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Sussex

Meeting Reports

Monday 23rd October 2017
The Railways of Paris, their History and Development - Part 1
Mike Bunn

For our October meeting we welcomed Michael Bunn who presented The Railways of Paris, their history and development - Part 1.
Michael commenced by outlining the various companies, when they arrived in Paris and their expansion. He then moved on to the Chemin de fer de Petite Ceinture, a line which formed a circle around Paris that gave links to each of the terminal stations. Today, some of the lines still exist, primarily for empty stock workings, but much is disused.
Michael then spoke about the Metro, it's construction, the stations and the reasons for the very ornate entrances at some of them. He also pointed out the very plain entrances that the unwary could pass by, not realising what they were. There was a small discussion on the RER but Michael has a presentation on this which is an evening's talk on its own.
The concluding section covered the locomotives and rolling stock used in the area from the earliest days to the present.

This was a memorable evening with a superb set of pictures and delivered in a very informative manner. Highly recommended, these few words cannot do it justice.

Monday 25th September 2017
Das RhB - The Rhatische Bahn
Ted Vaughan

Our indoor meeting season re-opened with a visit from Ted Vaughan who presented Das RhB - The Rhatische Bahn. This Swiss railway is rather unique as it runs wholly within the canton of Graubunden with the exception of a short run over the border to Tirano in Italy.
Ted commenced by giving the history of this line and then he went through the variety of rolling stock from inception up to the present day. To give an appreciation of the gradients involved, Ted had charts to show the way that the RhB climbs over 1,800 feet in 8 miles over a 5 mile horizontal section. He followed this up with slides showing how this was executed and resulted in him taking his views from some quite hair raising locations.
Inevitably, snow had to feature in the show, and Ted explained how the RhB deals with it, followed up with slides illustrating his narrative. As one may imagine, nice white snow and a clear blue sky produces fine shots, but Ted had also taken shots in near white out conditions to illustrate the ploughs at work.
This was a most interesting presentation, well illustrated and presented from firsthand knowledge, with a lot of walking involved to get the shots.
The downside was that we only had 6 members attend from the two societies and one visitor.

Come on chaps, we must do better, especially when our speaker made a 150 mile round trip for our benefit.

Monday 26th June 2017
The Mid-Hants - its history and operation
Brian Dalton

Our final show on 26th June, before our summer break, was entitled The Mid Hants - Its history and operation, presented by Brian Dalton.
Brian charted the fall and decline of the line from the arrival of the London and Southampton Railway in 1858, the opening of the Alton, Alresford and Winchester Railway in 1863, to closure in 1973. Traffic was never that prolific, being mainly rural in nature, and the abundance of watercress grown in the area giving the line its nickname. The challenging gradients in the Medsted area earned the nickname of The Alps.
Upon closure the Hampshire County Council paid to ensure the track wasn't lifted to enable the fledgling Mid Hants Railway to start up. Initially, the 3 miles from Ropley to Alresford was operated.
County Council funding ceased in 1985 and the track was lifted.
It took another 9 years to relay the whole 7 miles of track costing £1 million. By 2002 the debt was paid off and a period of painful acrimony was finally laid to rest.
Today's railway continues to prosper. It has a very good loco works facility, and Brian paid a great tribute to the many devoted volunteers who help to make the line what it is today.
A good story well told.

Monday 24th April 2017
The Patriot Project
John Borrowdale

A nice sized audience, which included a welcome visitor from the South East branch, saw John Borrowdale give his talk in April on the LMS Patriot Project.

The talk was a mixture of the history of the class and current new build project. We started off with the history of the class which originally started as a rebuild of Claughton 4 6 0's and were known as Patriot's from 1937 when the first was named. 52 were built of which 42 were named and we saw various slides from the 1950's and 60's of the class at work. However, the Patriot was the only LMS 4-6-0 which was not preserved which has led to the new build. The new build was started in 2008 and is currently being constructed at Llangollen. It will be in the LMS crimson livery and will be called the Unknown Warrior after being chosen by the public in a competition in Steam Railway magazine. It is hoped it will be ready to steam in 2018 and will eventually run on the main line. John showed us a number of slides of the building project as it has progressed and we thank him for his interesting and informative talk.

