Wednesday 16th October 2019
The October meeting began with the sad announcement by the Branch Chairman of the very recent death of the Branch Secretary, Ted Vaughan, at the comparatively young age of 76.
The subject of the meeting was preparing St Pancras station for HS1. The presentation was given by the project’s Delivery Manager, Mervyn Dunwoody, who began by giving a short historical background to the station. By the 1960s the station was very run down and only just survived closure proposals. However, the construction of the Channel Tunnel Rail Link (HS1) breathed new life into the station. Rebuilding was necessary to remover over 100 years’ worth of soot and corroded metal and extend the main train shed to accommodate the long Eurostar trains. English Heritage dictated that as far as possible the restoration should follow the original style.
The condition of parts of the original building such as the pillars in the undercroft were very poor as illustrated by Mervyn’s slides. Great care had to be taken in restoring Barlow’s arched roof to ensure that excessive loads were not placed on the structure with precautions taken including the weighing of the workers and counting them in and out. Detailed slides were shown of the work carried out to restore the roof and gable ends.
The Midland Mainline trains could not be accommodated within the main train shed with the Eurostar trains and domestic services that use HS1. They are located in an extension on the west side of the building. It was not practical for this and the northward extension of the main shed to continue the arched roof of the original building.
For those who like facts and figures, 1 million bricks were used to replace damaged originals and construct the extension.
We thank Mervyn for his informative presentation.
Wednesday 18th September 2019
Our intended speaker from South Western Railway, Phil Dominey, was on other Company business and Mark Youngman gave a presentation instead. With an interesting job title of 'Customer and Communities Improvement fund manager' Mark explained that under the franchise agreement SWR had to provide a fund of £5.3m to be spent on projects put forward by local bodies and societies. This might mean improving access to a station by removing overgrown shrubs or providing a childrens play area overlooking a station to try and encourage youngsters to see people using trains. This idea has been put forward for Ropley station on the Mid Hants. Projects totalling £15m have been put forward.
Of the numerous commitments in the SWT franchise agreement one involved modernising and upgrading the Isle of Wight line. Shortly before the meeting
a decision on this was announced. Class 230 units will be provided, likely to be called class 484, to be introduced in May 2021. They will be electric trains.
The expected passing loop at Brading is included in the plans as is a second platform at Ryde Pier Head. The Island Council are providing funds towards the improvements.
On the mainland the class 701s should be in full service the autumn of 2020.
With audience involvement the subject turned the morbid subject of suicides and their effects on staff, passengers and witnesses.
An interesting and thought provoking evening and we thank Mark for his time.
If you wonder why class 484, the present stock is 483 and the earlier tube stock 485.
Saturday 10th August 2019
'Arlington Works Visit'
This was a good visit in that the weather stayed dry until we were leaving, although it was a bit windy. There was a lot to see as shown in the list below.
EASTLEIGH WORKS STOCK LIST 1
Kof II Shunter
EASTLEIGH WORKS STOCK LIST 2
ADB 975974 (T5)
ADB 975978 (T5)
Diesel Loco 9
Wednesday 19th June 2019
The evening was not one to encourage many members to observe trains at Eastleigh. Dismal weather and a strike by some SWT staff meant reduced activity. One northbound Freightliner appeared behind 66587 carrying its shocking pink (and white) ONE livery. ONE being Ocean Network Express.
Wednesday 15th May 2019
'Czech it out!'
To close the season Chairman John Godfrey spoke on the Czech Republic. The Czech Railways came into being in 1993 and John made his first visit four years later. Since then the railways have seen significant change. As the photographs showed liveries have multiplied. In early days drab green was common, with or without embellishments added by individual drivers. Private operators add colour with their own liveries. Cross border trains bring locos from Poland and Slovakia into the country. Whilst in his early visits John found these locos regularly came off their trains at border stations to be replaced by Czech locos, they now work further into the country. For passenger trains loco haulage was the subject of most photographs. On some services the diesel loco was hauling two or three 4-wheeled trailer coaches from a DMU unit. On some rural lines single car diesel units sufficed.
With John planning another visit shortly we will have the story brought up to date before long.
Wednesday 17th April 2019
April brought Martyn Davies with a selection of transport slides. Whilst railways dominated the evening we also found aircraft, shipping and buses on the screen. Possibly a first ever for us Martyn included hot air balloons in Switzerland.
Wednesday 20th March 2019
'An Evening of Nostalgia'
Mike Ellis gave an evening of nostalgia at our meeting on 20th March. Extracts of Mike's video films are included on commercial videos and some of these form the basis of the evening.
