Presenter: Gordon Adams
Due to Covid-19 our first meeting of the new season was not in the Didcot Civic Hall, but virtually by ZOOM, probably the first of four monthly meetings this year. However, this was not our first Zoom meeting as the branch committee held a committee meeting in July and a trial meeting to a limited audience during August with Phil Deaves presenting “From Platform Bench to Viaduct Maintenance”. The results of both sessions gave the branch committee confidence that regular “virtual” meetings via Zoom could be held.
The September meeting was Southampton Railways Part 3 and again presented by Gordon Adams. Gordon started by a quick resume of Parts 1 and 2, talks he gave to the branch over the last two or three years.
Part 3 concentrated on the railways, north of Southampton Central Station, Millbrook Freightliner Terminal, Boat Trains and the Docks. The talk was superbly illustrated with photographs mostly taken by Gordon himself with quite a number from locations where it would not be possible to take photographs today, because of accessibility, whether legally or practicable or now nonexistent. You should know that Gordon was Southampton born and bred and some of his photographs reflected his early trainspotting days. His father was an Eastleigh works man for many years.
One section on the docks and the industrial locomotives employed there was a picture of “Bonnie Prince Charlie” (a 0-4-0T built by Robert Stephenson & Hawthorn in 1949) which was transferred from Hamworthy, Poole where it was used in the main to shunt coal wagons. It is thought to have been transferred via the mainline to Southampton under its own power. It is also thought not to have been used in earnest before it was sold into preservation. It now resides at the Didcot Railway Centre for all to see.
Several of Gordons photos reflected the scene pre re-signalling of the South West mainline with semaphore signals very much in evidence. It was also interesting to see the development of the Freightliner Terminal at Millbrook from its early days around the 60’s and 70’s and similarly, the area around Siemens Northam Depot, now and pre Seimens days.
Another great presentation by Gordon, full of detail that both fascinated and informed the audience in equal measures. I should think that Gordon has much more information and knowledge to impart to the branch and I am personally looking forward to Southampton Railways Part 4.