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BRANCHES

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NEXT FIXTURES

FEBRUARY

Friday 17th: Central London Branch Meeting: Swanning around Part 2: Jeremy Harrison.

Thursday 23rd: Croydon Branch Meeting: ‘Transforming Victoria Underground Station’ by Kathryn Waghorn, Project Planning Manager.

Thursday 23rd: North West Branch Meeting
: ‘Pacifics’ a detailed look at 4-6-2’s at work in this country & abroad by Doug Capewell.

Monday 27th: Brighton Branch Meeting: A Continental Miscellany by Brian Boddy. (Change of speaker)

MARCH


Tuesday 7th: Bedford Branch Meeting ‘An evening of Railway Films’ presented by Frank Banfield.

Wednesday 8th: Dorking Branch Meeting Presentation to be advised.

Thursday 9th: St Albans Branch Meeting ‘A Plug for Brunel’ by Colin Brading, Railway Civil Engineer.

Tuesday 14th: North London Branch Meeting ‘Enfield Transport Part 3’ by David Cockle.

Friday 17th: Central London Branch Meeting ‘How Green was my valley, part 2’ by Chris Jones on South Wales.

Thursday 23rd: North West Branch Meeting ‘China - Steam in the 21st Century’ by Geoff Coward.

Monday 27th: Brighton Branch Meeting ‘Photo’s from the Ken Nunn Collection’ by Mike Hudson.

Thursday 30th: Croydon Branch Meeting: ‘AGM & Members pictures’, conventional & digital projectors available.

APRIL

Tuesday 4th: Bedford Branch Meeting ‘The GN and LNWR Joint Line’ by Robin Cullup.

Tuesday 11th: North London Branch Meeting
‘Running steam specials and the locomotives’ by Matthew Hill.

Wednesday 12th: Dorking Branch Meeting
‘The Chinnor & Princes Risborough Railway’ by Roger Fagg.

Thursday 13th: St Albans Branch Meeting ‘Addleston to Beijing’ by Andy Davies & Irene Rabbits.

Tuesday 18th: Bedford Branch Meeting ‘Quiz v RCTS’ at Bedford, note this quiz will only now take place once a year alternating between Bedford & Northampton.

Friday April 21st: Central London Branch Meeting ‘Before the war; pictures from the Ken Nunn Collection , Pre WW1 gems’ by Jeremy Harrison.

Monday 24th: Brighton Branch Meeting
‘The Patriot Project’ by John Borrowdale.

Thursday 27th: North West Branch Meeting
‘AGM then Members & Visitors Slides & Digital Photos’.

Thursday 27th: Croydon Branch Meeting ‘Railways of the Isle of Wight, before 1966’ by Stuart Dennison.

MAY

Tuesday 2nd: Bedford Branch Meeting ‘ All Change at Cricklewood’ behind the scenes in Midland Railway days by John Downing.

NEWS FROM THE BRANCHES

BEDFORD:


There was something different about this year’s Branch Christmas meeting on 20/12.
As usual, there were members’ slides, contributed by Ken Dickens, Ted Burley, Geoff Biggs and Bill Davies. Bryan Cross showed some mystery slides covering a selection of LCGB railtours and set the audience the task of identifying them.

While dinner was being munched, supplied as usual by the local chippie, Steve Lacey left his laptop lying about so that footage of the newly restored 92 Squadron could be viewed. After dinner Frank Banfield entertained once again with a selection of cine films, this time including some rare film of the Corris Railway in the 1920s and some gems with a local flavour taken by the late Brian Lockey.

Once again the attendance was disappointingly low although those present appeared to enjoy the event despite the absence of two regular features. One was the Tom and Jerry cartoon which would have ended the evening if only the right projector had been available. The other was the legendary Alan Ledwick Stinker Quiz. At least the Branch did not have to reward the lucky winner with a pudding this time.

Chris Banks seems to have become a Branch fixture in December. On 6/12 he returned with part 7
of his epic series, “Engine Sheds”. This time, with the theme of roof replacement running through the presentation, the journey began at Immingham and ended at Patricroft. The latter was presented as a Manchester shed, as were Agecroft, Gorton, Longsight and Newton Heath. Similarly Aintree and Edge Hill were treated as part of Liverpool.

Followers of this series are accustomed to interpretations of the alphabet such as this! The selection of sheds described included some lesser known establishments such as Kings Lynn, Kirkby-in-Ashfield, Louth, Macclesfield and Malton amid those more widely recorded, the latter including Inverness, Machynlleth and Neville Hill which was of course filed under Leeds.

Even Chris has been unable, so far, to find photographs of every shed but in his customary and diligent style he gave a potted history of each one included and key facts about the locomotives illustrated. The condition of most of the motive power depicted inevitably tended towards the decrepit, with the stunning exception of those captured at first light on Lostock Hall on the last day of steam which had been bulled up by volunteers.

The memory of this shed lives on as the name of Chris’s house which, he admitted, raises the odd eyebrow when spotted on his letterhead. Once again the Branch applauded the speaker warmly for a thoroughly entertaining evening. Part 8 is scheduled for December 2017.