The first half of the evening comprised extracts in the form of still frames with short videos in the second half.
After the break we started and finished with trams in Blackpool. Heritage vehicles still ply the Promenade but we also ventured to Fleetwood with conventional street scenes.
Venturing to the Settle and Carlisle line we found The Great Marquess on a special working, whilst another special was headed by a pair of Black 5s.
Living in Morecambe it is inevitable Mike has filmed the Cambrian coast line, mainly class 37s on the passenger workings. These were also seen heading along the West Coast line. In this area if there was no attraction with the trains there was always the scenery behind.
Our thanks to Mike for a relaxing evening.
Wednesday 20th February 2019
Railways of Hampshire
Steve Bigley gave us a presentation on Hampshire railways on 20th February. Those who know Steve will expect the unusual and we were not disappointed. In Hedge End there is an estate where the road names commemorate railways. Steve had photos of many road signs, Terrier Close and Peppercorn Way being two. Unfortunately someone in authority hadn't consulted their ABC as the road sign for Billington Gardens included an unnecessary G. Network Rail's notices on bridges generally gave distances in miles and chains (or even half chains) but one Steve showed was in yards. The notice on Campbell Road bridge in Eastleigh referred to 'Locomotive Works', maybe Network Rail know something we don't!
Starting at Eastleigh, Steve worked clockwise round the area covering photos from the 1960s up to early 2019. We saw stations, viaducts (not many in Hampshire) and signal boxes, as well as seemingly unusual train movements. Freightliner trains from the Romsey direction running wrong line at Redbridge in order to access Maritime sidings.
Steve ventured off the national network to visit the writer's local railway, the Hythe Pier Railway and then headed to Fawley to see the last ever passenger trains to visit Fawley Station before access was blocked.
With constructive comments from the audience, this was an informative and interesting evening and we thank Steve for his presentation.
Wednesday 16th January 2019
Trams and trains in East Germany - 1988
To start the New Year Martin Petch presented slides of a holiday he took in East Germany in 1988. This was before the collapse of The Wall and showed the state of the country in Communist days. Martin and friend visited many of the narrow gauge railways as well as several tram systems.
On the Baltic coast we visited the Isle of Rugen where 0-8-0 well tanks were on passenger trains and the better known Molli, a line featuring street running in Bad Doberan. Inevitably Martin photographed several trains in the town centre.
A pause in Dresden produced trams, often near vintage motor+trailer sets. Sometimes the background revealed war damaged buildings still awaiting restoration. Nearby, we visited the Radeburg line with 2-10-2 tanks and commuter services, then Cranzahl and Zittau.
Continuing south we reached the Harz where we found Mallet 0-4-4-0 tanks working alongside the massive 2-10-2 tanks. Freight on transporter frames was still handled, but, being a tourist, Martin was forbidden from heading towards the Brocken.
Slides showed vast numbers of walkers alighting at some stations. In some places Martin had to be careful with his camera as the railway ran close to the West German border.
We were also shown scenes in some of the towns where Martin stayed. A feature too often was of dilapidated buildings in need of TLC. Memo to scribe - do I renew my passport and visit some of these lines?
Wednesday 19th December 2018
Christmas Film Evening
Our annual Christmas film evening produced two films.
The first showed railways around the Gosport area. It largely compared scenes of an operating railway, with recent scenes. In some instances on the Stokes Bay branch obvious railway bridges were now being used for footpaths. This film would have been better had there been a commentary.
The second film covered heritage railways in 2006 along with limited steam on the main line. Mostly gala and one off events were covered, ranging from the North York Moors to the Bodmin and Wenford via Bluebell and West Somerset amongst others. Somehow or other King Edward i seemed to appear with monotonous regularity!
Wednesday 21st November 2018
Steam and Survivors
Tony Storey opened his November presentation with mainly black and white photographs from the 1960s. Concentrating on our home patch we found M7s, pacifics and standard tanks on the Ringwood line towards the end of its life.
The later main line through New Milton featured many locations, footbridges and minor road bridges, gave unobstructed views of expresses and local services.
After the interval Tony turned to the survivors, largely seen on the heritage railways. Selecting just pacifics and tank locos we visited the Mid Hants and Swanage Railways amongst others. We were reminded that unconventional liveries sometimes adorned the locos, the Americanised USA tank on the Worth Valley in the 1970s being an example.
A nostalgic evening.
Last updated: 20th October 2019