Monday 2nd March 2020
‘Railways of Zurich’
On Monday 2nd March Ken Follett gave a presentation entitled “The Railways of Zurich” to a smaller than usual Northampton audience at the Wellingborough Museum. Ken has made a number of visits to Zurich from 1985 and outlined the substantial changes made up to the present time.
Zurich is a city of about 500,000 population and also has a considerable input of commuters from the surrounding regions. It has direct main line rail services with France (TGV) and Germany, both of which are serviced by double deck emus. It also has services from Italy via Chur and the Swiss capital Bern, many of which continue to Zurich airport after reversing. The main station (Zurich Hautbahnhof- HB) was mainly a terminal with 22 platforms, of which only two were through platforms. Traffic which was for further destinations had to be reversed out of the platforms as push-pull as there was no facility for the locomotives to be relocated to the other end of the train. This problem is now less important as many Swiss trains now consist of emus. In 2000 HB was expanded by adding a further 4 underground through platforms and a two way tunnel under the Limmat River to connect a rebuilt Löwenstrasse station in East Zurich. This provided a direct connection in place of that via Zurich airport at about 50Km.
A further tunnelling project (Durchmesserlinie-DML), to ease further congestion, was undertaken and completed in 2015 vastly improving the access to Zurich airport from all parts of the city.
As mentioned previously the traditional electric locomotive hauled trains have largely been replaced by custom built emus, generally double decker, by Siemens, Bombardier and Stadler.
The second part of the presentation consisted of a review of several of the well known Swiss trains, such as the Glacier Express and Bernina Express. Also included was the UNESCO adopted Albula line from Chur to Tirano in Italy, famous for its outstanding viaducts and tunnels including the 360-degee spiral loop into Italy.
Monday 24th February 2020
‘The Railways of Cambridge – Part 1’
Daviid and Roberta Scudamore
David and Roberta Scudamore gave almost thirty Members and friends an
excellent talk on “The Railways of Cambridge, Part 1”, at Weston Favell on 21st February.
I was not overly familiar with the subject, but after seeing the selection
of slides covering all aspects of the life of a Cambridge area “watcher”, I now
have a better understanding of life on and around the platforms of Cambridge
over the years up to date.
By the time the major development had finished, there were 8 lines
coming into Cambridge; there are now 4 lines plus a busway running largely, if
not totally successfully, over an old line. Views of the attractive Great
Eastern Railway station frontage show that a little of its’ grandeur may have
been spoiled by nearby developments over the years, whilst still putting on a face.
The various sites and enlargements of the locomotive depots was covered,
along with snippets such as the first revenue-earning outing of an A4 (2509)
leaving on its’ return to Kings Cross on 14th September 1935.
Bletchley engines were regular visitors down the years, and a shot of Stanier
Class 5 45393 of Bletchley was a match for an earlier dated shot of old LNWR
number 1680 “LOYALTY” This “George the Fifth” became 5393 under LMSR
renumbering, and later, due to its’ survival until May 1941, was further
renumbered 25393. I bet the prefixes 2 and 4 went unused, and the coincidence
went un-noticed by enginemen and enthusiasts of the time.
The usual standard LNER engines
were shown as well as later BR types, and it would be fair to say that there
were few classes that failed to reach Cambridge. David had been keen to meet a
“Duchess” at Cambridge, and his wish was eventually granted when 46229 arrived
in privatised days.
The freight workings described were much more than
many of us appreciated, and the respective allocations during 1923, 1947 and
1954, of 178, 124 and 74 had a tale to tell. We look forward to Part 2 and onwards.
Monday 10th February 2020
‘The Bank Job’
Of the 25 or so persons present at Weston Favell on 10th February 2020 to listen to Lester Hillman give a presentation headed “The Bank Job”, there were several ideas offered of what to expect! Suggestions were banking duties on Shap, or Dainton; a history of specialist banking locomotives; or an update of London railway upgrades.
