Meeting Reports

Meeting Reports



Monday 16th September

'American Wanderings - Heading East'

Gordon Davies

At Coventry on 16th September Society Chairman Gordon Davies took us to the USA covering the Eastern side of the states under the title “American Wanderings – Heading East”. He commenced in Atlanta where his prime object was the famous “The General”. We then proceeded steadily north finishing in Boston with, on the way, lineside visits and entrance to numerous museums, both large and small, housing a wide variety of steam and diesel as well as some trams. The light rail systems, now proliferating in the states, were not forgotten. Big Boy 4012 featured but had not yet been restored at this time. The Cass Scenic Railroad with its fleet of standard gauge Shay also featured. A superb show of digital images which captured the many varied liveries to be encountered not least the roundhouse at Altoona with the display of fallen flag liveries which have gone to form the present Norfolk and Southern Railroad. A fine start to the Coventry programme.

Monday 2nd September 2019

'All Things Irish - Part 2'

Chris Youett

The Branch programme for 2019/20 commenced at the Birmingham venue on 2nd September. We welcomed back local stalwart Chris Youett his subject being “All things Irish part 2”. There followed a whiz round Ireland north and South with slides of steam, diesel both old and new. A colourful history with particular interest in the RCTS, SLS, IRRS joint tour of 1961. Several narrow gauge lines were shown including the Tralee and Dingle which closed in 1953. Many thanks are due to Chris for a storming start to the season accompanied by his usual anecdotes and element of controversy.

Monday 15th April 2019

"Building the New Memorial Locomotive"

John Hastings-Thomson

At Coventry on 15th April John Hastings-Thomson gave a very enlightening talk on “Building the New Memorial Locomotive”.

John has been a leading part in the project from its inception in 2007 and this expanded on his talk to the Branch in 2013. He outlined in some detail the reason for choosing 5551 “The Unknown Warrior” as carrying on the long tradition of the LNWR for a memorial locomotive beginning with Claughton named “Patriot” in 1920.

His comprehensive selection of illustrations, including details of technical items, followed the inception of the project, the production of the required parts up to the present. Fully explained were the many pitfalls and problems with new build and the reasons for it being moved from various sites, particularly the recent one from Llangollen, to its present location at Crewe.

Originally intended to steam for the celebrations to mark the end of the Great War it is now hoped that it will grace the main line during 2020. Funds are being raised to acquire a BR Mk1 brake second as a support coach. Quotes are in the process of being evaluated from contractors to complete the building although the group many decide to do it themselves.

As an aside the New Zealand Memorial locomotive was illustrated, appropriately named "Passchendaele”.

Monday 1st April 2019

'Last Train Gone'

Adrian White

Adrian White from Stevenage came to the Birmingham meeting on 4th March with a digital presentation entitled “Last Train Gone”.

This was a review of everything old and new on the railways covering infrastructure, passengers, locomotives, trackside, and signalling.

However the main theme was railways in the landscape. We were treated to a whistle stop tour around Britain to almost every preserved system in the country.

After the break the journey continued to Europe and the USA before returning home. This presentation was most interesting and is highly recommended and commended to all branches.

The West Midlands Branch has already invited Adrian to return for the next seasons programme.



Monday 18th March 2019
'M & GN'
CXhris Youett

On 18th March at Coventry Steve Armitage was unable to give his presentation due transport failure. Fortunately local stalwart Chris Youett was able to stand in and presented one of his many collations, this one centred on the M & GN during its heyday and latter days.
However we commenced locally in Coventry with a visit to Nuneaton and the West Coast line then on to Shakerstone eventually ending up in Lincolnshire to join the joint line and on to its stamping ground in Norfolk and the M & GN. Here we covered most of the Company’s route with fine steam and diesel shots and view of stations. The Company’s other joint lines were covered into Cromer and down via the coast to Yarmouth. The incongruous retention of the branch to Lenwade was explained. At Cromer Beach views of the shed, now a Morrison’s supermarket, were shown. Many shots depicted the myriad holiday specials to the coast from the Midlands which were a feature of the line in its heyday.

A nostalgic display for which we thank Chris for stepping into the breach at the eleventh hour.

Monday 4th March 2019
'Next Train Gone'
Adrian White

Adrian White from Stevenage came to the Birmingham meeting on 4th March with a digital presentation entitled “Last Train Gone”. This was a review of everything old and new on the railway s covering infrastructure, passengers, locomotives, trackside, and signalling.
However the main theme was railways in the landscape. We were treated to a whistle stop tour around Britain to almost every preserved system in the country.
After the break the journey continued to Europe and the USA before returning home.

