Travels in 2023

Our first meeting of 2024, on Zoom, was presented by local member John Tigg with his reflections on travels by rail during 2023. This took us across the country, from local scenes on the West Coast Main Line to the Tallylyn to Barrow Hill.

John’s review of 2023 started at Leighton Buzzard with immaculate Intercity liveried 90001 Royal Scot hauling 1Z12 05:22 Birmingham International to Canterbury West ‘The Golden Arrow’ special charter train. This was followed on the same March day by another special heading north with power provided by a locomotive with an identity crisis! Carrying number 45562 Alberta on the cab side and 45627 Sierra Leone nameplate and smokebox number, it was in fact 45699 Galatea, leading ‘The Cheshireman’ from Euston to Chester.

Next, we visit the Tallylyn Railway for a photo charter to see No.4 Edward Thomas specially painted in Corris Red on its last outing for the expiry of its boiler ticket. Brand new build steam followed, with views of 72010 Hengist and B17 Spirit of Sandringham, under construction at CTL Seal in Sheffield. John also took us for a quick ride on the trams, including 120 in its heritage livery of cream and azure blue, applied in 2010 to mark 50 years since the closure of the original Sheffield tram network.

A visit in April with the Watford Branch to the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway and a surprise meeting with our chairman, Steve Dexter, alighting from Peak 45149. The Milton Keynes Branch evening observation at Wolverton in August produced the highlight of 66763 hauling a lightly loaded Garston to Dagenham Dock car train. This was followed by a detailed look at Fawley Hill and its many attractions, both on the full sized ‘garden’ railway and in the museum.

Later in the year John showed us images from the Statfold Barn Railway, more lineside views on the West Coast, a visit to Crich Tramway Museum and a fascinating view inside Rotherhithe Tunnel during a Hidden London event organised by Friends of the London Transport Museum.

John concluded the evening with a quick view of construction work on East West Rail before final scenes at the Leighton Buzzard Railway.

A fascinating exploration of the previous twelve months showing the diversity and interest of both main line and heritage railways.