricultural land , but there were times when spectacular mountains and some large rivers were seen. Ecuador, in contrast is a mountainous country, the main railway connecting Guayaquil, on the coast, with capital city Quito at 2850m above sea level. John made a trip on part of this line in 2006, between Riobamba and Alausi, part of the trip taking him over 3000m and then descending on gradients as steep as 1 in 18 and including the traverse of the Devils Nose, where the line makes two reversals on a steep mountain side. On John's trip, the tourists all rode on the roofs of box vans which made up most of the train, local passengers using the one coach. (This no longer happens, newer rolling stock having been introduced in recent years.) The trip also included a delay while the locomotive and some of the wagons were rerailed after coming off the line. These visits to warmer climes helped us to forget the rather cold venue, where the heating had failed!

Thursday 17th November 2016
'The Inter City story'
Chris Green

The much anticipated visit by Chris Green, to give his presentation on 'The Inter-City Story' on 17th November unfortunately did not take place, Chris being detained in hospital after a minor operation earlier in the day. We wish Chris a speedy recovery.

The Branch Secretary had only a few hours to arrange an alternative programme and this began with Robert Warburton showing a series of images taken during the recent RCTS Members Weekend, including his trip along the Cumbrian coast line, the visits to the Ravenglass & Eskdale and the Lakeside & Haverthwaite Railways and the boat trip on Windermere.

This was followed by Terry McCarthy showing a presentation 'Steam in the Peterborough Area 2000-2016'. His visits to the area began when his daughter moved to Peterborough, followed by his own move here after he retired.
We were treated to views on the main lines, all within ten miles of the city and on the Nene Valley Railway, locomotives coming from all the 'Big 4' constituents and the BR Standard fleet, plus a few industrials.

The evening finished with Robert showing more images from an RCTS Members Weekend, this time from the 2015 event, with scenes on the Dean Forest and Gloucester & Warwickshire Railways.

Thursday 17th November 2016
'The Inter City Story'
Chris Green

The much anticipated visit by Chris Green, to give his presentation on 'The Inter-City Story' on 17th November unfortunately did not take place, Chris being detained in hospital after a minor operation earlier in the day. We wish Chris a speedy recovery.

The Branch Secretary had only a few hours to arrange an alternative programme and this began with Robert Warburton showing a series of images taken during the recent RCTS Members Weekend, including his trip along the Cumbrian coast line, the visits to the Ravenglass & Eskdale and the Lakeside & Haverthwaite Railways and the boat trip on Windermere.

This was followed by Terry McCarthy showing a presentation 'Steam in the Peterborough Area 2000-2016'. His visits to the area began when his daughter moved to Peterborough, followed by his own move here after he retired.
We were treated to views on the main lines, all within ten miles of the city and on the Nene Valley Railway, locomotives coming from all the 'Big 4' constituents and the BR Standard fleet, plus a few industrials.

The evening finished with Robert showing more images from an RCTS Members Weekend, this time from the 2015 event, with scenes on the Dean Forest and Gloucester & Warwickshire Railways.

Thursday 13th October 2016
'Steam in the 1980s'
John Baxter

Our October meeting saw a return visit by John Baxter from Wiltshire to give a presentation titled 'Steam in the 1980s'.
However, John's programme of cine film from that period was compromised when, while he was checking that they were still suitable to be shown, the first film came apart in his projector! So instead he brought a selection of slides taken over a twenty year period from the mid-1960s, and these certainly did not disappoint, bringing back many memories for members of the audience.
Besides images of many of the main line steam specials of the period, we visited Barry with its lines of rusting hulks, saw a number of images of the Rail 150 cavalcade at Shildon in 1975, and made visits to many preserved lines in their early years.
With John's involvement with the Somerset & Dorset Railway Heritage Trust, we also views of the end of passenger services on the route in 1966, along with views of the route since closure, showing what remains of the infrastructure.

John has already agreed to have the cine film repaired and transferred to DVD, and return in October next year to show his intended programme, a visit we await with anticipation.

