Meeting Reports

Wednesday 26 May 2021

Three Decades of Change on the Footplate

Lee Davies

For the last presentation of the current season, Chichester Branch, including
the many virtual attendees from elsewhere, were treated to a wonderful
selection of anecdotes from Lee Davies.

As with so many of us, his interest in railways was kindled by the hobby of
trainspotting with visits to various diverse locations such as Plymouth (Laira)
and Sheffield (Tinsley). Most of the diesel classes he showed us pictures of
are now regarded as heritage traction.

Leaving school at the age of 16 he joined the railway at Ellesmere Port
(fondly known as ‘The Port’) under the YTS scheme and started his footplate
career as a second man on the Bidston Dock – Fiddlers Ferry coal trains.
Suffice to say that the ‘initiation’ ceremony he experienced with an avometer
to measure his electrical resistance would probably get the perpetrators into
serious trouble today!

Seven years later he was driving and Lee regarded it as a baptism of fire.
Particularly challenging was driving a Class 47 in tandem with another of the
same class under operating rules that are very rarely used today because of
the power available from a single Class 66 and other modern traction.
Soon after passing out as a driver he moved to Tyne Yard which had earned
the nickname ‘Happy Valley’ reflecting how well a workforce of young and old
staff had blended together.

He outlined the significant changes that sectorisation and privatisation
wrought on the railway from the illuminating viewpoint of someone
experiencing them at the ‘sharp end’.

Lee also described his involvement in several incidents that necessitated
subsequent enquiries but happily had been exonerated in each and every

A great presentation from not only a railway enthusiast but also a throughly
professional railwayman

Wednesday 28 April 2021

Trans-Pennine Steam and Modern Traction in the 1980s

Derek Huntriss

Derek’s presentation consisted of two-parts, the first half covering what was, in the 1980’s “Modern Traction” and the second half covered Mainline Steam in the same period. Many of the images featured a stunning backdrop of the Pennines, whilst others were set in the cities and towns of Northern England. All the images showed the Railway Scene as it was in the 1980s

Derek mentioned early in the presentation that he was first and foremost a photographer, but he has great affinity for railways. His pictures confirmed that as they were all excellent quality: always depicting the train in a relevant setting, which conveyed a real sense of time and place.

The second half of Derek’s presentation was of preserved steam running over the Pennines. In some images, a variety of weather conditions added to the dramatic effect of the images. The locomotives contained in this section ranged from “Lion” (Built 1838) to 46229 “Duchess of Hamilton” and included such delights as 673 “Maude”, GNR 990 “Henry Oakley” and the 1897 Midland Single No.673 as well as samples of the later classes of the Big Four companies.

An excellent presentation by a skilled photographer. This presentation is heartily recommended!

Wednesday 24 March 2021

The Last Year of Southern Steam

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.  

Wednesday 24 February 2021

In Search Of The Red Dragon

Colin Brading

Colin started his presentation with a nostalgic reminder that ‘The Red Dragon’
was a name bestowed in the 1950’s upon an up morning service from
Carmarthen to Paddington and the evening return working.

He then embarked on a journey through Wales from south to north, reminding
us that this has never been an easy journey – even before the line closures of
the 1960’s.

The rich railway heritage of South Wales occupied the entire first half of the
presentation. We were treated to a wonderful variety of interesting items,
including the Pen-y-darren Tramway, now a leisure trail, dating back to the
very beginnings of the railway age. The Taff Vale Railway engineered by
Brunel was an early example of railways serving the ironworks and coal
mining that underpinned the Industrial Revolution in South Wales. The
topography of the Valleys resulted in some impressive viaducts, the most
notable being the Crumlin Viaduct on the TVR extension line from Pontypool.
We then moved north in the second half, dropping in on the Llangollen
Railway before arriving on the coast at Rhyl with its delightful Miniature
Railway. The Great Orme Tramway in Llandudno certainly justified a visit
before we arrived in Conwy where the railway has blended well into its
historic surroundings.

We then moved on to Caernarfon and for the remainder of our Welsh journey
it was slate rather than coal extraction that the railways were built to serve.
We were shown a veritable feast of preserved railways including the
preservation ‘daddy’ of them all, the Talyllyn Railway that reopened as a
tourist line in 1951.

