Our first meeting of the year on the 24th January was necessarily held on Zoom, when Member Brian Sullivan presented Part 3 in the series on the North Staffordshire Railway. Using historical material, Cobb maps and photographs, particularly those taken by the late Tommy Tomalin, Brian took us on a tour of more of the railways built by the North Staffs Railway. This time we looked at the western side of the Stoke area and its interfaces with the LNWR at Colwich and Norton Bridge, and with the GWR at Market Drayton. We took in all the lines looking at the stations and halts on each, from early photographs and Tommy’s from the 1960s and his later forays into viewing what remained in the 2000s. We were treated to mainly 8Fs, and some diesel traction, on coal trains hauling loads from the numerous collieries in the area . Tommy had covered the branch lines comprehensively over the years, photographing the railway scene as he saw it, up and down embankments, up signal posts and lifts in brake vans and on the footplate. Sadly most of these lines have now gone with only the present day electrified line from Colwich to Stoke and Crewe, remaining. Many of us are, or were, not familiar with this area, but thanks to Brian’s presentation and Tommy’s outings, we are now. There were 24 attendees, evenly split between Branch Members and those from Branches near and far, thanks to the posting on the website. The furthest was in South Africa, a former RCTS member.
Part 4 promises to continue this impressive survey of the NSR, looking at the Stoke area itself in more detail and the route north west up to Sandbach..