Archives

INDEX OF MONTHLY MEETING, NATTER NIGHT & ADDITIONAL MEETING REPORTS

The list below shows all the recorded BRS meetings since 1985. Reports for 2018 are shown in full directly below.  View earlier reports by clicking the three red 'decade' links above. There are no reports for 1985 to 1995 and 2004, but some speaker names and presentation titles are given. Gaps appear in the early years. Please help to improve the lists by passing details through the "Contact BRS" link or passing it to a Committee Member. Dates shown in italics denote an 'Additional Meeting' not held on the normal first Wednesday of the month.

2020

 

 

 


 

 
 
 

2019

December 2019 - Bill Chapman, “Cambrian & North Wales mid-1960s to early 1970s: the early days of narrow gauge preservation”

It was good to welcome Bill to Burton for his third visit. He declared he would start and finish in Chester and he set off with five shots of Black 5s twixt Chester and Ruabon in 1967. Welshpool soon featured with 7828 ‘Odney Manor’ in September 1965 with an Aberystwyth – Paddington express. This was at the station in its former days before it was turned into a shopping centre with a new building nearby. 75021 handled the last “Cambrian Coast Express” in 1967. There followed shots along the Welshpool – Oswestry line with rusting track, buildings, signs and signals all still in place after closure. Similar illustrations were then used on the Llangollen line. Then it was back to Welshpool for the light railway with both the ‘Earl’ and the ‘Countess’ in action. Moving out onto the Cambrian Coast, we came to Dovey Junction with B.R. Standard Class 75s in charge on both passenger and freight. Once in Aberystwyth it was time for the Vale of Rheidol with illustrations of the old and new terminals and engine sheds. Corporate blue livery looked at odds with present day colours.

 

After the break it was to Towyn with 1970s DMUs and the Talyllyn Railway. There were also close ups and distant views of Barmouth station and the famous bridge. There was a lovely shot of “rush hour” at Barmouth with lots of trains in the station with 46500s, 75000s, 80000 and 82000 tanks plus a ‘Manor’! Bill then took us down the line for a fine view of Harlech Castle with a four-car DMU waiting in the platform. It was time to visit the Ffestiniog Railway in the days before Blaenau was reached; ‘Linda’ and ‘Prince’ and a double Fairlie were captured at various locations along the line. The ace former Kings Cross driver Bill Hoole appeared in a couple of the shots. A quick visit to the Snowdon Mountain Railway was made before leaving for Llandudno Junction with 60532 ‘Blue Peter’ on a special and Holyhead. It was then back to Chester on 5th February 1966 where 44711 brought the show to an end.

 

Bill said that he enjoyed showing his slides as it giives him the chance to revisit them. We certainly enjoyed sharing them with him on the lines both broad and narrow him.

 

Mark Ratcliffe

November 2019 - Paul Chancellor, “An 8th Colour Rail Journey”

This annual event ensured that members have now seen six out of the eight journeys that Paul has prepared. (We have missed out on Parts 1 & 3). The Colour Rail archive currently holds around 100,000 images with 800 added each month on the 15th.

At the request of another Railway Society the theme for this visit was the year 1959. Appropriately Paul started with a shot of D1959 followed by 61959 and Pannier Tank 1949 - (the latter being the closest he could get to 1959!). We were reminded that the M1 Motorway opened during the year and post codes were introduced, but sadly the Swansea & Mumbles Tramway closed. New locos introduced included Peak diesel D1 whilst steam locomotive classes that became extinct included classes E3, E6x, E4x, E1r, W1 60700, B2s and N1s. First of class withdrawals included: 60104 'Solario', 60503 'Lord President', 30779 'Sir Colgrevance', 4940 'Ludford Hall', 5010 'Restormel Castle' and 1600 itself. However the Scottish Region returned to service four preserved veterans and (4)1000 made a come back in the Midlands. Services were withdrawn from the M. G .N. whilst on the W.R. the Saltash Bridge celebrated its 100 anniversary as did the Severn Bridge before it was struck by a barge. Active on the S.R. was 34036 at Padstow on the A.C.E. whilst images on the L.M. included 70047 on the Irish Mail, 58271 on a rail tour at Halesowen and 46134 sporting an enormous head board. 

