Monday 13th March 2017
A History of DMUs
On Monday 13th March, 29 members and guests enjoyed an excellent presentation by Colin Boocock on the subject "A History of DMUs".
Sticking to the UK and Ireland, the range of vehicles shown was very impressive and ranged widely from Gardner/Walker small bus type vehicles on the Donegal Railway to the Meridians in use today. Colin started with the first ‘DMU’, an LMS 4 car diesel electric of 500HP built in 1926. The show then progressed through the many diverse Irish units from the 1930s to the current scene there, the LNER and GWR vehicles of the 1930s, BR units from the modernisation plan of the 1950s, the second generation vehicles from the 1980s and finally to the Voyagers and Meridians in service today.
One interesting vehicle shown was an LMS concept, which featured a conventional road coach also fitted with rail wheels for road/rail operation and carrying five headlamps.
The range of vehicles produced in Ireland was fascinating in their variety and the ingenuity shown by the designers and builders, with some units even being capable of freight haulage. The audience were surprised to find that there have been many prototypes which, for various reasons, were not proceeded with into production runs.
A full range of manufacturers and liveries were seen and also conversions of vehicles for parcels traffic and for use as departmental vehicles.
Altogether a thorough and comprehensive history of the many and varied DMU vehicles produced from 1926 to today and well presented with a knowledgeable commentary. It was pleasing to note that Colin while showing many of his own pictures also acknowledged on the screen the other photographers and sources where known.
Our many thanks to Colin for coming to Sheffield to give us an educational and entertaining evening.
Monday 27th February 2017
Ten Years of Digital Photography
A below par audience of 18 attended on 27th February to receive a digital presentation by Anthony Hicks entitled "10 Years of Digital Photography".
Anthony invited the members to select topics from an on screen menu to give the evening a pick and mix flavour. First out of the box was a journey from Thorne to Cleethorpes, followed by "10 miles from home". This took us from Anthony's home area of Garforth 10 miles in all directions to cover Leeds, Church Fenton, Burton Salmon and many points in between.
Next was a visit to Scotland with the Oban line and Inverkeithing to the fore.
For a complete contrast, Cornwall was next covering many locations from Calstock to Penzance.
Not to be out done, Wales featured next, going from South Wales to Holyhead.
Scenes of the southern part of the Cumbrian coast line was followed by a few pictures in the Dublin to close the show.
The period of 10 years covered many types of locomotives and liveries as Anthony tended to look for the unusual workings such as Network rail trains, diversions and rare freight services.
The photography was excellent, and Anthony's dedication to the cause was exemplified by one round trip of hundreds of miles for two shots of a freight on Barmouth bridge, his ability to get up early when necessary, and also his choice of unfamiliar locations.
Altogether an excellent evening's entertainment of superb photographs (with some taken with the camera on an extended pole) and a knowledgeable commentary.
Monday 13th February 2017
Excursions from Sheffield
There was a feast of nostalgia to enjoy for the good number who attended Roger Hepworth’s talk to the Branch on 13th February.
Hailing originally from Ossett and with tracks running close by his childhood home, it was no surprise that Roger became captivated by the passing railway scene. He showed us his first experiments with a box camera capturing local scenes and then moved on to more assured images taken over the years in West and South Yorkshire.
Roger’s talk was titled ‘Excursions from Sheffield’ and he addressed this brief by taking us along the lines radiating from the city with photographs spanning the demise of steam and the early years of diesel traction.
To begin with the speaker concentrated on the Midland route between Sheffield and Leeds and as well as tarrying at places along the line. Scenes of dilapidation at Normanton were particularly striking and we saw named trains (the ‘Thames-Clyde’ and ‘The Devonian’ featuring several times) powering along the metals. From Leeds we moved on to Keighley and Skipton visiting Bradford en route. Returning to Sheffield, the final pictures before the break took the road north through Moorthorpe and also showed Leeds - Doncaster services.
A light-hearted interlude of buses in the Wakefield area, was followed by a closer look at Wakefield Westgate station, now being expensively renovated. Roger brought us back to Sheffield once more and this time followed the Huddersfield line calling in at Clayton West with pictures of the closure.
The final images of a full evening were of York, whence we had travelled via Pontefract.