In fact, Lester gave a professional lecture on the unique details of Bank station and Junction underground site, during which we learned that there are around 270 stations on the London underground system, of which eleven are underneath the City of London.
Bank station handles approximately 52 million passengers a year. Also within the City, Moorgate handled 25 million and St. Pauls, 17 million, as at 2014.
We were informed that coping with maintenance had become somewhat more difficult since “the night tube” began its current operation in 2016. All sorts of non-rail events within the overground area of the City serve to cause difficulties at weekends. An event likely to cause difficulty in 2020 is expected to be the celebration of the “Eagle” comics 70th anniversary in April and the incidence of the Samaritans 1953 start-up date may well do likewise.
Other thought provoking comments came regarding “buskers” and the room they take up – an area that would, if left unsupervised, or challenged, would only spread outwards. Apparently if some buskers knew what they could find under their feet with a very large drill, and a great deal of private time to use it, they would never feel the need to busk again!
Information came thick and fast thanks to a good use of statistical charts, but perhaps the strangest one was the answer to a Quiz question that most of us are yet to be asked. It would seem that the highest point above sea level on the original Monopoly board is “The Angel”, Islington. Even stranger is that the phrase “not many people know that” went unuttered by the assembled throng.
This was an unusual subject, full of interest, professionally given by a Speaker who really knew his subject.
Monday 27th January 2020
For our first evening Meeting of 2020, David Hanger came from Wellingborough to give a talk and slide show on Funicular Railways. Of these there were plenty on show, but there was also a number of “variations on the theme”. During his opening comments, David told us that the term “Funicular” covered a little more than we might have thought. He listed inclined planes, cable hauled routes, routes for industrial use and passenger use, cable tramways, cliff lifts, tourist tramways, ending with modern cable systems. His explanation of balancing an uphill journey with an opposing downhill journey was straightforward, as was that of the continuous cable. The methods of providing the power to enable movement from manpower, horsepower, steam power, through to electrical power was detailed. One of the better known inclined plane was at Foxton Locks, near Market Harborough, and there is hope that someday it will be rebuilt.
The first railway to employ cable haulage was in very early days, on the 1830 Canterbury to Whitstable line. An example of a winding engine is the one we would all probably have seen had we arrived on time – the lifting/lowering of trains from the new Euston Station of the London and Birmingham Railway between 1837 and 1844. Of an original total of eight cable tramways in the UK, only the one at Llandudno, the Great Orme, is still operational. A minor surprise was that San Francisco’s famous system is nowadays worked on only three of the 23 original routes.
Cliff railways today number 15, and the one at Saltburn was covered. David mentioned that Southend, with the longest pier in the UK, also possessed the shortest cliff railway! Foreign examples shown included Paris, Barcelona, Niagara Falls and Interlaken.
The second part of David’s show covered railway piers in the UK, but with space running out, despite many interesting pictures, perhaps the most fascinating one showed a very well fed seagull standing, apparently wondering the contents of a board outside a fish and chip shop instructing that the seagulls “are not to be fed”. Clearly, not only the seagulls had yet to master the English language.
Another excellent show for us; being there would have given readers much more information than this mere report.
Monday 13th. January 2020
‘Steam In and Around York – Part 2’
A fair sized attendance was present at Wellingborough Castle Museum on Monday, 13th January. The subject was Chris Nettleton’s presentation of ”Steam in and around York, Part 2”. As every enthusiast worth his salt would know, York had always been, and is still well remembered, as one of the places to go for steam. That this is an understatement can be borne out by the staggering number of different classes of steam locomotives on view, covering the eighty years or so to the end of regular British Railways steam in the late 1960s. There were black and white pictures, colour transparencies, colour film, both enthusiast led and official.