This presentation was most interesting and is highly recommended and commended to all branches. The West Midlands Branch has already invited Adrian to return for the next seasons programme.

Monday 18th February 2019
'Railways In Southern Africa.'
Brian Acford

The railways of southern Africa are well known for having possessed a large collection of mighty steam locomotives for the 3’6” gauge.
At Coventry on 18th February we were given a fine insight to these by Brian Acford from Rugby. He presented a steam filled show from his visits in 1981/2/5. At this time steam was starting to decline but most of the larger locomotives were still to be found on freight and in use as shed pilot or trip workings.
Covering South Africa in a tortuous circle we visited several depots such as Germinston and De Arr. The Garratt locomotives from various builders were featured and well as locomotives running with condensing tenders or additional water tanks.
As well as depots, superb action shots were shown with requested steam effects by obliging crews. The Natal 2’ gauge was also featured and also the many industrial concerns at collieries and mineral workings, each with their own locomotives, many ex SAR, or on hire from there. The show was concluded by a brief visit to Zimbabwe and the coal traffic at Wankie.

A show recommended to those who have memories of the area and those who were not so fortunate.

Monday 4th February 2019
A Selection of Narrow Gauge Railways
Ken Johnson

For our Birmingham meeting on 4th February we welcomed Ken Johnson from the Nuneaton Railway Circle who presented a slide show featuring narrow gauge in North Wales. We were treated to some vintage shots taken prior to 2010 and reflecting the many changes which have taken place.
The show commenced on the Welshpool and Llanfair and went through to finish on to the Welsh Highland, each accompanied with a potted history.

We thank Ken for his fact filled presentation and look forward to a future update.

Monday 21st January 2019
Branch AGM followed by Member's presentations

The Branch AGM was held in Coventry on 21st January 2019. The attendance was low and with various situations to be resolved the meeting took longer than usual. The Committee was reappointed with Peter Smith returning to the fold.

After the formalities presentations were given by Chris Berridge, Peter Bellamy, Chris Youett, and Derrick Codling. These proved full of interest and nostalgia.

Monday 17th December 2018
‘Steam on the Main Line 2018'
David Richards and Karl Jauncey of PSOV.

Twenty-six members and visitors gathered at Coventry on Monday 17th December 2018 to welcome one of the PSOV team, the other being unable to attend, to present their programme “Steam on the Main Line 2018”.
Workings as far afield as Kyle of Lochalsh, the Settle and Carlisle, and Cornwall ( where 35028 was making its first visit) were shown, with a constant reminder of the teamwork needed to record the workings in detail. Although many of the scenes were made in sunny weather, some attracted conditions which any photographer or recorder knows too well, and the result were a credit to the photographers and equipment.
We were reminded that some thirty years ago equipment would have cost many thousands, but now similar results can be obtained for much less an outlay.

We look forward to the PSOV’s team visit with their 2019 survey. Perhaps the paucity of GWR locomotive will not be so evident.

Monday 3rd December 2018
'Pure Genius – Part 1'
Chris Youett

At the Birmingham meeting on 3rd December we welcomed Chris Youett who presented a slide show entitled “Pure Genius- Part One”.
This comprised a collection of selected transparencies covering locomotives and historic coaches reflecting his interest in the Southern Irish Scene. We were reminded that the main gauge there is 5’ 3”. He began with pre-1930 stock and motive power both on Irish standard and narrow gauges and continued up until the 1950s.
Members and guests enjoyed the enthusiastic commentary which accompanied the slides and rewarded Chris with well deserved praise at the end of the show.

We look forward to future presentation of Parts 2 and 3.

Monday 5th November 2018
'The Locomotives of China Series – A Venture into Self-Publishing'
Robin Gibbons

At the Birmingham meeting on 5th November Robin Gibbons came to Burney Lane to give us a presentation entitled “The Locomotives of China” and also outline his venture into self publication of the results of his travels.
In part one Robin outlined the formation of his company and the pros and cons of setting it up. Being the proud owner of the nameplate from Hunt Class 62775 “The Tyndale” he decided the company should be called Tyndale Publishing.
In part two he outlined the classes of steam power in China with some detail including examples of British built locomotives. The first three volumes of his published books provide many images from early years up to modern times including diesel and electric traction.

An interesting talk on an overseas subject recommended to other branches

Last updated: 17th September 2019