The cab view of the ERTMS equipment being trialled on the Cambrian Line
ended a thoroughly absorbing presentation given to over 110 participants via

Wednesday 27 January 2021

Local Film Night

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. 

Wednesday 16 December 2020

NCB Steam 1970 – 1981

John Barrowdale

Industrial steam had been noticeably absent from the Chichester Branch meeting agenda for a long time but John Barrowdale finally filled the gap with this excellent and well informed presentation peppered with anecdotes about the challenges offered by ‘gricing’ in old cars which on occasion served as sleeping accommodation as well.

An audience of almost 60 people, including two from Germany, joined the ‘virtual’ meeting – a number that greatly exceeded what we might expect to normally get on a midwinter’s night.

The presentation gave us a glimpse into an industrial past when ‘Old King Coal’ still ruled in many parts of Britain from Kent and Somerset to Ayrshire and Fife and many places in between. Naturally, the locomotives from a variety of builders including Robert Stephenson & Hawthorn and Andrew Barclay were ‘stars of the show’ with the 0-6-0 Saddle Tank wheel arrangement predominating but alongside this John showed a landscape of colliery winding towers, slag heaps and flat-sided mineral wagons now all consigned to the history books as well.

John’s diligent research revealed just how many heritage lines operating today had acquired locomotives from the NCB – a legacy that surely bears comparison with that from Barry Scrapyard. Some collieries kept their engines reasonably clean but many bore the
standard NCB livery of black grime. Many of the locos were equipped with Giesl oblong ejectors to improve fuel consumption – not on the face of it a prime consideration in a colliery! – and one even boasted a mechanical stoker.

All good things come to an end and by 1981 only Bold Colliery in Lancashire and Bedlay Colliery in Scotland saw steam in regular use, some 13 years after the steam era had finished on the ‘big railway

Wednesday 09 December 2020

Sixties Southern

David Jackman

This was our first virtual AGM evening at Chichester, so the opening half was spent on Branch formalities. Following a ten minute interval to ‘recover’ we were treated to an array of images sourced from the RCTS Photo Archive, focusing on the 1960s Southern Region of BR.

The tour began in Southampton Western Docks, represented by a Class E1 locomotive and ended on the Isle of Wight with the classic Class O2s giving way, in 1967, to the 1923 vintage Class 485 and 486 LT Underground stock. We didn’t take the direct route by ferry to Cowes, but travelled around Southern England taking in such favourites as, Bulleid Pacifics on the Bournemouth main line, classic branch lines, including those to All Hallows and Hayling Island, and long gone termini, an example being Bexhill West. Nostalgic views of more well-known locations, none better illustrated than by adjacent pairs of 2 Hal electric multiple units at Waterloo, berthed where subsequently the Eurostar platforms would be built. Fond memories of the Bulleid/Raworth Co-Co electric locomotives, regular performers on the Victoria – Newhaven Boat Trains, included in the many electric traction images on view.

This was not the usual 60s steam finale presentation, but a miscellany of subjects covering all forms of traction, widely distributed throughout the region.

Many thanks to David Jackman, for his research and presentation of these fascinating images, all available from the RCTS Photo Archive.

Wednesday 25 November 2020

Diesels and Electrics in the South East 1950s – 1970s

David Brown

David presented a very special collection of images depicting scenes from the middle of the last century in and around the South East of England. The first half of the presentation concerned electric traction and depicted, not only trains of the Southern Railway and London Underground, but also electric trains out of Euston and Liverpool Street. These included images of the early days of the AL6 West Coast Locomotives.

The second half of David’s presentation covered diesel traction and we were treated to images of the Southern Railway 1Co-Co1 pioneers, as well as many images of the DMU’s seen at that time.

For the reviewer, highlights of the presentation were images of the Bullied Electric Locomotives 20001 – 3 and several of the Metropolitan Vickers locomotives of London Transport. Seeing these latter hauling mixed goods trains was a first for the reviewer.

All the images showed working scenes taken by notable railway photographers from that era. As such they conveyed a very real feel of the period covered. Many of David’s images were previously unpublished and it was a considerable privilege to be allowed to see them.