Robin Cullup returned to the Branch on 1/11, this time with his presentation on the Midland route to Cambridge. His great-grandfather, William Morby, had been stationmaster at Grafham. This and a trip over the line in 1958 served to trigger his interest.

After chronicling the stages and complexities of the line’s origins and its traffic, Robin described it from west to east, illustrated by as comprehensive a selection of photographs as could be desired, supplemented by the relevant RCH junction maps where relevant.

Passenger traffic was always sparse, amounting to four trains each way per day with through holiday traffic in high summer and worked by small elderly engines – often double-headed despite this not being permitted - until the 1950s when the Ivatt 2-6-0’s arrived. Freight included ironstone, military traffic and the seasonal fruit train from Histon to Ancoats and in later years attracted larger power such as the 8F. Although the line was built to accommodate double track very little was laid.

The creaking wooden trestles bridging rivers and flood plains east of Huntingdon and the stated need for costly relaying contributed to the relatively early closure, in 1959. Much of the trackbed now lies beneath the A14 and the ex-Great Eastern section east of St Ives has become a busway which some describe as misguided.

Such a comprehensively researched talk as this was a pleasure to attend and the Branch hopes that Robin will return with another of his presentations before long. A rather farcical raffle draw ensured that the evening would be remembered as entertaining.

Brighton:

Brian Jackson presented ‘Photo's from the Bill Jackson Collection - Part 2’ on 23/1. Brian had selected photographs from 1953 and what a treat.  Much of what his father Bill had taken was Southern based but included everything from oldest to newest and mundane (for the period) to unusual. A key activity had been to record the various locomotives that had been transferred in from other regions to cover for the Merchant Navy's which had been stopped due to faults on their axles.

A holiday in Scotland that year enabled us to enjoy a rich selection of stock and locations from that area. Stopping off at some collieries in the Ashington, Northumberland area, primarily for ex Southern loco's. Bill had also taken a variety of industrial types which added a good deal of interest.

We are indebted for the efforts that Bill made to record the railway scene over 50 years ago, and of course to Brian who has done much work to put together a most excellent and highly recommended presentation with a detailed commentary.

Central London:

The branch welcomed the former custodian of the Ken Nunn photographic collection, Graham Stacey on 19/1 with My Black and White Southern pictures 1952-65. In an extensive look at the former BR Southern Region from Ramsgate to Padstow the content was mainly, but not entirely, steam locomotives with many classes dating back to pre-grouping days.

Among the many excellent pictures shown, too numerous to mention individually, there were some of particular interest to this writer. Examples included BR 4MT 76025 crossing Canute Road in Southampton, 34051 hauling Sir Winston Churchill's funeral train in 1965, 70014 Iron Duke at Tonbridge in 1957, unmodified Merchant Navy Pacifics 35027 Port Line at Sevenoaks, 35005 Canadian Pacific at Axminster, and Brighton Atlantic 32424 at Victoria, also in 1958 .

There were some branch line views such as Adams Radial 4-4-2T 30583 at Exmouth as well as scenes of the Somerset and Dorset at Evercreech Junction plus several railtours. There were a couple of surprisingly early 'last day of steam' views, one over the Alton-Winchester line in November 1957 and another at Paddock Wood in 1961. Several pictures were taken near Graham's home in Egham, such as 70020 Mercury at Virginia Water on a 1964 railtour, 35027 passing Egham in 1959 and 34037 Clovelly at Staines in 1958, the latter two on Royal Train workings.

Graham's National service days gave him access to the Longmoor Military railway so views of WD 0-6-0ST and WD 601 2-10-0 at Longmoor were noted. All the pictures were accompanied by Graham's hallmark detailed commentary, showing a remarkable memory and recall, all the more noteworthy because many scenes were recorded easily three generations ago. The Branch extends grateful thanks to Graham for such a brilliant start to the New Year.

Croydon:

The meeting on the 26/1 was a talk entitled "London to Velke Kapusany: a 21st Century Odyssey" and comprised a well prepared, digital slide show by David Jackman depicting his many travels in Western Europe since 2000. The main theme was to describe the principal types of engines and units in use now in near Europe and show how the rail services have been modernised in the EU (and slightly beyond) in the same way as trains at home have been continually improved.

The speaker had done his research well so we were given plenty of important detail such as installed power, builders' name and date and the number of machines in traffic and the services they worked. The present day trains in about eight countries were explained using high quality photographs delivered electronically without at hitch. Thanks then to David for a well presented and interesting talk.

Dorking:


Regular speaker Donald Wilson returned to the Branch on 11/1 with a presentation on ‘Railways of Greece’ based on a tour in 2013 with some additional scenes from 2016. Prominent in his pictures were many EU funded enhancement schemes which seemed extravagant in the light of the modest levels of traffic and which had slowed or stalled as a result of the Greek economic crisis.

Starting in the north at Thessaloniki, Donald showed the upgrade works on the main line to Athens and on the former metre gauge Thessaly Railway, now converted to standard gauge, from Volos to Kalambaka as well as the tourist operation on the 60cm Pelion Railway to Milies.