We started with views of the many varieties of locomotives and trains to be seen regularly in the earliest days of the 20th century, and as time wore on, we were shown the variety, as well as the increase in size, of the locomotives and trains, not only of the parent North Eastern Railway, but later the London & North Eastern Railway, and the arrival of British Railways. Chris pointed out that York of the LNER was similarly placed in the echelon of, (with a nod towards the well remembered “TI” of Ian Allan fame) “Resorts for railfans”, to Carlisle of the LMSR. I would suggest that the LMS was better represented at York than was the LNER at Carlisle.
There is not space to list what “went through” York on Monday, but the importance of, and the status of the area, including both York North shed (50A) and the less well known York south shed could be seen and appreciated. The shot of an LMS Beyer Garratt at York off a working from Wellingborough to Cargo Fleet would once have brought a louder murmur from the audience than it did today. An official film of the movement of a transformer through the York area showed what the railway system was capable of, even if much of it was thrust upon it by the “Common Carrier” label.
This was an excellent presentation, with a gentle hand on the reg; no apology is given for the lack of engine numbers seen, but I suggest that Chris’s presentation would be better viewed in the flesh, rather than reading about it. The old dream of imagining seeing 45660 (22A) parked on York loco alongside 60005 (52A) could be relived, with any amount of different number combinations!
Monday 16th December 2019
Branch AGM and Christmas Evening
There was an attendance of 20 or so Members for this Meeting, which doubled as an AGM and a Members Evening.
The AGM , usually a fairly short part of the evening’s proceedings, covered the normal items on an AGM Agenda. However, as the current Branch Secretary had previously intimated his intention to step down from the position due to ill health, there followed a lengthy but unproductive discussion as to who might be willing to take over the position. The proceedings were heard by all present, but did not necessarily involve all present.
The Meeting closed after about seventy minutes, no nominations of suggestions as to a successor to the position of Branch Secretary. It was noted that out of a Branch with a membership of over 100 members, and despite some good attendances, the graph was moving downwards.
Questions were asked as to the viability of a Branch with no Secretary. It was pointed out that there currently existed a large part of the next years (2020/21) fixture list, but ominously, when the question of the legality within RCTS Rules of “no Branch Secretary”, it appears that such a situation could not properly continue.
It was suggested that a letter/email be sent to all local members. This was left open subject to any future meetings at Branch level, but the feeling was that there seemed little preparedness for a new potential Branch Secretary to offer his/herself.
The Members Evening went ahead after Christmas “nibbles” – Tommy Tomalin presented one of his famed traffic jams in which Members had to set themselves in the proper order of the individual station names of which each Member received one. Much hilarity, and we even appeared jointly to know where our old stations were to be found! This was followed by a random selection of slides taken by former Member Brian Denny. Enjoyed by all, but one of Brian’s better traits was not adequate information, so a lot of, doubtless correct’ guesswork ensued!
Monday 2nd December 2019
‘Freight Then and Now’
The joint Branch meeting on the 2nd December was conducted by one of MK’s own members Brian Ringer, who was a former railwayman n the freight sector.
His talk was entitled Freight Now and Then which explained the vast differences between freight in the post war years and the inter- modal trains operated today. Brian gave a fascinating insight into how computerisation has changed the whole dynamics of railway freight especially in the import/export field.
Monday 4th November 2019
‘Rhapsody in Blue’
Thirty Members and friends were present at Weston Favell on Monday afternoon. Many of us had pondered the content, and we were delighted to discover that Ken Grainger was referring to the beautiful mid-blue livery carried by many of the steam engines running in Ireland during the 1950s. The talk was a little more than that however, and we were treated to trips from various stations from all over the island. During the 1950s, the largest engines for passenger workings were the 4-4-0 tender engines, wearing the blue of Ken’s title. For the surprisingly large amount of freight, the largest engine were 0-6-0 liveried mostly in well turned out black. It was helpful that the occasional dirty engines appeared to highlight the condition of the clean ones.
Many 1950s enthusiasts were too engrossed in saving local images, and were probably biding their time to “do” Ireland until they had reached local satisfaction. That this aim was rarely reached did not attract many of us to get to the Emerald Isle, where Ken had to admit, the sun was not always as vivid, or even as present, as his grand selection of slides might have indicated!