Monday 27th March 2017
Photos from the Ken Nunn Collection
Mike Hudson

Mike Hudson presented The Ken Nunn Collection for our March meeting. Ken was a prolific photographer, using glass plates, and travelled extensively from around 1900 to the 1960s. His collection includes the work of 4 other photographers and is held by the LCGB.
Mike took us on a tour around Britain starting on the London, Tilbury and Southend. We then travelled via a variety of mainly pre-grouping railways through East Anglia, East Coast mainline, the North East, up into Scotland, back through Carlisle, Liverpool, Manchester, down through Wales before terminating at Cardiff. Although often forgotten some minor railways and industrials were included.
Mike had done a huge amount of research and was able to give quite detailed explanations of each locomotive, which was a great help to those who had no knowledge of many ancient classes.
Mike didn't rush through the programme which enabled us to take in the finer points of the locomotives and to enjoy scenes of years ago. We were also able to admire the work of the photographer and appreciate his legacy.

This was a rather splendid evening and we look forward to Mike returning to continue the journey.
Highly recommended.

Monday 27th February 2017
A Continental Miscellany
Brian Boddy

Due to our advertised speaker having to receive "works attention" Brian Boddy came along to present "A Continental Miscellany".
During 2016 Brian had visited 7 European countries during the year and this was a chronicle of his travels.
. Starting off at the Baie de Somme Railway's "Fete Vapour" Brian took us on to Berlin with a side trip to Prague. Switzerland was next, before going on to the Netherlands and then on into Belgium. A quick trip into Luxembourg came next with our journey terminating in Paris.
The entire show was well illustrated with, not only a wide variety of railway vehicles, but also funiculars, a miniature railway, trams and buses.
Brian also showed us the Berlin Wall and Checkpoint Charlie with suitable advice on how to get good shots without tourists.

All in all a very good evening's entertainment.
Sadly we only had an audience of seven and that was bolstered by 2 visitors, one from London and one local.

Monday 23rd January 2017
Photos from the Bill Jackson Collection - Part 2
Brian Jackson

Brian Jackson presented Photos from the Bill Jackson Collection - Part 2 on 23rd January. Brian had selected photographs from 1953 and what a treat. Much of what his father Bill had taken was Southern based but included everything from oldest to newest and mundane (for the period) to unusual. A key activity had been to record the various locomotives that had been transferred in from other regions to cover for the Merchant Navys which had been stopped due to faults on their axles.
A holiday in Scotland that year enabled us to enjoy a rich selection of stock and locations from that area. Stopping off at some collieries in the Ashington, Northumberland area, primarily for ex-Southern locos, Bill had also taken a variety of industrial types which added a good deal of interest.
We are indebted for the efforts that Bill made to record the railway scene over 50 years ago, and, of course, to Brian who has done much work to put together a most excellent and highly recommended presentation with a detailed commentary.

It is a great pity that only 4 members were in attendance, although foggy weather and railway industrial action played a part.

Monday 19th December 2016
Member's Memories

Members Memories was the title for our December meeting and what memories.
Godfrey Gould kicked off with a variety of transport subjects mainly taken whilst on a cruise around Italy. Keith Carter followed up with his trips in the year predominantly in Germany, Switzerland and the Isle of Man. Les Dench delved into his archives and gave a fabulous presentation on many types of traction and stations long gone. John Beckett was next up in Romania in Communist days, a superb rare archive.

After the interval John Hayward started off in South Africa and then off to Scotland. Michael Welch offered delightful scenes of snow on the West Highland line and then to the Settle &Carlisle line in summer. Nick Kelly offered shots across Europe from his travels. Paul Snelling had also been travelling but included shots from his local station.
Our evening concluded with a very interesting set of pictures from Mike Hudson predominantly taken at Barnham pre-1932.

Although our attendance was smaller than usual it was nonetheless very enjoyable and highlighted the variety of interest within our group.

last updated: 03/11/17