Moving south, the main part of the talk was taken up with a tour of the lines in the Peloponnese area. Starting with the ‘main line’ from Athens to Patras on the Adriatic coast, Donald illustrated the protracted work on upgrading and gauge conversion. Part way along this line is the 75cm gauge part rack worked branch from Diakopto to Kalavryta and numerous views were shown of this very scenic line.

Apart from a short suburban operation around Patras, the remainder of the extensive metre gauge network was suddenly closed in 2010 although upgrading had been taking place. However, Donald was able to travel these lines on a rail tour with many views of the attractive scenery as well as a number of dumped steam locos and the open air museum at Kalamata. As always, Donald’s talk was enlivened with stories of his experiences on the trip and he was warmly thanked for a most entertaining evening.

North London:


The branch welcomed back Geoff Brockett on 10/1 with a presentation entitled ‘Locomotive hauled passenger trains since privatisation’.
The talk was illustrated with slides from the UK rail network. I shall concentrate on the excellent photographs from the London and the South East.

Kings Cross was the starting point with illustrations of the GNER class 89 locomotive. The livery was deep blue with the GNER Logos and the coaching stock bore the GNER coat of arms. Geoff included details and photographs of rail replacement services including the time when class 86 locomotives were used by Hull Trains during a shortage of their normal stock.

Moving across to Marylebone he mentioned the Wrexham and Shrewsbury Railway their trains were headed by class 67 locomotives with class 82 DVT’s at the rear. Liverpool Street with Abellio Greater Anglia Trains has its share of loco hauled stock in the form of class 90’s with DVT’s at the rear.

What has become clear from the talk is the way in which liveries have been abandoned in favour of adopting a corporate colour scheme. For instance, when National Express were granted the franchise for services on the Liverpool Street to Norwich Line they imprinted National Express in a central strip. The style was adopted by Abellio on their succession to the franchise.

Moving further north Geoff included a slide of the temporary Bletchley to Bedford Service during improvements when Class 37 locomotives were in operation topping and tailing the train. It was of special interest to me because I had travelled on the same coaching stock from Holyhead to Crewe in a similar situation.

Staying in Wales Geoff included Diesel Class 57 hauled Pendolino trains in service between Crewe and Holyhead demonstrating the amount of detail attained. The afternoon finished with a sparkling array of steam hauled charters at many locations. The best way to experience the presentation is to invite Geoff along to your branch. The audience would like to thank Geoff for a fascinating and detailed look at the railway of the recent past and the railway of today.

A Branch request note about the meeting that was arranged for the 13/12/16 as an explanation to those present. The meeting had to be abandoned due to projector failure. Fortunately, an ad hoc solution was found and the meeting continued in a totally unplanned way. We would to thank the audience and our presenter Chris Appleby for their patience and support. I am happy to report that a suitable replacement projector has been found through the efforts of John Curry our independent accounts examiner. Once again thanks to all who support the branch. I am assured that the quiz put together for that afternoon will be presented by Chris Appleby in December.

North West:

On 19/1 a disappointingly small audience gathered for Ian Pilkington's digital presentation ‘Steam and Diesel in the Northern Fells’. Ian is a renowned follower and photographer of main line steam workings and his selection, taken over the last eight years, was of the highest quality. The area covered included the Blackburn - Hellifield - Carnforth route, the Cumbrian Coast line, the West Coast over Shap, the Newcastle line near Carlisle and of course the Settle - Carlisle line.

Ian has an encyclopaedic knowledge of photographic locations on these lines and hence what followed was a magnificent record of charters and regular workings over the period, all set against the splendid scenery of the Dales, North Lancashire and Cumbria.The variety of locos on display was something of an eye-opener with no less than 28 different machines in action including representatives of each of the Big Four companies and BR.

The liveries on show were equally varied ranging from BR Brunswick green, Apple green, lined and unlined black and red to LMS red and black and LNER Garter blue. The regular services of the area were also seen including the 37's on the Cumbrian Coast passenger services, the Colas operated log trains, the GBRf and DB gypsum trains, the West Coast route intermodals and the faithful 6K05 Carlisle - Basford Hall engineering service.

Ian saved four of his own favourites until the end, the last of which was a shot of a lifetime view of a brilliantly lit, red "Galatea" in full cry with billowing white exhaust against a black sky and a full rainbow - a fitting end to a superb show for which he was most warmly thanked.

St Albans:

St Albans Branch: were able to welcome a distinguished visitor to open their 2015/6 season when Chris Green, the former MD of Network SouthEast, gave a presentation on 10.9 entitled 'The InterCity Story', based on the book of the same name. Mr Green's presentation was divided into four parts, namely the roots of using InterCity as a brand name (1960-1982), Sectorisation (1982-1994), Privatisation (1994-Present) and Conclusions. Mr Green said that in the early days, much emphasis was placed on raising the average speed of the passenger trains involved, a process which was aided by the introduction of new technology, in particular the High Speed Train fleet and main line electrification.

At the time of writing, frequency of service is the main selling point, with a miscellany of timetabled services being seen on all major trunk routes. Mr Green followed his talk by a question and answer session, during which time many topics, including HS2, were aired. The St Albans Branch would like to thank Mr Green for a lively and thought provoking evening's entertainment.