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Wednesday 28 October 2020

The ‘Modern Scene’ Today Part 2

Julian Clark

On Wednesday 28th Oct we welcomed Julian Clark from our own local RCTS committee to our second Zoom meeting entitled ‘The Modern Scene Today, Part 2’ Those who saw part 1 last year were expecting an excellent show, and Julian did not disappoint and exceeded expectations. All the photographs were taken in this century within a 1.5 hours journey from his West Sussex home in Angmering.

Workings along the Coast Way line & Arun Valley line were of course prominent and with his contacts he seemed to cover every rail tour, unusual working and debut entries of new motive power. The former included 313 unit 313201 in blue/grey livery, and the latter included Javelin unit 395016 and the first 166-unit service called ‘Reading Train Care Depot’ at Angmering plus Unit 700115 on a gauging train at Arundel. Julian covered much in the Heritage Railway world this year including Flying Scotsman’s visit to the MHR, 34053’s permanent loan to the Spa Valley Railway and the very recent visit of 45596 Bahamas to the MHR including a cracking b/w shot of her at Northside crossing. Pictures of MHR Urie S15 506 on 6 Bullied coaches near wanderer’s curve was another highlight this year.

Julian seemed to be able to find new photographic locations and unusual angles within short distances of familiar ones. The overall standard of photography was exceptional and I listed 42 pictures of special merit before I ran out of note paper. Other highlights were two class 73s towing the Bluebell Chesham set north for steam on the Met in 2018, 46100 Royal Scot passing by Goring-on-Sea, 73082 disguised as 73087 leaving Sharpthorne tunnel on the Bluebell Railway and emu No 1866 on ‘The Last Slammer’ trip at Arundel. He even goes out on days of atrocious weather where I would remain indoors and still ends up with spectacular photographs as 3 b/w pictures of Flying Scotsman with great exhaust effects taken on the 8th March 2020 on the MHR proved. Talking of smoke effects, one of the best was omitted from a Class 47. 47219 leaving Littlehampton! I thoroughly recommend Julian’s shows to other RCTS branches.

Wednesday 23rd September 2020

A Half Century Has Passed

Geoff May

After a seven month absence we returned with our first virtual meeting. Our speaker Geoff May took us back to the final months of steam on BR showing a stunning collection of his own photographs.

The first half concentrated on the Waterloo to Weymouth main line with an array of images taken at various locations, from a Bulleid Pacific at Waterloo in the early morning darkness, through to double heading on the notorious Radipole Bank North of Weymouth. Renowned services like the Bournemouth Belle, were interspersed with the more mundane, including Ivatt tanks on the Lymington Branch. Even the obscure like the Brockenhurst to Christchurch school train, steam hauled until the very end in July 1967, didn’t escape Geoff’s camera.

Following a short break the North West was under the spotlight, where steam remained for a further year until August 1968. Geoff took full advantage of the beauty of Lancashire and the Cumbrian Fells with some superlative shots, including cold snowy scenes, vast clouds of steam lingering in the air for what seemed like miles. The very last BR steam hauled freight service leaving Heysham Harbour’s then large marshalling yard, one of many highlights. In an era when Health and Safety was much more relaxed a view from the top of the large coaling tower of Rose Grove MPD, Burnley, was breathtaking.

The final day of steam, 11 August 1968, Geoff is back for the ’15 guinea special’, including images of 70013 Oliver Cromwell and two Black 5s, the latter at Hellifield, before the era ended with 45110 at rest at Edge Hill MPD , Liverpool.

Geoff’s thorough and painstaking research of each image, enabled him to enthral us with an interesting and informative commentary throughout. A top quality presentation which comes highly recommended.

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Wednesday 26th February 2020

Island Treasures – Railways of the Isle of Wight

Colin Brading

The lure of the Isle of Wight attracted a bumper audience to County Hall. Colin began by explaining the unique geography of the area and how the Island railways developed as part of the trade routes from the mainland, to the ports of Cowes, Ryde,and Yarmouth. Images of the ferries crossing the Solent brought back memories of childhood holidays.

Colin guided us around the Island line by line, the first opening to passengers from Cowes to Newport in 1862. The scene set with maps and an array of images, not only of the locomotives and rolling stock, but also the stations and  frastructure. Many images of the fondly remembered class O2 locomotives were included.