The Dublin Connelly Street station of today is apparently still habitually referred to as Amiens Street – good for them! A similar situation with our long lost, but never referred to by real locals, “Northampton” versus “Northampton Castle”.
With typical Irish humour, the only tramcar owned by the Fintona Tramway Company carried number 381.
An excellent presentation from Ken yet again.
Monday 21st October 2019
‘South African Steam in the 1980s’
On Monday 21st. October a rather limited audience were fascinated by Roger Whitehead’s presentation entitled “South African Steam in the 1980s.
The programme consisted of a large number of overhead photographic slides of a variety of large and powerful 3’6” gauge locomotives, both passenger and freight, owned by South African Railways and a number of private mining companies. Not only were the railways and locomotives outstanding but the scenery was beyond imagination.
The majority of the locomotives had 8 or 10 driving wheels, such as the 12 Class 4-8-2 s and also there was a significant number of Bayer-Peacock articulated freight locomotives. Most of the locomotives were built by The North British Locomotive Company in Glasgow or Bayer-Peacock in Gorton, Manchester.
There are virtually no steam locomotives operating in South Africa currently except for ‘The Pride of Africa’ used as a show piece by privately owned Rovos Rail to head the remaining few miles of the Cape Town to Pretoria luxury journey from Centurian to Capitol Park terminus.
There is a selection of preserved South African steam locomotives at the Outeniqua Transport Museum in the township of George, Western Cape.
Monday 7th October 2019
‘The Peter Bland Collection – Parts 4 and 5’
There was an attendance of approximately 35 Members and friends at Weston Favell on Monday afternoon, 7th October. Bryan Cross showed Parts 4 and 5 of his presentations of photographs from the “Peter Bland Collection”.
In his photographing days, Peter made fairly copious notes of his subject matter, and Bryan has obviously spent a great deal of time piecing together additional information whilst describing the pictures. Much of this information may not have been available to Peter at the time, and the effect, even if it was possible, gives the impression that the photographs might have been taken the day before yesterday! The show started with a view at Kentish Town loco in October 1955, and in true date order continued with an RCTS Railtour taking in much of the northern area of the Fens, using the novel idea of 2 separate trains, from Kings Cross and Nottingham, which combined at Peterborough, using a selection of motive power we can only dream of nowadays. Much industrial power was also included.
Yesterday’s “tour” took us to many parts of BR in 1955 to 1959, and so a little of the modern traction that has now long gone was shown in its infancy. A shot of Fowler 3F 0-6-0 43496, dating from 1896, in ex- works, fully repainted in unlined black, complete with an early use of the second BR emblem showed how the paint-shop always placed the emblems on the old Midland Railway tenders that had an upright strengthening strap half way along the tender, to the side of the upright, making things a little lopsided! The subsidence we all remember at Hasland shed was also discussed by those present.
Other non-locomotive interest was what we all knew as the “Hadley Wood widening” of the late 1950s. There was a little discussion here as to how the GN main line failed to be closed for 3 or 4 years whilst the work was carried out!
South Wales was well covered in industrial terms, and one of Bryans’ throwaway comments led your reviewer to seek out the origins of Newport County football club.
This was an excellent presentation with the right amount of added commentary to interest all, and thoroughly enjoyed by everyone present.
