The new season of meetings began in September when Mike Taylor from Burnley presented a digitised selection of photographs taken by the late Bill Ashcroft, who was a well-known face around the northern railway scene in the 50’s and 60’s who organised numerous RCTS tours in the North West.

Splendid black and white images were to illustrate a journey originating at Preston, which was to be the focal point of the material. Many were the pictures of Scots, Coronations, Patriots and Britannia’s that abounded at either the station or the motive power depot.

Initially the journey took an easterly route around East Lancashire taking in Farington Junction and Lostock Hall shed where activity at each location was shown in some detail. Travelling northwards along the West Coast main line to Lancaster where, in addition to the regular main line locomotives, the locations brought images of the Morecambe electrics thus adding to the variation of motive mower. Carnforth was to be seen in pre-electrification days and also those of the present West Coast Railway Company where the sheds were once sited. Meandering off the beaten track took the audience through to Hellifield where images of the depot recalled all of what was once on offer at this, the most easterly point of the presentation. Interesting steam day pictures of the ex L&Y Horwich workshops, were in evidence whilst Aintree and Liverpool Exchange featured as the western extremity of the show. Overall a most wide ranging array of Midland Region motive power was, naturally, to be seen. However in paying respect to the photographer, as an RCTS tour enthusiast/organiser, a section of illustrations was devoted to the Tyne-Solway rail tour (a West Riding venture) which featured 60131 ‘Osprey’ as the centrepiece locomotive.

Following shortly behind the regular September evening meeting was the autumn afternoon session, which attracted the usual steady number of attendees. A most interesting and detailed presentation was delivered by Roger Hepworth speaking to the subject of “Steam East of Wakefield”, comprising of many excellent, mainly, black and white images taken by him in the fifties and sixties. Interjections of colour photographs appeared throughout the programme as were a plentiful supply of diesels since the material covered the transition years from steam to diesel. Early illustrations covered workings around Ossett and Wakefield featuring much of the Eastern Region motive power, especially the main line Pacifics working back and forth from Doncaster and beyond.

Every day action in Leeds where locomotives from both Eastern and Midland regions came together, described a mixture of motive power at both Central and City stations. Passenger and freight duties within and around the city were shown in equal mix.

The route from Wakefield and Leeds detailed much of what was to be seen whilst travelling towards York. A particular sequence of images dwelt on activities on East Coast metals in the vicinity of Heck. Naturally York was to be the scene where station and shed movements were concentrated.

Moving northwards North Eastern locations and visitations took in both the main East Coast and Durham coast routes to Newcastle before material from the York-Scarborough line and East Coast holiday towns brought the show to conclusion.

th October at our usual Saltaire venue, commencing at 7.30pm.If you are in contact with any member who does not receive this newsletter please spread the work although it is correctly reported in the RO and in “The Railway Magazine”. In advance of the December meeting this too will be one week earlier than normal (12th December) in order to avoid a clash with Christmas festivities.

Speaking of the RO, I am well aware that the October edition has yet to appear through the letterbox. All I can tell you is that the Editor has been on holiday and only returned last week. However the digital version is on the website and has been since the beginning of the month. It can be viewed there should anyone so wish. My contact at Head Office tells me that the printed magazine will be posted out this weekend. Because of the editorial delays our above branch meetings, together with that of the up and coming October meeting, will not be in the RO until December. My apologies for this but please don’t shoot the messenger!

What I have noticed in the October RO is that Bill Smith’s book telling of the railways around Wharfedale has been reviewed and is a recommended buy. This could be a useful Christmas present for someone! It can be purchased from “The Grove Bookshop” in Ilkley, price £12.95.

The annual membership renewals process has just commenced and I hope that all will be renewing their membership for a further year. There is a full branch programme of meetings already in place until August 2020 and speakers to the end of that year have already been outlined. Early renewals are always appreciated.

My thanks to all of you for your continued support and I hope to see as many of you as possible on 24th October.


Last updated: 11th October 2019