Background and Information
Burton Railway Society was formed in 1985 by local railway enthusiasts to cater for people in and around Burton-upon-Trent, Staffordshire. Some of the original members were former British Rail employees from the local steam shed (17B) and others were still working in the rail industry. The current membership numbers about 180 and includes many people from outside the railway industry. Members attending meetings now come from across a wider area of the West and East Midlands. Non-members are always most welcome to the regular monthly and additional meetings - there is a small fee, currently £2, for admission.
In its early days, the Society’s activities revolved around showing films and arranging trips to interesting railway locations. These activities still continue but others have been added. One such is the annual Quiz Night where members are spilt into teams and are tested on their knowledge of railways past and present. Another is the annual Photographic Competition where entries in three categories are judged by the membership. In addition to the indoor activities, there are the recently- revived ‘Wardle’s Dawdles’, named after the member who instigated the idea, which are leisurely walks incorporating as much railway and other transport interest as possible.
The Society makes a special effort to invite highly respected guest speakers to give presentations on a wide variety of railway topics. There are also 'Additional Meetings' (previously called 'Natter Nights') where members and non-members make presentations on more specialist or local topics. Reports of all meetings are shown on this website and are then archived here for future reference ['Meetings']. BRS has its own newsletter, aptly titled ‘17B’.
Up to one hundred members attend the monthly club nights that are held at Marston’s Sports and Social Club, Shobnall Road, Burton [click on 'Location' above for directions]. As befits the location, there is a bar available and there is a wide variety of books on sale from 'The Railway Bookshop' [click on 'Links' above for more information].
Burton-upon-Trent was once renown as the brewing capital of the country and was famous for possessing its own extensive brewery railway system used mainly for internal movements.
However, in the town this system was more infamous than famous with vehicle drivers and pedestrians for its 32 railway crossings! Most of this system was closed down in the mid-1960s as road transport took over from rail.
Burton was also once very well connected by rail. There were the lines of the North Staffordshire to Ashbourne, Leek, and Stoke-on-Trent; the Great Northern to Stafford and Nottingham (via Derby Friar Gate); the Midland to Derby, Birmingham, Hampton in Arden, Leicester (via Coalville) and Trent (via Stenson junction); the London & North Western to Lichfield; and the Joint L&NW and Midland to Nuneaton. Many of those lines, or the lnks to them, have gone leaving links only to Birmingham (via Tamworth and via Lichfield); Derby; Trent (via Stenson junction); and to Knighton junction (via Coalville).
Over one hundred years ago, Burton Corporation operated trams in the town and the Midland Railway operated the Burton & Ashby Light Railways system between Burton and Ashby-de-la-Zouch via Swadlincote.
Chairman: Mr M Ratcliffe
Vice Chairman: Mr D Hook
Secretary: Mr A Colson (whilst Mr J Tuffs is indisposed)
Treasurer: Mr P Wardle
Membership Secretary Mr D Hook
Members: Mr A Crick, Mr A Harris, Mr D Hook, Mr R Ings, Mr J Marsh
25th Anniversary Painting
For the Society's 25th Anniversary in 2010, the committee asked BRS member and local artist, David Wright, about producing a painting to mark the event. The idea was to commission the painting and then have exclusive rights to produce a print. A print would be made available to every member who would like one at a very small production cost. In the end, the price of a framed print was £25.
This proposal was put to David in the latter months of 2009. The brief was to show the railways connected with Burton-on-Trent within living memory. He accepted the challenge and set about producing ideas in sketch form. Initially, he produced two sketches for the committee to consider. The first was a total montage of the railways in and around the town, including the brewery railways. The second, and the one selected, was an interior image of the 1892 Burton Round House posing locomotives on the tracks radiating on to the turntable. The locomotives represented were those which David thought would be most connected with Burton. One change made by the committee was to replace a Jubilee by a Crab. The other locos remained the same as those in the sketch.
"The Tutbury Jinny" push-pull fitted 41277 Ivatt 2MT. This engine completed the very last round trip from Burton to Tutbury on 11 June 1960.
One of the famous Bass saddle tanks. Originally, David thought this selection was a case of using artistic licence, but later BRS member Dave
Fleming (a former 17B fitter) said that he remembered a Bass loco coming on shed for work to be carried out. So its inclusion was authentic after all!
A 4F 44542, a common workhorse used around the exchange sidings and on the brewery trains.
The Crab 42799, an example of one of the locos associated with the 'London Beer Trains'.
Lastly, David selected Class 20 D8133 because he wanted to introduce a diesel to represent the transition period. Unfortunately he made a slight mistake in the choice of number because 20001 - 20128 were originally built with disc indicators, whilst 20129 - 20228 were fitted with four character headcode panels, thus D8133 would have had a panel rather than discs.
For the painting to allow all the engines to fit together, the format had to be wide rather than deep. This gave David the idea that the print could replicate one of the prints that we used to see fitted below carriage luggage racks. The painting and print also features the 17B shed plate, centred at the bottom of the composition, to add the finishing touch.
Let’s hope Burton Railway Society carries on to see its 50th Anniversary. David's response was that he didn’t think his services would be called upon for that one, but he added, “You never know!”
Burton Railway Society - The First Ten Years
Can you believe it? Burton Railway Society has just celebrated its first ten years.
From an idea put forward over a pint of the local brew, Peter Clamp and Terry Roulstone decided to go public and give it a go, and from that first meeting at The Central Club in Derby Street the society has gone from strength, to the point where many would argue that it is the premier society in the Midlands.
Monthly club nights have been the backbone of the society with attendances regularly topping the one hundred mark. How many other clubs or societies of any interest group can claim that? With a growing reputation, Stuart Hills who served as club night organiser for a number of years, brought several big names to the club to entertain the members. To name but a few. We have seen Les Nixon, the renowned photographer, on two occasions, each time with a superb selection of his work. Rob Foxen with his archive films to entrance the audience and often a seasonal piece to end the show. Dave Richards and Karl Jauncey with their videos of steam on both the main line and preserved lines.
Visits to places of railway interest, incorporating both modern traction and almost anywhere with steam, have always been an integral part of the society, and over the years anyone who had participated in all of the trips and tours would certainly not have any reason to complain. Without doubt, at times these trips were not without their problems. Whether in the organisation; the barriers put in the way to prevent the enthusiast from participating in his hobby; or on the day when the coach, or worse still, train fail to turn up on time. In the early days, finance also played a large part. With only a few pounds in the bank some mad fools - the committee of the time - decided to hire a train and run a trip to Carlisle via the Settle to Carlisle line. It could have been a disaster, but thankfully, it was a huge success. From the financial point of view it put the society into the black, a position from which it has never looked back, and which will allow it to carry on for many more years yet.
So what better time than now to look back over those ten years. A stroll, or should it be train ride, down memory lane. A time to sit back and remember.
Taken from the diaries of Peter Upton, with contributions from others where acknowledged, we will remind you of the trips and tours organised by Burton Railway Society.