Meeting Reports

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Friday 13th December

‘Ramblings Around the UK 1962/63’

Brian Holland & Michael Chapman

Well, what a feast of nostalgic images! That is about the best way to sum up the presentation given by Brian Holland and Michael Chapman on 13th December of black-and-white images in 1962.

Brian explained that the presentations began in 2017 at Burton-on-Trent and he enlisted the assistance of Michael to scan his photographs and to digitally manipulate them to improve their quality.

As a long-time resident of the Leicester area, Brian had many images of both MR and GCR lines through Leicester and of nearby places visited regularly at weekends. Then there were the visits to more distant places – NE England, Oxenholme and a holiday in Devon in the summer. Thus we saw images of all ‘Big 4′ companies’ locomotives, of BR Standards and even the occasional diesel! Images that linger in the memory are of the last Compound and an ex-S&D 2-8-0 at Derby Works, the Atlantic Coast Express and the Cornish Riviera side-by-side at Exeter St Davids and the last train from Leicester Belgrave Road to Skegness on 9th September. But perhaps the best came at the end with a visit on Christmas Eve to Grantham with its procession of Pacifics and an array of other ex-LNER types.

While Brian admits to be no expert, this was a really excellent record of steam in 1962.

Thursday 14th November

‘The Waverley Route’

Dennis Lovett

We welcomed Dennis Lovett on 14th November with his presentation titled ‘The Waverley Route’.

Dennis’s presentation took us on a journey from Edinburgh to Carlisle with images of ‘then and now’ as far as Tweedbank and then on to Carlisle.

The line was constructed in two phases, firstly the Edinburgh & Hawick Railway which opened in 1849 and then the Border Union Railway on to Carlisle which opened in 1862. Access to Carlisle was obtained by the NBR leasing the Carlisle & Silloth Bay Railway which had running powers into Citadel Station, while main line status was obtained in 1876 when the Settle & Carlisle line opened.

The route was challenging to operate with two significant summits, with locomotives based at St Margarets, Hawick, Carlisle Canal and sub-sheds at Galashiels, St Boswells and Riccarton.

The line closure in 1969 was hotly disputed, its demise being to allow for the WCML electrification to Glasgow. A sustained campaign, led by Madge Elliot, saw the line reopened to Tweedbank in 2015 and its projected target of 648,000 passengers per year has already been more than doubled, with aspirations now for doubling some of the present single-line sections, electrification and extension to Hawick and eventually to Carlisle.

Thursday 17th October 2019

‘Two Railways for London’

Chris Green

We welcomed Chris Green to our meeting on 17th October to give his presentation “Two Railways for London”, the story of Thameslink and Crossrail. Both lines originated during the BR Network SouthEast era to increase capacity on the system, but both were initially rejected as privatisation loomed.

Chris dealt first with Thameslink, outlining the planning and building of the line and its current operations, using the Seimens Cl.700 trains which are now operating in automatic mode in the central core but not yet at the planned 24 trains/hour. He concluded this section with proposed changes over the next few years.

Moving on to Crossrail, he again outlined the planning and building of the route and the trains and explained that the present delays were due to the fitting-out of the tunnels and stations and to the software problems on the trains, but that it is expected that the line will open in 2020.

He said that both lines were to operate at 24 trains per hour at the peak times and that trains and drivers would remain on a single route all day and work throughout that route with no change of driver in London.

We thank Chris for an excellent presentation which was enjoyed by all present.

Thursday 19th September 2019

‘Westward from Dover – Looking for Steam

Peter Groom

The winter season was given an excellent start on 19th September by the ‘evergreen’ Peter Groom with a slide session titled “Westward from Dover – Looking for Steam”. Starting at Dover with dock shunters, we saw more of the same at Folkestone whilst Ashford gave us a whole range of classes, many awaiting entry to, or just released from, the Locomotive Works. Of interest was a Stewarts Lane N15 with an eight-wheel tender which Peter explained would not fit on any turntable in Kent.

The next area was on the Brighton line at Three Bridges and Brighton. Here Peter explained detail differences between locomotives of the same class, the C2Xs and A1Xs being good examples.

Then it was on to the Hayling Island branch with more A1Xs before a visit to Eastleigh with a large array of classes and to Southampton for the USA tanks.

We hopped over the Solent to the Isle of Wight and the O2s before visiting Weymouth and the GWR 1366 class on the Harbour Tramway.

With time running short, there were quick visits to the Lyme Regis branch for the 0415 class and Exeter for the E1R and Z classes on banking work between St Davids and Central stations before time was called..

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Last updated: 20th December 2019