5th November 2021 – South Wales Mainline

Presenter: Gerry Nichols

November saw Gerry Nichols provide a fascinating insight into the period from 1959 to 1963 on the South Wales Mainline from Severn Tunnel Junction towards Bridgend with colour slides entrusted to him by Alan Jarvis. Gerry has thus far scanned in over 5000 with more to come, enhancing them with modern day digital technology; the results are superb showing what a busy freight and passenger line it was. With Gerry's excellent commentary and the provision of maps to show every location it was an eye opener into the loss of so much railway infrastructure since then. Long gone stations such as Ely Main Line (I wonder what Ely in Cambridgeshire would think of that!) and St.Fagans with a myriad of engines such as 42XX, 52XX, 72XX, 8Fs, 9Fs in their infancy, Brits, Halls, Manors, Granges, Castles and Kings were interspersed with interlopers such as a through WD working from the East Midlands, a Leicester to Barry excursion, Jubilees, Black 5s and 70053 Moray Firth miles away from its Scottish shed, commandeered for a local freight.  Alan Jarvis lived in Cardiff and there was thus a concentration on that area - he knew practically every local signalmen and many slides were taken from the now extinct boxes with vignettes such as a Pannier propelling a brake van towards the Marshfield milk factory to pick up a rake of milk tankers back to Swansea whilst a sojourn at the busy St George's Crossing with its ancient wooden gates produced what must be a fairly unique picture of sheep being herded across the line in between passing expresses! A shed bash around Cardiff Canton revealed a damaged Pannier that had been in a fatal crash with a DMU juxtaposed with many sparkling GWR engines recently outshopped from Caerphilly Works. The forlorn sight of the empty shed after its allocation was moved to Cardiff East Dock provided a stark comparison with the shed in its heyday. Finally, we had a glimpse of Hymeks and Westerns as they began to usurp Halls, Castles and Kings. The Blue Pullman was set against a final look at the last steam hauled South Wales Pullman from Swansea to Newport with its beautifully prepared umber and cream coaches. An excellent evening all round and if you see it advertised at any other RCTS venue don't miss it.