24 March 2021 · The Last Year of Southern Steam

Presenter: Derek Spicer

Derek took us back to an era which never fails to attract much interest. Touring the South during 1967 he captured many fascinating steam images and set the scene with a very grubby West Country Pacific 34002 ‘Salisbury’. Sadly in the final months of steam in the South much of the infrastructure, locomotives and rolling stock had seen better days, reflected in the majority of images shown.

Several rail tours were represented, early in the year images of the LCGB South Western Suburban 100th rail tour at Shepperton, Twickenham and Windsor & Eton Riverside. Bulleid Pacifics and BR Standard locomotive dominated, but in June Gresley A4 4498 reached Weymouth from Waterloo with the A4 Locomotive Society Tour. The RCTS ‘Farewell to Southern Steam’ tour followed on 18 June, photographed at Fareham, bringing the focus back to traditional southern motive power.

April saw the end of steam on the Lymington branch, Derek recording the Ivatt’s final journey’s, complete with commemorative headboards. An image of the head shunt at Lymington Pier confirming how perilously close it was to the sea!

Parkstone and Upwey banks were favourite locations, where Derek captured sound recordings to enhance the photographic images. The latter often providing the spectacle of double heading and rear banking.

Inevitably the end came all too quickly, the final week being well covered by Derek’s camera. Memorably he was able to jump on a Windsor line train at Waterloo and capture several shots of 34037 Clovelly simultaneously departing Waterloo and progressing to Vauxhall with the 18:20 Boat Train to Southampton Docks on Saturday 08 July.

The following and final day of steam brought the disappointment of no steam loco on the Bournemouth Belle. Derek sadly headed home, but one final surprise, when he came across USA Class 30072 paused at Fareham, heading to Salisbury from Guildford, where it would finally be laid to rest.

Thank you Derek for bringing back the memories.