55 miles of railway began to decline when the first line was closed in 1952, difficult to believe the only remaining line between Ryde Pier and Shanklin has been served by ex London Underground tube stock for over half a century.  Many images from this latter period, followed by an extensive tour around the Isle of Wight Steam Railway and their headquarters at Havenstreet, concluded an extensive view of the Island railways.

A superb presentation, including around 300 images, and a continuous detailed commentary of accompanying facts and anecdotes, for which we thank Colin very much indeed.

Wednesday 22nd January 2020
The ‘Modern Scene’ Today
Julian Clark

The Chichester Branch is fortunate in having Julian as a member whose photographic talents have been recognised in both the RO and RCTS publicity material.

His wide ranging presentation revealed the sheer diversity of railway subjects that are encompassed by the title of the talk. We started off in the charming surroundings of the Littlehampton Miniature Railway and then set off on a tour of Network Rail lines in Southern England.Julian not only diligently researches out the timings of the many loco-hauled trains that are slotted in to a network dominated by EMU’s, but also carefully selects his locations whilst taking full advantage of his telephoto lens to add pictorial ‘punch’ to the end result.

The audience was treated to a delightful photographic interlude in Poland where a more relaxed attitude to ‘elf and safety’ still prevails.Of?cialdom allowed a train to venture up a little used branch on condition that Julian assisted in the re-railing of the train if necessary! The whole talk was peppered with informative background detail and some amusing anecdotes including one which revealed that ‘twitching’ and ‘gricing’ have a degree of overlap

Wednesday 11th December 2019

Amberley Industrial Museum Railway

Geoff Boote

Our December meeting was held two weeks earlier than our normal monthly meetings to avoid the Christmas period. The Branch AGM comprised the first part of the evening.

Following the AGM and a short break, the audience was entertained by member Geoff Boote who showed a series of short films (from 8 to 32 minutes) that he has made/edited covering aspects of the Industrial type line that is incorporated with the Amberley Museum. Each film had its own commentary voiced by Geoff.

The films were titled :-

  • Introduction
  • Preparation
  • Industrial Day
  • In the Beginning
  • Gala 1992
  • Footplate Course

The films provided the audience with plenty of information about the task of running a railway, including preparing engines for work and checking the operation of safety equipment to working out timetables and marshalling stock to meet the traffic requirements.

The Museum holds a large collection of industrial engines including steam, internal combustions and battery electrics; images of each type were seen working the lines. Starring roles were performed by two steam Bagnalls, Peter and Polar Bear!

The films were of excellent quality and the audience very much appreciated the work done by Geoff in creating these films.

Wednesday 27th November 2019

Women on the Railway

Liam Kenchenken


In 2015 the Mid Hants Railway was awarded almost £900,000 towards the £1.5 million cost of therestoration of Merchant Navy Class 35005 Canadian Pacific, built at Eastleighin 1941. Part of the award included outreach and interpretation projects and in particular research into the role of women on the railway and their largely
unsung efforts in the heavy construction and maintenance of locomotives,
particularly at Eastleigh. Although the researcher, Dr Becky Peacock, had
already left the project, we were fortunate that Liam Kenchenken, Interim General
Manager, was able to bring the fruits of her research to our November meeting. Liam
took us through the history of women’s ever-expanding roles, though always paid
less than men for doing the same job, to their vital contribution to the
railway during World War 2. Doing the same heavy jobs as men, women were found
not only to be equally capable but also quicker on the up-take and needing less
time to train in the particular skills necessary. His presentation included a
very rare Imperial War Museum film, made by the Southern Railway during World
War 2 for the USA, complete with American accented commentator, showing the
range of heavy work that women were doing. Liam brought us up to date with the
restoration of Canadian Pacific herself and two Bullied coaches and gave us the
good news that the complete route of the Watercress Line will be re-opening in
February 2020.