Although we ended the show at that point, it was clear that the speaker had many more pictures that he could have shared with us and the interest of the audience suggested that they would be keen to see more of Roger’s collection at a future meeting.
Monday 23rd January 2017
A PowerPoint presentation of the Railways in the Hope Valley
We were pleased to welcome Ted Hancock back to the Branch for our meeting on 23rd January. His subject this time was ‘The Railways in the Hope Valley’, a subject on which Ted has been working for many years and which will be covered in his eagerly awaited 3-part book, the first volume of which it is hoped will appear later in the year.
The talk was in two distinct parts, the first covering the general history of transport routes across the Peak District, while the second concentrated on the building and operation of the Dore & Chinley Railway.
Starting from the packhorse ‘trains’ - often comprising 50 or 60 animals - which once carried lime, salt, stone and other goods across the high hills, Ted moved on to cover the turnpike trusts which improved the lower roads and the canals which were cut through the valleys of the area. The proliferation of schemes floated in the mid 19th century for railway routes to replace these, in turn, were illustrated and the vigorous competition between their promoters was discussed.
After the break Ted showed us some rare images from the building of the Dore & Chinley Railway (around 1888) including a few ‘now’ and ‘then’ shots of several locations. He then took us on a journey along the line, from the triangle at Dore Station. through to Chinley, with photographs from various dates and with a variety of motive power. The over-riding importance of freight traffic along this route was evident.
At a number of points interesting digressions were hinted at, perhaps the subject for a further talk to the Branch. Certainly there was an appetite for more on the part of the audience at the end of a most interesting and enjoyable evening
Monday 9th January 2017
Lincolnshire Branch Lines
Alf Ludlum and Phil Eldridge
Monday 9th January was the first meeting of 2017 when 27 members and guests attended to hear the presentation by Alf Ludlum and Phil Eldridge on the subject of "Lincolnshire Branch Lines".
The railways of East Lincolnshire were once prolific but sadly are now no more. Alf concentrated his talk on three of the lines. Starting with the route from Bardney to Louth, he followed with the line from Woodhall Junction to Horncastle and finished with the line from Firsby to Spilsby. The history of each line was described and the pictures digitally projected by Phil showed the stations and supporting infrastructure together with many shots of the staff and bystanders. Almost all of the pictures were black and white and some dated back to the very early days of the routes in the 1800s. The earliest closure to passengers was the Spilsby line in 1939, followed by Louth to Bardney in 1951 and the Horncastle branch in 1954. Freight services lingered on beyond these dates.
The majority of locomotives seen were of GC and GN origin although a few later built steam locomotives did appear, as did a very few diesel locomotives and DMUs.
Finally Alf and Phil described their involvement with the Lincolnshire Wolds Railway based at Ludborough and said that their previous presentations locally in the areas shown had brought forth more old photographs from the audiences.
Our thanks to Alf and Phil for a very enjoyable afternoon, professionally presented, which showed how the railways played an important part in the life of a rural area.
Monday 12th December 2016
Annual General Meeting and Christmas Social Evening
The Branch AGM was held on Monday 12th December attended by 17 members which included all the committee members. The Minutes of the previous AGM on 14th December 2015 were accepted and then signed as a true record. The chairman, A. Lovecy, then delivered his report on the state of the Branch. Next the treasurer, A. Hardman, gave his report on the financial state of the Branch. He explained each item and was pleased to say the Branch made a slight profit in the year. As all the existing committee members and Branch officials were prepared to continue, it was proposed and seconded that they be re-elected. This motion was accepted.
The meeting programme for the 2017/18 session was discussed which covered speakers and topics, the venue and the number of meetings. After much debate on these subjects, it was decided to stay at the same venue and retain the two afternoon meetings in the session.
As the Branch was financially stable it was agreed to keep the suggested voluntary contributions at meetings to £2 for members and £3 for guests. Other items discussed were Society publications and the RO.
Summing up, A. Lovecy said that as the Branch funds were stable and the existing committee members were continuing, he expected the Branch to remain viable for the next few years. He thanked the committee members for their support and hard work in keeping the Branch going. In return the members present thanked the committee and officials for their efforts in running the Branch.
Please note that copies of the reports and minutes of meetings can be supplied on request to the secretary, either in paper or electronic form.