Monday 23rd September 2019
The Railways of Northamptonshire Part 5 – Developments around Northampton
Robin Cullop and Barry Taylor
A predictably large attendance gathered at Weston Favell on 23rd September for the first indoor meeting of the 2019/20 Season. Robin Cullop introduced, and Barry Taylor delivered Part 5 of “The Railways of Northamptonshire”, the idea originally developed by Ian Lyman. Sub headed “developments around Northampton”, the content was essentially a treatise on the development of what was eventually to become “The Stratford upon Avon and Midland Junction Railway”, as it had grown to become by the time it was eventually sucked into newly formed London Midland & Scottish Railway company in 1923. It was a then recent amalgamation (if such is the right word), with the Midland Railway, rather than the possibly expected London & North Western Railway. Barry explained the reasoning behind this in layman’s terms, as he did throughout his excellent commentary. He has expended much time and effort into his magnificent two volumes on the SMJR, from it’s first appearance to it’s last independent days in 1922 and the continuation right through to the last days under British Railways in the mid 1960s. The various efforts made by the LMS to ensure that the SMJ played a valuable part in the operation of the system up to it’s last days under British Railways were fully detailed. Not only did the Northamptonshire locals thirst for (4)6102 on main line past Roade, but the Fowler 4F 0-6-0s from sheds such as Gloucester and Saltley that headed the occasional fitted freights for Somerstown via the ”old tin bridge” where the SMJ line crossed the WCML. This presentation, as well as the 2 Volumes are highly recommended.
Saturday 29th June 2019
Visit to The Welshpool and Llanfair Railway
A dozen or so members gathered at Northampton station for an early start for the journey to Welshpool on Saturday, 29th June (others would join the main party later by various means).
Arrival at Welshpool was on time and we began the long uphill trek to the terminus of the Welshpool and Llanfair Railway for the first train of the day, where we found that former GWR 823 was covering the timetable service.
On arrival at Llanfair Caereinon we were given an excellent and informative tour of the Signal Box and Locomotive Depot. On shed were diesels W&L Fleet Numbers 7, 11 and 17 and steam locomotives 0-6-2Ts Chevalier and Joan. In the Workshop was an 0-8-0T identified as AFB 1944/ 2855 with boiler outside the same.
The return journey ex Welshpool was eventful to say the least with a points failure at Birmingham New Street bringing chaos to services throughout the surrounding area,
Monday 13th May 2019
‘Outdoor Meeting – Roade Cutting’
Fifteen or so hardy souls gathered after teatime at the fabled Bridge 209 straddling the southern end of Roade Cutting.
From the time the first Members arrived at 6.15pm until about 9.15pm when daylight was fading, an estimate of somewhere in the region of 150 movements would not be an exaggeration. One year we must actually log the movements (one for the Branch Secretary’s Diary please!).
The need to note the running numbers of much of the passing traffic on the four tracks is now not a true requirement. It would seem that the succession of main line Pendelinos, the currently allocated semi-fasts on the Northampton Loop and the few DMUs running Holyhead trains would not need to “trouble the scorer”.
Luckily, there is a reasonable volume of freight trains during the evening, and the various Classes of 66, 66 variants, the odd Class 70, Class 90 and even a Class 66 towing 2 X Class 67 light northbound via Northampton added to the fun.
There are a number of non-trespassing walks to be had giving more excellent views of our “Crown Jewel”, including the site of the signal-box with a leaky floor, that was perched over the Northampton lines until its un-mourned demise (by the signalmen that is!), during the 1939-45 war and the still extant aqueduct high over the tracks in the cutting, feeding Roade village.
Needless to say, the walks usually wind back to the visit of “Black Watch” on the “Carlisle Stopper”, and the 1952 arrival of various Scottish Region Jubilees such as “North West Frontier”, “Howe”, “Assam” and “Rodney”. The ones departing in exchange were mostly un-mourned as we had “got them”. A look into a Northampton spotters mid 1950s ABCs collection of Jubilees would quite easily determine his age!
Monday 29th April 2019
Our last Branch Indoor meeting of the 2018/19 session was a Members Evening. It was well supported, but a few of the non-attendees would have enjoyed the fare of offer at least as much of those present.
Leading the charge was Tommy Tomalin, supported by Brian Sullivan, showing life on the preserved K&WVR from the early 1970s almost to the present day. The stations were represented as well as the locomotives and rolling stock, and a good number of the “countryside” shots were exactly that, and proved that life did not grind to a halt as the years after 1970 marched on. More than a few shouts could be heard regarding shots “then” that could not be taken “now”. The obviously damaged cab of Class 5 45212, that many of us recollect from 1967/68 was to the fore and there is still some doubt as to how the damage occurred, but never repaired by British Railways.
