13th April 2019 · ‘Saltash Auto to HST’

Presenter: Terry Nicholls

On 13th April the West of England branch welcomed the return of one of our founding members when Terry Nicholls presented ‘From Saltash Auto to HST’.

As a born and bred Plymouthian, Terry explained how his early interest in railways led to him working St Budeaux signal box before he’d even left school, and one of his first photos was taken from the box depicting an auto train passing in 1957.

When joining the railway he worked firstly at Millbay before moving to Laira shed and we heard anecdotes of working at both locations as well as seeing examples of his burgeoning talent as a photographer.

His career then took him to Bristol where he worked firstly for the Divisional Locomotive Engineer before moving to Bristol Control.

His photographic ability meant that he was called upon to record various accidents in the area and we also saw staged photos of potential work hazards that were taken for training purposes.

He was able to record the very first HST engine change at Bristol, which had to be undertaken by a steam crane! The acrophobic amongst us shuddered when we saw views from the Royal Albert Bridge when Terry achieved a life-long ambition to walk across it, not over the decks but rather the main tubes!

His final career move took him to Swindon Control from where he retired in 1997, but a long family tradition (particularly on his wife’s side) of working on the railway continues with his son now an IET driver.

Our thanks go to Terry for a truly fascinating evening’s entertainment.