Monday 28th November 2016
Roade to York
An audience of 30 members and guests assembled on 28th November to receive the presentation by Robin Patrick entitled "Roade to York". This was a journey in pictures from Robin's career which started with BR in 1963 in Roade signal box to finishing in 2003 in the GNER control at York and passing through several signal boxes and control offices on the way.
The slides shown started with scenes on the WCML at Roade in 1964 covering all the locomotive types in use at the time. Then a quick journey to Iran showed shots of 8Fs taken during the war by his father. Through the period covered, Robin travelled extensively throughout the UK and made many trips abroad. His subjects were equally varied and we were shown, not only main line scenes, but also preservation and heritage lines, special occasions such as Shildon and Rainhill, and industrial locations including quarries, collieries and factories. The motive power and units shown gradually changed from steam to diesel and electric. .
All continents featured and included rarities from The Ukraine, Syria and Argentina.
The evening ended with modern scenes on the ECML and the final shot showing wagons over a buffer stop was introduced by Robin as " the end of the line".
Our many thanks to Robin for making the journey to Sheffield from York to deliver an excellent collection of slides with expert commentary which provided something for everybody to enjoy and to relate to their own outings and experiences.
Monday 14th November 2016
The Time Machine visits Northern Rails East of the Pennines
A large audience of 30 members and guests enjoyed the presentation by Steve Armitage on 14th November. Entitled "The Time Machine visits Northern Rails east of the Pennines" the content was of digitally enhanced images from slides, negatives, and prints obtained from the collections of many different photographers, together with images from postcards and newspaper records. The time period covered ranged from 1885 to the end of steam in the area and thus included black and white and colour images.
Starting in the north east and finishing in Sheffield, the boundaries were reached at Scarborough, Whitby, Hellifield and Marsden, with all points in between. A whole range of locomotives were shown, from pre-grouping companies up to BR Standard designs. Of particular interest were H & B locomotives, an NER 4-6-0 tank, the Deltic prototype on the S & C route trial runs and colour shots of the participants in the 1948 locomotive exchanges.
It was very interesting to note how much of the system and branch lines covered in the programme no longer exist, together with the loss of such items as the massive NER signal gantries, marshalling yards, sidings and the whole array of station and lineside artefacts.
An amazing content which kept the audience enthralled right to the end, even though we had to ask Steve to speed up at the end as we were running out of time.
Our many thanks to Steve for the enormous amount of time and effort he must have put in to produce the superb quality images from the source material, compile the excellently knowledgeable commentary and for presenting a thoroughly enjoyable and nostalgic evening.
Monday 24th October 2016
Diverted! Wakefield to Leeds via Huddersfield, Barnsley and Castleford
Phil Lockwood and Enid Vincent
Before the start of the evening's entertainment on 24th October, a larger size copy of the November Railway Observer was circulated for comment. Several were made, but as usual with the RO, there was no consensus of opinion, though some comments were quite forceful.
Moving onward, Branch members Phil Lockwood and Enid Vincent commenced the presentation of their slide show entitled "Diversion - Wakefield to Leeds via Huddersfield, Barnsley and Castleford".
Maps were provided for the audience to follow the routes shown. Besides visiting the locations mentioned in the title and stopping along the linking routes, the passengers on the diverted train found themselves not only reversing at Marsden, but also visiting many small branches and industrial locations.
The excellent slides covered the period from 1975 to date, and thus highlighted the many changes in the stations, infrastructure, locomotives and rolling stock with, of course, the many variations in liveries. The well researched commentary was shared by Enid and Phil to inform the audience of the histories of the locations, the identities of the trains shown, and any relevant dates.
The well presented and entertaining evening was enjoyed by the 19 strong audience and our many thanks to Enid and Phil for their hard work in researching and producing the presentation.
Looking forward to further diversions.
Monday 10th October 2016
All Aboard the Master Cutler
An audience of 25 attended the meeting on 10th October for the slide show presented by Chris Youett entitled "All aboard the Master Cutler".
Although this named train has followed several routes between London and Sheffield, Chris concentrated on the route serving Marylebone. Starting from this station the joint GC/GW route was taken to Princes Risborough before returning to Marylebone and proceeding along the joint GC/Met route to about Calvert.