Following on was Lester Cooper who produced a series of colour (with the odd black and white) shots amounting to a who’s who of preserved locos. Just a few numbers for a change – 46115 at Perth, 60103 on the East Lancs line, 46512 at Aviemore, a youthful 60163, blue King 6023, double-headed Manors on the GC line, 34081, 34092, Castle 5043, Southern (30)777, and 2 Class 5s powering past Rugeley on what could have been ‘The Royal Scot’ in1955. These were the result of some skilful “placing” of the subject in the picture, with a shot of 46100 crossing the Far Cotton “15 Arches”, where no background was to be seen, but the location was unmistakeable.
David Scudamore then produced a number of pictures taken in the claustrophobic environs of the museum of Doncaster Grammar School, in which is shoe-horned just about every type of British railway artefacts imaginable, far too many to mention individually, but your reviewer had to note the nameplates of 45727, 45539, 46120, 45607, 45560, 46228, an the fortuitous saving of Harrow 1952 disaster engines 45637 and 46202. There were also a number of plates from the rest of the big four. David and Roberta had also visited Stainforth and Barnetby, where Class 142 and 144 were seen working along with various diesels on freight workings. Items in the museum are so closely packed that from one angle what appeared to be a nameplate “LAMPORT”, became, from a different angle, “FlamboYANT”.
After a late interval. Roger Whitehead produced a worthy slideshow of USA steam taken during a lengthy rail-tour in October 2000. Locos utilised included a preserved Western Maryland 2-8-0 No. 734, East Broad Top & Coal Co. Nos. 13 and 14, Strasburg Line No. 90, Reading Railroad cab-forward no. 1187, as well as “Steamtown” Big Boy 4012. Photography in the wide open spaces of the USA needs a slightly modified approach to that in the cramped situations usually found in the UK, and Roger has certainly managed to cope with that. We are grateful that his horizons were a little wider than some of ours!
Finally, as the clock wound down, a small selection of Brian Denny’s home-made slides covering his home ground around Duston West were shown, the idea being to send us all home with a “cosy glow”, but in fact we already had that feeling from the earlier offerings that comprised a very entertaining evening.
Tuesday 16th April 2019
“The Ashes” Quiz versus LCGB Bedford
A most enjoyable evening at Bedford with plenty of good natured banter and a very positive result for the Northampton RCTS team who retained ‘The Ashes’. The results were Northampton RCTS 78 points, LCGB Bedford 45 points & LCGB St Albans 14 points.
I attach a photo showing the RCTS winning team of Colin Briggs, Bob Hunt, David Scudamore, Brian Sullivan and Tommy Tomalin receiving ‘The Ashes’ from LCGB Bedford Chairman Bill Davies. Thanks to Bryan Cross & Bill Davies for the considerable effort they had clearly put into preparing the quiz in a digital format.
Monday 8th April 2019
‘Steam in and around York’
Monday, 8th April brought a return visit from Chris Nettleton, who travelled from Eaglescliffe to speak, with film and slide accompaniment about “Steam in and around York”.
His first offering was the film “This is York”. This film was quick to set the scene for what followed. To think that we thought that road traffic was busy causing traffic jams in 1953 when this film was shot – the roads around York looked positively empty compared with today, but on rail, much the opposite was to be the effect! Life as filmed through the daily tasks of the Station Master was shown through a series of shots including more than steam locomotives.
