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!

last updated: 27/01/17