Wednesday 23rd October 2019

Classic Southern Electric in Colour

David Brown

The October meeting of Chichester Branch was entitled Classic Southern
Electric in Colour, presented by David Brown, one of our own members, who also
sits on the Branch Committee. From his
opening shot of the Brighton Belle (designation 5 BEL) hurrying through
Hassocks, we were treated to an array of wonderful shots of numerous Southern
Railway electric units and locomotives in full colour, with many of the photographs
displayed being very rare ones. The ‘Classic’ title David applied to those
Southern EMUs introduced in the 1930s. He had gathered these from various sources but
still managed to give authoritative and in-depth details of where taken, etc. Some of these lasted long enough to receive
small, and a few, large yellow warning panels and some even an overall blue
livery, which did not suit any of the units as well as SR green. Such was the SR’s obsession with toilets,
that many of the class designations were derived from just how many toilets
were available within a unit, not that you could be guaranteed access if sat in
the wrong part. Yes, the subject was as
stated but the meeting notes should really have included the phrase “another
Classic David Brown presentation” which indeed this was.


Wednesday 25 September 2019

The Mid Hants Line, Then and Now

Keith Brown

An encouraging audience of fifty gathered for our first meeting of the new season to hear Keith Brown give an illustrated presentation entitled ‘The Mid Hants Railway Then and Now’. Keith is particularly qualified to give this talk as, apart from being a long-time volunteer on the line, is station master at Medstead & Four Marks station and has recently taken on the role of MHRPS Archivist. Keith started with a survey of the geographical setting, followed by early development of railways in the Guildford, Farnham and Alton areas before moving on to the Mid-Hants proper. As was often the case with secondary routes, The Alton – Winchester line itself was initially promoted by local worthies and businessmen, but the inevitable financial difficulties from its opening in 1865 soon drove it into the arms the LSWR who took it over entirely twenty years later. For many years through trains from Waterloo to Southampton Terminus worked this way, but from 1937 a push-pull service connected with electrics at Alton. Starting at the Alton end, Keith then treated us to a detailed survey of the stations and other significant points on the line, illustrating his comments with a superb selection of old photographs, maps and drawings. Sadly, by the time Alresford was reached, we ran out of time, and we sincerely hope that Keith will visit us again on a future occasion to complete his talk.

Sunday 09 June 2019

Branch visit to the Isle of Wight Steam Railway

A dozen or so Chichester members went abroad on Sunday 09
June. Well almost! We visited the Isle of Wight Steam Railway on a lovely warm
sunny day.

Perfect weather to take up outside deck seats on the Wightlink ferry, for the short crossing to Ryde. Waiting for us on the Pier Head was one of the two car 1938 built
London Underground trains for the short hop to Smallbrook Junction. Here we
boarded an immaculately turned out rake hauled by one of the two Ivatt Class 2s
on the Island. Destination Wootton, before returning to the railways headquarters
at Havenstreet for lunch.

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After lunch we were treated to a behind the scenes look at the engine shed area, our guide providing us with an array of anecdotes and historical detail. Fabulous to be up close, as the second Ivatt came off shed, to couple up and haul a special freight.

We had plenty of time to visit the other attractions, including the much admired ‘Railway Story’ building. Not to mention the well-stocked book and gift shop and adjacent museum. The latter includes the original loco Nameplate ‘Ryde’ loaned for display with acknowledgement to the RCTS.

Most of the group then moved on to the Brading Station Heritage Exhibition and Visitor Centre, before returning to the mainland having enjoyed a wonderful day out on the stunningly beautiful Isle of Wight.

Wednesday 22nd May 2019

The Railways of Paris

Michael Bunn

For our final indoor meeting of the season we crossed the English Channel, to explore the French capital. Michael put together a superb presentation, beginning by outlining the population and geography of the area, merged with a touch of historical relevance.The Paris rail history began in 1837 with the building of Gare St Lazare to serve the line to Saint-Germain and, subsequently, the routes to the coastal ports. We enjoyed many magnificent views, past and present, of Paris stations and the lines they serve, remembering Gare St Lazare is still second only to Gare Du Norde as Paris busiest. Many notable events were well covered, including the orbital lines around Paris, the development through the 1960s/70s of the RER express routes from the City Centre to the suburbs, quickly followed by the development of the TGV network. Views of relevant rolling stock and locomotives were included in addition to the stations.The Metro was fully covered, opened at the turn of the last century and electrically operated from its inception. Fascinating facts abounded, including the underground detours around The Arc de Triomphe and the first rubber tyre rolling stock trials in 1951.In conclusion we were brought right up to date with a selection of modern images from around the capital.Such a brief report falls short of bringing justice to what was a superbly constructed visual presentation, further enhanced by an immaculate accompanying commentary from Michael, full of wonderful facts and anecdotes. A presentation that comes highly recommended.

