13th April 2021 · ‘I didn’t waste 2020’

Presenter: Stuart Hicks

On 13 April Stuart Hicks, Thames Valley Branch Secretary, presented ‘I Didn’t Waste 2020’ via Zoom with 44 participants. Despite the restrictions caused by Covid lockdowns etc, Stuart was able to travel quite extensively. He heralded in the New Year with the famous fireworks display at Funchal (Madeira) before cruising on to Lisbon where transport was not forgotten and he spotted among others an old Brill-style vintage tram car No. 571.

While the remainder of January was spent mainly in Stratford and the Thames Valley, Stuart then embarked on a rail tour in Spain, a visit that included the Madrid Railway Museum. February commenced with a 20=hour flight to Perth, Australia where we saw the 4-8-2 Mountain S-Class, S542 ‘Bakewell’ at the East Perth railway terminal. We then visited the Port Adelaide National Railway Museum which is the largest railway museum in Australia, along with various trips by local trains and trams. Tasmania was the next stop with a ride on restored tram No.29 at the Launceston Tramway Museum, Don River Railway and Museum and appropriately the Sheffield Steam and Heritage Centre. We went to the Wee Georgie Wood Steam Railway (honestly!) which is a 2 Ft narrow gauge tourist tramway, obviously named after the short-statured British comedian.

Our next port of call was Melbourne, the state capital of Victoria, where transport consists of several inter-locking modes and is a hub for inter-city and regional travel where the largest tram, train and bus network in the world is to be found, being free of charge in the central area. Flying then to Sydney we were introduced to various modes of transport and of course the iconic Sydney Harbour bridge. Returning to England, several new 701’s on test were shown, Mid-Norfolk Railway, Long Melford, Framlingham etc. Later a £40 LNER flat fare trip from Kings Cross to Edinburgh enabled Stuart to to view the extension work for the Edinburgh trams. The evening was finalised with iconic Routemaster buses and a helicopter, identified by a knowledgeable member of the audience as a Lynx!

Thanks, Stuart, for an excellent evening, very much enjoyed by everyone present.