On account of the current coronavirus lockdown our regular meeting scheduled for 11th May had, like all Society meetings, had to be cancelled, at least in conventional form. In its place, the Branch held a virtual, on-line, meeting – was this a first for the Society? – via the medium of “Zoom”, following a couple of trials. It featured Members’ Images, and was attended by 13 members, 4 of whom contributed.
To start, John Armitage showed a selection of photographs taken last September on a trip to Eastleigh Works, organised by the Omnibus Society in an immaculately restored Daimler double decker bus. Shots included scruffy locomotives, trains which had just arrived for repair and/or refurbishment and beautifully repainted examples waiting to be returned to their owners or operators. These included a former Southampton Docks diesel-electric shunter (BR class 07), representatives of Classes 47, 73, 313, 314 (from Scotrail!), 442 and a “55xxx bubble car”.
Next came a professionally produced presentation (including musical accompaniment!) entitled “Main Line Steam” from David Beard. These included 70013 Oliver Cromwell, ex-LMSR ‘Black 5s’ 45231 The Sherwood Forester, 44932 & 45305, 48151, 60163 Tornado, 6201 Princess Elizabeth, 61306 Mayflower and – of course – a selection of Bulleid Pacifics – some disguised as other members of the class . The first half concluded with Jeremy Harrison showing a few pictures from the Ken Nunn Collection, dating from 1945, following the recently celebrated 75th Anniversary of VE Day.
After a short break, Ken Owen showed images taken along the Coastway line, featuring the class 313 units now in use there, between Littlehampton and Seaford, chiefly to record the signal boxes and semaphore signals before the line was upgraded, the section between Lewes and the Seaford branch being finally completed in November 2019. The meeting finished with Jeremy showing a random variety of images, many of steam taken on photographic charters on preserved railways.
Our grateful thanks go to Jeremy for taking the initiative to organise this online meeting to provide some interest during an otherwise largely barren time for rail enthusiasts. While in many ways an experiment, it was enjoyed and regarded as a success by all who attended.