Wednesday 24th April 2019

London Underground, Then and Now

Brian Hardy

Over 40 members and supporters attended this excellent meeting in which Brian Hardy demonstrated the changes that have taken place within the London Underground (LU) throughout the last century and things continue to change to this day! The changes outlined by Brian were mainly to the track layout, the rolling stock and the architectural infrastructure. These changes were illustrated by numerous photographs, showing in detail what has changed.Brian worked through the LU system on a line by line basis and covered many of the stations individually. In each case he explained the reasons for the modifications and the effect of them. The detail was fascinating and very informative. His talk covered mostly surface stations and layouts, but, of course, it’s much easier to make changes to surface infrastructure than underground, and it’s more visible! His photographs included such items as steam hauled trains, and the many and various electric sets remembered by many of the audience.The talk concluded with a lively questions and answer session, which was testament to interest shown by the audience.

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Saturday 06th April 2019

Branch visit to Arlington Fleet Eastleigh

14 Chichester members plus a guest from Surrey branch enjoyed an escorted tour of the Eastleigh works site. Our lead guide, Norman, was an expert on all things connected with the site and his entertaining commentary and banter a bonus.

We were able to walk through most of the site, only a couple of areas, including the paint shop, being restricted. Many unique photo shots were captured, for private use only. For those old enough to remember, memories returned of this vast complex full of steam locomotives under repair or overhaul.

For a site that at one time looked likely to close for ever a remarkable amount of work was being undertaken. Interestingly, we learned Arlington is very much a facilitator, hiring out sections of the site to others, performing work they may not necessarily do themselves.Facilities are also provided to the Heritage Railway sector and we were able to explore, externally, the newly refurbished ‘Bubble Cars’ destined for the Swanage Railway. Steam was present, albeit solely by Merchant Navy Class 35005 Canadian Pacific.South Western Railway class 442, 444 and 450 units were all present, undergoing refurbishment, and throughout the site there was a multitude of rolling stock and locomotives.So interesting was the tour, we overran our allocated time. Many thanks to Arlington for allowing this visit. A highly recommended tour, by appointment only, booking direct with Arlington Fleet.

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With Norman our guide centre front, RCTS members about to leave the Arlington Eastleigh Works site.

Wednesday 27th March

Strictly Freight Only Part 2
Brian Ringer

For our well attended March meeting, The Chichester Branch welcomed the return of Brian Ringer, with the second part of his ‘Strictly Freight Only’ presentations, the title being a nod to both his Railway Career (mid ’70s- Mid 2000’s) in the Freight sector, as well as to fellow Edmonton lad, Brucie. Naturally, from that locale, The Spurs got a mention too!

Given our local dearth pf freight workings (other than the Chichester Stone), Brian broke us in gently, on the Southern Region, with an image of a Sulzer Type 2 at St Mary Cray Junction, heading for the Train Ferry.

Starting then, on relatively familiar turf, Brian took us through much detail, sharing operational perspectives, starting with pre Channel Tunnel Freight working, and shunting on to moveable 1 in 30 Link spans.

We moved on to sectorisation, rotting coal wagons, and post- Speedlink Wagon Load Freight, up to the present day, as well as being given handy domestic tips regarding covert gricing (we all do it!), whilst on Holiday with ‘Herself’, in this instance at Cockwood (as you do)….

We learned that the CTRL has never realised its potential to carry freight, and nor has it ever exceeded the level of freight carried aboard the ‘Nord Pas de Calais’, (a French Vessel, which included a Chef on the staff!), and that bicycles were provided at Dollands Moor (reminds me of passing loops in Portugal)!

A fascinating evening, although, sadly, as with so many things ‘Railway’, also an opportunity to reflect on politics and multiple missed opportunities.

The forensic detail in Brian’s analysis of his own images was fascinating: a very enthusiastic and informative presentation, we strongly recommend that other Branches consider making a booking!

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