We then moved onto pictures from Chris’s own collection, and a few highlights included the “lost” A4 pacific, in it’s guise as a garter blue number 14, known to most of us as 60014, but surely, as the first of the Class and it’s early exploits, worthy of preservation in his eyes. Chris reminded us that York was similar to Carlisle in the number of pre-grouping railways that served the station in days gone by. A3 60074 on the northbound “North Briton” in 1959 with the well-mixed coach combinations of red and cream mixed with the later maroon of the times was a gem, as was Raven Pacific 2400. Those present expecting to see those Bank Hall, 27A engines almost unknown at the bottom end of the WCML were pleased to see the particularly evasive 45717 “Dauntless”, but when 27A allocated and unashamedly un-rebuilt and grammatically incorrect Patriot 45517 came into view, its Willesden past credentials were noted! D20 62387 on a June 1957 RCTS special, was very welcome as was the sight of Bulleid pacific 35007 on another special.
Disaster was shown when A3 60036 arrived in an unexpected and short bay with a local from Sunderland in 1958. Luckily the most hurt was the front bogie of “Columbo”, and possibly that of the driver……
Further shots adequately covered the shed at 50A, and a further short 1945 film showing the servicing routine of a local B16 4-6-0 actually showed that steam locos were actually rather more expensive in terms of “time on the road” versus revenue earning movement than we had perhaps tended to believe in our youth!
As the ever popular Chris had to suffer a “double booking” and had to dash off earlier than he had originally intended, it should be pointed out that, in the manner of 2.15pm kick-offs before floodlighting, it was often considered that the best method was to “turn straight round”, which was effectively what he did, so a grand afternoon was still to be had by all.
Monday 25th March 2019
‘North Staffordshire Railway Part 2’
Tommy Tomalin & Brian Sullivan
Despite an enforced change to our Programme, occasioned by a loss of digital material, our ever reliable super-subs, Tommy Tomalin and Brian Sullivan, stepped in with “one they had made earlier”. This was Part 2 of “The North Staffordshire Railway”.
So, only a few weeks after seeing Part 1, we were presented with Part 2, which comprised of approximately 200 colour slides showing maps (Brian’s standard), colour and black and white slides (Tommy’s and Brian’s standard). These were backed up by black and white slides from the cameras of many well known photographers stretching back into the later days of the last but one Century, all of which were properly acknowledged. Additionally, slides showing the script were included, which made life easier for the audience, and certainly assisted Brian, who had acquired a nasty cold somewhere along the line.
A few weeks after their well received Part 1, we knew what to expectand we were not disappointed. We arrived at Crewe and Derby by virtue of running powers of the North Staffordshire Railway over Midland and North Western metals via a multitude of stations.
Highlights included how British Railways coped with the opening out of the Harecastle tunnels without closing the line for twenty years! Others of note covered the “Tutbury Jennie”, Horninglow station, a shot of an Egginton Junction station name board from 1974, looking suspiciously as if it had been deposited for “collection later”, views of the Foxfield Railway operating in preservation days, a surprising shot of a Crewe to Derby train headed by a borrowed Clan pacific, 72005, an engine which your reviewer to this day continues to be disappointed by the three occasions he saw a “Clan” – each time 72005.
A shot of a NSR 4-4-0 taking over a London Euston to Manchester express in 1910 at Stoke reminded the audience that the NSR worked closely with the LNWR at that period.
This short review does not do justice to Tommy’s efforts over the years, nor Brian’s since, and a much better idea would be to see the presentation in the flesh.
Monday 18th March 2019
‘1960’s Steam in the East Midlands Area’
A joint afternoon Meeting with the Milton Keynes branch was held at Roade on 18th March 2019. Over 50 Members and friends attended to see a selection of photographs and cine films, most of which were the work of the father of Michael Clemens, who presented the show under the title “1960s steam in the Midlands area”.
Michael explained that his father enjoyed forays far and wide with his circle of like-minded friends, and, in the fullness of time the youthful Michael was able to join them, eventually leading to a substantial number of his own pictures. Most enthusiasts of the period tended to spread ripple-like from their home town, their horizons steadily widening.
The “Midlands” referred to in the title did not necessarily match what we would later come to understand from the local TV companies, so shots at Swindon, Verney Junction, Crewe, Sheffield and the Woodhead route could be described under “penetrating lines”, to use an early BR term. In between, Worcester (local 7022 nearing its’ end in immaculate condition), Oxford (Winston Churchill’s funeral train), Crewe (45552 showing how good was the Brunswick green livery, and how we now view the original “electric blue with white roof on E3005 nostalgically).