Thursday 13th October 2016
'Steam in the Eighties'
John Baxter

Our October meeting saw a return visit by John Baxter from Wiltshire to give a presentation titled 'Steam in the 1980s'.
However, John's programme of cine film from that period was compromised when, while he was checking that they were still suitable to be shown, the first film came apart in his projector! So instead he brought a selection of slides taken over a twenty year period from the mid-1960s, and these certainly did not disappoint, bringing back many memories for members of the audience.
Besides images of many of the main line steam specials of the period, we visited Barry with its lines of rusting hulks, saw a number of images of the Rail 150 cavalcade at Shildon in 1975, and made visits to many preserved lines in their early years.
With John's involvement with the Somerset & Dorset Railway Heritage Trust, we also views of the end of passenger services on the route in 1966, along with views of the route since closure, showing what remains of the infrastructure.

John has already agreed to have the cine film repaired and transferred to DVD, and return in October next year to show his intended programme, a visit we await with anticipation.

Thursday 15th September 2016
'French Railways'
Gerald Brown

We started our winter season on 15th September on a foreign note, when we welcomed Gerald Brown from Norwich to give a presentation on 'French Railways'.
Gerald has a French wife and has visited France many times on family visits, during which he has managed to travel widely across the country, enabling him to build up a considerable knowledge of the railway system and its changes over the last forty years.
In the first half, we had a potted history of the development of the system, which grew and then contracted, rather like in the UK, and saw the creation of SNCF in 1938. Post-war changes saw considerable electrification, followed in recent years by the development of the LGV system, which has led to reductions of other services.
Many services are now governed by the French Departments, which give good local services, but very poor ones between neighbouring Departments. Some privatisation has taken place, but most passenger services are still run by SNCF.
Much new multiple unit rolling stock is being acquired and this will see the removal of almost all remaining locomotives. Gerald's views of over 400 locomotives in store at Rouen are showing how this change is progressing.
We thank him for a most interesting talk.

Thursday 15th September 2016
'French Railways'
Gerald Brown

We started our winter season on 15th September on a foreign note, when we welcomed Gerald Brown from Norwich to give a presentation on 'French Railways'.
Gerald has a French wife and has visited France many times on family visits, during which he has managed to travel widely across the country, enabling him to build up a considerable knowledge of the railway system and its changes over the last forty years.
In the first half, we had a potted history of the development of the system, which grew and then contracted, rather like in the UK, and saw the creation of SNCF in 1938. Post-war changes saw considerable electrification, followed in recent years by the development of the LGV system, which has led to reductions of other services.
Many services are now governed by the French Departments, which give good local services, but very poor ones between neighbouring Departments. Some privatisation has taken place, but most passenger services are still run by SNCF.
Much new multiple unit rolling stock is being acquired and this will see the removal of almost all remaining locomotives. Gerald's views of over 400 locomotives in store at Rouen are showing how this change is progressing.
We thank him for a most interesting talk.

Thursday 14th April 2016
Aspects of a Footplate Career
Bill Davies

Bill Davies made a welcome return visit for the last meeting of the season. Bill spent him whole working life on the 'footplate', starting as an engine cleaner at Toton just before the end of steam at the depot. He soon realised that promotion would be a problem, so moved to Nottingham depot, where it soon became apparent that the same problem would arise! The next move therefore took him well away from the Midlands to Kings Cross, shortly before the completion of the GN electrification in 1976. Needing a change after some years on the GN, his next move was to Charing Cross, where he thought the so-called 'main line' trains to the Kent and Sussex coastal towns were nothing move than longer distance suburban trains! His final move was to Bedford, where electrification to London was in progress. Initial work was mostly on DMUs to London, but with some freight work onto the Southern region. The freight work decreased gradually but passenger work gained more variety, particularly after the opening of the Thameslink route onto the Southern region, which saw Bedford men working through to Brighton. The talk was illustrated by a selection of images taken throughout his career and the talk included many amusing stories, mostly from his earlier years. He concluded with two images of the Nottingham MPD coaling tower being blown up by an Army bomb disposal team, who assured everyone that it would not fall on to the adjacent running lines - it did!

last updated: 27/01/17