South Essex

Meeting Reports

Monday 18th September 2017
Adrian Wright

A presentation on “Railways to the Seaside” by Adrian Wright heralded the start of the winter programme for the South East Essex Branch on September 18th.
Adrian opened with an outline of how the development of the seaside resort blossomed on the arrival of the railways. He drew on a wide range of national examples, but the three originals Brighton, Scarborough and Weymouth predominated.
An in depth study of the arrival of the railway in Clacton followed. The origins came from the Colchester, Stour Valley, Sudbury and Halstead Railway built for the transportation of farm produce to the port of Hythe in 1847.The Tendring Hundred Railway extended this line to Walton(1867) and to Clacton(1882) with the GER operating the trains before taking over completely in 1883.
Adrian then took us on a journey along the line from Clacton to Colchester covering the motive power during the ages and items of interest en route. The original Tendring Hundred Railway station buildings still extant at Alresford, Weeley and Great Bentley plus the GER stables at Wivenhoe.
Slightly off course, but of great interest, were some shots of the short lived Jaywick Minature Railway, an 18 inch gauge opened in 1936, but closed on the outbreak of war in 1939. Motive power was .a beautiful model of a Stirling Single, built by students at Regent Street Polytechnic and happily still in existence at the Sandy Bay Museum in Exmouth.
A similar exhaustive coverage of the line from Norwich to Cromer brought a thoroughly enjoyable and informative evening to a close.

Monday 17th July 2017
Mangapps Farm Railway Museum

On 19th July 30 members and friends attended our annual evening visit to Mangapps Railway Museum near Burnham on Crouch.
June and John Jolly provided the usual warm welcome and we had trips behind 03081 on the main line while D2325 with the ex Canadian caboose performed on the branch.
With the vast collection of railway items to view it all made for a very pleasant Summer evening's outing.

Monday 19th June 2017
Scottish Steam
David Kelso

David Kelso entertained us at our June meeting with his presentation 'Scottish Steam 1948 to 1960'.
On this sweltering evening the attendance was slightly reduced but David did well to keep everyone's attention with a superb collection of very well captioned Scottish images. He had railway connections as his grandfather was a GSW/LMS driver at Ardrossan and very appropriately we started with a GSW 4-4-0.
Surprisingly, David is not a Scot but was evacuated to Edinburgh because of the blitz, hence there was extensive coverage of that area with the many branches around the City being well recorded, mostly with vintage NB power. The classic spotless Haymarket Pacifics were seen in all their glory on various East Coast duties, whilst the LMS in Edinburgh was not forgotten with many shots at Dalry Road and Princes Street.
Brief glimpses of the GNOS section, including a green B12 and a D40, were followed by the inevitable G5 at Kelso! There were some memorable shots in the Dalmeny area, and a rare image of a CR 0-4-4T at Ladybank on a train to Kinross.
The Glasgow area followed, a shot of the last CR 60 in use at Hamilton being noteworthy. Sequences north and south of Beattock Summit, the two routes to Stranraer and to conclude, steam shots on the Highland main line from Perth to Inverness.

All in all a wonderful show with the many humorous comments adding to the enjoyment.

Monday 15th May 2017
Strictly Freight Only Part 2
Brian Ringer

A large audience attended our May meeting to hear Brian Ringer give his presentation 'Strictly Freight Part II ', which with Part I reviews UK rail freight over the past 60 years. Brian's superbly detailed knowledge of the subject came to the fore as we were taken through the many changes which have taken place in the freight scene since the 70's.
A potted history of train ferries, their unusual operating features and their traffics interestingly revealed that the GER planned the first such service, from Harwich to Zeebrugge, although it was actually introduced by the LNER. The ultimate was reached in the 'Nord Pas de Calais' vessel which was capable of 4 round trips each day to Dunkerque. Sadly the early promise for freight traffic through the Channel Tunnel had failed to materialise.
Some surprising information came to light when reviewing the many BR freight sectors and, since privatisation, the freight companies, particularly regarding profitability, or not in some cases.
Ed Burkhardt's takeover (as EWS) of 90% of the freight operations was a major change but since then GBRF and Freightliner have emerged as the major players.
All this was illustrated by varied and imaginative views all over the UK and we were brought up to date with shots of a brand new Colas 70 and a DRS 68. A very interesting and wonderfully presented talk.