Cine films included on board runs out of Marylebone station behind various Class 5s. Also a lengthy film of a northbound Great Central line train heading north from Lutterworth, parallel with the newly opened M1 motorway, including a station stop at Ashby Magna, where the car driver had to invent a hard shoulder emergency in order the include the stop. He would probably be surrounded by “authority” within seconds had it been 2019 rather than the late 1960s.
Local in the audience would have been grateful for the views of the industrial ironstone workings around north Northamptonshire at Brixworth, Hanging Houghton, Scaldwell and Lamport in mid 1963. Even in 1963, these locations were somewhere in another world for many a Duston West based enthusiast, so everyone present would have been grateful for the efforts of Michael, his father and his friends in those far off days. The first class programme was presented without a hitch.
As an aside, Michael showed us how he managed to digitally identify a Western Region “County” 4-6-0 as “County of Pembroke”, the photograph of which was seemingly taken in conditions suitable for a dark, wet night such as we all remember. His efforts time-wise would not have been for the faint-hearted!
Monday 11th March 2019
‘Ramblings around the UK 1962/3’
Approximately forty Members and friends were at Weston Favell on 11th March to see a presentation by Brian Holland, assisted by Michael Chapman, entitled “Ramblings around the UK 1962/3”.
Having been a early teenaged photographer from around 1954, Brian reached the end of 1961 and realised that his Brownie 127 camera was perhaps not quite up with modern practice for railway photography, especially in that he could see the writing on the wall a little more as he became older. His solution came in the shape of an Ilford Sportsman 35mm camera, which he realised would have films capable of providing 36 exposures before he had to spend more money on another film. However he had first to find the cash to obtain the camera, which, with a case would cost in the region of £14, this in early 1962, whilst earning £4 per week.
Having done the deed, he then proceeded to take his camera with him on his cycle ramblings around the East Midlands from his Leicester base, as well as on forays further afield using rail and sometimes car and family holiday travel.
He first showed some shots at Leicester shed (15C) and a Jubilee (45562), passing through the Midland station with a southbound fitted freight. By April he found himself in Durham, followed by Coalville, Burton, Derby works and Derby loco. By then about twenty Jubilees, redundant in the main from Midland division sheds had been foisted onto Burton shed, and he was glad to be able to photograph what he considered very welcome additions to the depot. These included 45561, 45575 and 45648, but 45532 of Nottingham would also have been very welcome.
Brian’s show went on via Oxenholme, Carlisle Upperby, onto the Western Region at Swindon, Oxford and the Newton Abbott of August 1962, which he had been reliably assured would be a steam-starved station, which actually was nowhere near that dire prophesy. At Exeter St. David’s, his highlight must surely have been the regular sight of non-stop expresses bursting between Southern and Western expresses held at their platforms to allow them on their way.
September 1962 found him on the Western Region again, hoping to see the last workings of the “King” Class. The paucity of reliable, up to date information, compared with today, meant that his hopes were probably not achieved, although the picture of 6018 running southbound through Leamington bound for Swindon and withdrawal, allegedly having failed further north, would eventually become a valued memory.
Scenes at Leicester Belgrave Road station, and onwards to Skegness on the last day such trains ran, and the chaotic goings on at Grantham shed , and station on Christmas Eve 1962, when there was still a mix of steam on the main line, which allowed him shots of a large number of classes of ex-LNER classes. There was also a shot of Deltic D9005.
Like many of us sharing our own very similar memories and feelings of those days, I wager that he felt guilty when he pressed the shutter for that one, but I bet he doesn’t actually still feel that way!
This was an afternoon of pure nostalgia and was well presented; Brian as Lead Singer, with Michael on Lead Guitar – a very good team!
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Last updated: 3rd March 2020