The first sequence of slides showed the locomotives in the BR experimental liveries. It was pleasing to see 61661 here, as this locomotive has a certain Sheffield connection. All the locomotive types, steam and diesel and DMUs used on both routes featured strongly, with a great contrast between the excellent turn out of the GWR types and the poor external condition of the locomotives used in the final years of the through services on the GC line. Besides BR locomotives and DMUs, various varieties of London Transport stock appeared together with LT steam locomotive types in their red livery. Not often seen before were the slides depicting the gas turbine GT3.
Although arriving late due to late trains, Chris used his recovery time well to show all his slides for a punctual finish.
Our thanks to Chris for coming to Sheffield to show his collection of slides from many different photographers and also for his informative, though sometimes controversial, commentary.
Monday 26th September 2016
The Peter Fox Collection - 1980s into the 1990s
The subject of the opening meeting of the 2016/17 session on 26th September was another presentation by Andrew Barclay of slides from the Peter Fox collection, this time taking the 18 members of the audience into the 1980s and 90s.
Again scenes around Sheffield and Derby predominated, interspersed with locations where holidays had been taken, not only in the UK but in foreign parts such as France, Germany, Austria and the Benelux countries.
Peter's record keeping had been far from perfect, particularly with recording locations, so the audience was asked to identify and fill in the gaps. However, frequently the slides did not contain any significant landmarks or objects, so even the knowledgeable audience was stumped.
The varied nature of the subjects, which included trams and buses, brought back many personal memories and reminded us how the railway scene and in particular locomotive and vehicle liveries have changed.
Even the variable photographic quality of the slides did not spoil their enjoyment.
Our many thanks to Andrew not only for the excellent presentation, but also for the background effort involved in the sorting of the slides and the preparation of the presentation.
We are all looking forward to the next instalment.
Monday 25th April 2016
The Matlock Cable Tramway
For the final meeting of the 2015/16 session, the branch welcomed Glynn Waite to give his digital presentation on "The Matlock Cable Tramway".
The tramway owed its existence to the discovery of thermal springs in the area and the development of hotels, known as "hydros". As these establishments were on a hill overlooking the valley, it was proposed to construct a tramway to convey visitors up the steep hill as an encouragement to visit Matlock. Glynn outlined the early history and proposals and the persons involved. After several years, a prospectus was issued in 1891 and finally the tramway opened in 1893.
The route should have commenced at the railway station, but the river bridge was considered to be not strong enough for the trams, so passengers had to walk to the tram stop. The route was half a mile long and included a gradient of one in five and a half.
Fortunes fluctuated from profit to loss and in 1898 the shareholders sold out to the local council, who similarly suffered ups and downs before finally closing the system in December 1927.
Glynn's pictures and knowledgeable commentary covered the route, the three trams, the depot at the top of the system, the fares charged, the tickets issued and the staff and personalities involved. It was obvious that Glynn had conducted a thorough research and we were amazed at the amount of documentation and photographs that he had unearthed to compile the presentation and also to write a book on the tramway system.
Our many thanks to Glynn for the entertaining and educational evening on a system certainly not known in detail to many of the audience and also providing an insight into the conditions and life style of the period the tramway was in operation.
Monday 11th April 2016
An Evening with Les
The meeting on 11th April was advertised as "An Evening with Les", so from previous experiences, the audience knew what to expect and were not disappointed. Superb photography and visits to most parts of the world were again what we received. The shots covered a wide time zone from the 1960s to the 2000s.
Commencing near to home in the Hope Valley, we were soon transported to South Africa, the USA and China before returning to the UK for diesel and electric traction scenes from the late 1960s. Before the evening was over we had visited all continents except Australia, (if this can be counted as one) and which included some rarely seen countries such as Lebanon, Peru, Taiwan and Java. Preservation and industrial scenes also featured.
Les pointed out that nearly all the settings and traction shown could not now be repeated and he still regrets missing out on some of the early examples of what is now considered to be "modern traction".
There was something for everybody in the content and, no doubt, brought back to members of the audience many recollections of their past railway adventures and travels.
Once again our many thanks to Les for compiling a further selection of his slides and presenting them with his usual slightly controversial and amusing comments.
last updated: 15/03/17