Monday 20th March 2017
Addlestone to Beijing
Irene Rabbits & Andy Davies

Our March presentation was unusual in that it recorded a very long rail journey of no less than 6744 miles from Addlestone to Beijing, which presenters Irene Rabbitts and Andy Davies had completed in 2010. Irene ably commented on the photos, mostly taken by Andy, and it was fascinating to hear a lot of facts and figures but also their impressions of the countries through which they travelled.
Starting with a SWT EMU, it was then on to St Pancras for the Eurostar to Brussels, where there was a break to view the local rail scene, before continuing by THALYS to Koln.
An overnight journey to Warsaw followed with some very colourful liveries being noted on the Polish stock. Continuing on another overnight and viewing the slick bogie changing operation at the Belarus border it was then eventually into Russia and the long haul to Moscow where they had a two night stay.
The main impression in Russia was that everything was big, from the railway loading gauge permitting very high and wide locos and stock, to massive stations and buildings. We saw a lot of the famous Metro stations, all without advertising of any kind and several other impressive sights including a preserved 32 wheel rail gun.
Then it was a lengthy 4 night trip to Irkutsh on Lake Baikal via Omsk and Novosibirsk. Station stops were often long, allowing limited exploration, whilst photography was not a problem. A hydrofoil trip on the lake emphasised just how vast it is, whilst the B & B type accommodation here was interesting.
Onwards via Ulan Ede to the capital of Mongolia, Ulan Bator, where surprisingly English was spoken. It was noticeable that the diesel locos here were not so well maintained with a lot of thick black exhausts. The Mongolian restaurant car from Ulan Bator was very ornate with lots of wood panelling this part of the journey being across the Gobi desert.
Paddy fields and new high speed line construction were seen in China before arrival in Beijing and the flight home.
An epic and inspiring journey.

Monday 20th February 2017
Gloucester to Gloucester
Rev. Canon Brian Arman, RCTS President

Our February meeting saw the first visit by our fortunately restored to health President, Reverend Canon Brian Arman, with a mostly steam journey from 'Gloucester to Gloucester'.
His GW credentials and affiliation were undoubted as he was born in Swindon, so we started with a view of a 41XX at Gloucester on a Hereford train. Gloucester had great variety of course and we saw a lot of the Midland side before progressing down that route to Barrow Road shed and into Temple Meads. The original terminal platforms here were seen, soon to be frequented by high speed Azumas which Brunel would have been very pleased to see.
It was then on to the S & D, with all the well known types seen at work on this very characterful railway including an interesting close up of a Whitaker tablet catcher.
A Britannia (70009) on Branksome shed was rare and was followed by shots, some pre-war, in the Bournemouth, Southampton and Eastleigh areas, the highlight being a view of a 'Leader' in steam.
Then it was a tour of the London termini with their huge variety of steam power before seeing the distinctive LNW tanks at Wolverton Works. The old New Street was full of atmosphere and we also saw a shot of the rarely photographed Monument Lane shed.
So it was back to Gloucester via stirring steam shots on the Lickey and a Royal Scot on the up Devonian.
Our speaker admitted he was a collector of railwayana and owned the cabside numberplate from 4100 and the nameplate from his favourite 'Hall', 6959. So far, though, he had failed to acquire the nameplate from 30782!

This was a very good presentation duly appreciated by the large audience.

Monday 16th January 2017
Locomotives That Never Were
David Couzens Howard

SOUTH ESSEX Local member David Couzens-Howard talked to us about 'Locomotives that never were' at our January meeting, a subject which had fascinated him and something he had researched at length. He first explored the many and varied reasons for these designs not seeing the light of day with chance, 'traditional thinking' and even weather playing a part.
In his early life he had worked on the footplate at Hornsey depot and recalled the tale when, as a fireman on a light northbound WD, they took over from a failed diesel at Hatfield and worked the train to Kings Cross tender first, believed to be the only visit of a WD to this terminus.
Starting in 1905 and going through to the mid 60s we saw drawings of various proposed steam types, with just a small number of other forms of power, many also being vividly brought to life in paintings. David commented on the need and practicality of each, some being so deficient that one wondered how they reached the drawing board stage. Many were proposed to overcome particular problems e.g. a 1920 GC design of 0-8-4-0-8T with 140k lbs of tractive effort for Wentworth banking duties and a Maunsell designed 4-8-0 of 1932 for Kent coal traffic.
The well considered writings of Professor Tuplin and A.J.Powell were mentioned with the latter proposing in 1948 a Super Duchess to work from Euston to Preston and a 4-6-2 + 2-6-4 Garratt to work Preston to Glasgow. What magnificent sights and sounds they would have provided !

This was a fascinating talk on a little known subject and David is to be congratulated on his knowledge of it and his detailed research into it.

Monday 19th December 2016
Branch AGM and Members' Slides

There was a good attendance for our AGM on 19th December, the business being conducted very efficiently. Jim Waite has been Chairman throughout the Branch's 23 year existence and he had intended to stand down but fortunately has agreed to continue for a further year while newly appointed Vice Chairman Rodger Green learns the ropes. To acknowledge Jim's great service to the Branch he was made Hon. Branch President, being presented with a suitable certificate. Two other branch stalwarts, Chris Hazle (our catering manager) and husband Brian are standing down after many years service but fortunately replacements have come forward.

The AGM was followed by members' presentations, both slides and digital, Geoff Brockett leading the way with topical views of mostly loco hauled movements in 2016, a sequence on Belstead Bank illustrating the great variety of power on the GEML. In contrast David Johnson showed some nostalgic views, mostly in Scotland, from 50 years ago.
After seasonal refreshments, kindly provided by members' wives, Rodger Green showed scanned scenes from railway calendars with some very high quality images. Iain Scotchman covered his extensive travels during the year, ranging from Ecuador, France, Finland and Germany to interesting local scenes in the UK and David Flatman concluded the evening with a selection from his visits to UK heritage railways.

last updated: 25/09/17