Presenter: Alan Wallbank
On Weds 27 Jan 2021, the Chichester branch enjoyed a return visit from Branch Member, and former Footplateman, Alan Wallbank, who showed two further films which he had made, each of local (South Coast) relevance.
The first film ‘It’s Nice to be Small’ was primarily regarding the Southsea Miniature Railway, which began its pre- WW2 life as a Nine-and-a-half-gauge line, before its post war regauging to Ten and a quarter. Later, in the 70’s it would briefly expand to 17”, before reverting to Ten and a quarter prior to its final closure, in 1984.
59 round trips on a Bank Holiday- Crikey!
‘Complicated’, ‘hidden’, and ‘dismantled’ are all words which spring to mind within any small gauge saga, and the relationships to other similar local(ish) lines, the Southern Miniature Railways group, and the various changes of ownership, were covered.
The second film ‘A Delightful Day Out’, covered the 53 years, post closure history of the much-missed Hayling Island branch, albeit with sufficient ‘Terrier clips’ to leave everyone satisfied.
As with the Southsea film, the relevance of other local lines ( in this case the nascent ‘Sadler’ era Meon Valley line) also came into the story, and included much information regarding the Hayling Light Railway Society’s intention to convert the route into a tramway.
As with so many closures of that period, there was considerable resistance to any reopening, with the usual Local Authority Road building bogeyman lurking in the background!
Both films were excellent presentations, using a variety of images, still photographs and contemporary footage, as well as present day scenes, and interviews with some of the participants,
A Fascinating evening, covering aspects of not only Railway, but also Local, History.