After the interval it was the turn of the E.R. so we viewed images of Barnsley Shed, a B1 and a J15 meeting at Oulton Broad South overlooked by two small boats and a superb picture taken from the top of the Sutton Swing Bridge with both road and rail featured. Scotland included a very clean 'Crab', 42919 on Stranraer shed and 'Ben Alder' inside Forfar shed. The latter was in a very poor condition, but this was greatly outweighed by the historical record. In a section entitled “Odd bods” Bass No. 4 was show-cased. Paul then changed the emphasis to places already visited in 1959 to see how they have changed. First, it was to Gloucester with Eastgate Station and Barnwood Shed: of course, both sites were subsequently dispensed with and flattened. The section on Euston included the 1934 “Turbo-motive” followed by a horse drawn dray in 1955, 46236 'City of Bradford' surrounded by mail bags, and of course the Doric Arch. - the contrast being the units and electric locos prior to the Pendolino scene. At Reading there was steam on the S.R. shed in 1961, 'U' Class 31799 in the Southern Station prior to closure, whilst 1975 revealed the HST prototype on test. Doncaster had 60091 'Captain Cuttle', the change to Deltic era with one passing through the station, whilst later still 55010 was shown being cut up in 1982 and finally today with the wires up. 1949 Waterloo had 35024 'East Asiatic Company' in original condition and painted blue, 1967 34013 'Okehampton' with a week to go to the end of steam, by 1989 it was 50002 in Network South East livery and in 1995 a Eurostar set in the purpose-built section of the station. Last of all it was to Haymarket with 62478 'Glen Quoich' passing the depot, 1961 60534 'Irish Elegance' looking good on shed and finally the blue diesel era in 1976.

As always it was a splendid evening of entertainment from Paul of “Colour Rail” featuring great diversity and incredible variation for the year 1959.

Mark Ratcliffe

October 2019 - Les Nixon, “55 years of railway photography: Part 4”

It is always a pleasure to welcome Les Nixon for his annual visit to Burton Railway Society and this year was no exception.

Les started at Barnetby and in the next instance he had taken us to Darjeeling. He had arrived there in his Austin Maxi car! (He had more faith than I would have done in such a vehicle.) We were quickly transported back to 1962 withA3 60075 'St. Frusquin' heading for Kings Cross. Les’s theme was all about variety - one minute we on Shap and the next in East Africa! He produced an amazing variety of photos and I’ll list a few of the highlights that stood out for me.

He had a really nice shot of a 4F at Burrs, but Les described it as a “committee” shot because it was taken on a charter and several other people took the identical photograph. This certainly wasn’t the case with a 1969 view of an elderly Black Hawthorn loco still in use at Wirksworth Quarry, the loco having been built in 1873. Back abroad to Boulogne with the steam crane for coaling locos being the main subject. Then it was a return to the Maxi, first it was being loaded onto a boat and next it was parked with a pair of camels overtaking it! Onto tray two with a pair of Class 20s in action at Settle Junction in 1989 before going further back in time with the Donegal rail cars in Douglas Station. Mysore loco shed looked to be a splendid place with the words “Mysore Loco Shed” above the roof of the modern round house. Arriving in Grimsby in 1960, we viewed the Grimsby & Immingham tram in operation. Non operational was 46115 'Scots Guardsman' in shades of B.R. green and brown rust primer at the long closed Dinting Rail Centre. Les reminded us to take photographs today as nothing stays the same for very long.

Excitement occurred during the interval as at long last there was a winner of our “Snowball” with member 675 going home £120 the richer.

Part 2 and a reminder of the single car four-wheeled DMU that shuttled between Buxton and Millers Dale - a black and white composition. A Black 5 on Shap Summit in 1967 was followed by Rowsley 3F shunting at Bakewell and no cars in view. At Beverley, a station unchanged, G5 69280 posed with a two-coach train for Hull. A broadside shot of 46237 'City of Bristol' reminded us of the days when a yellow stripe adorned the cab number. At Chinley in 1977 we were treated to a Class 40 on a string of vans, in a location altered out of all recognition.  Les enjoyed the 'Hungarian 150 Years of Railways' celebration and captured an unusual view of a Rumanian Pacific complete with lovely red wheels. December 1981 and he was at the G.C. for the Stirling Single - I remember the occasion well as a ride behind this wonderful machine was a first trip out for my recently born second son. Keeping to the elderly loco theme was a slide of 'Lion' in operation at Steamport alias the old Southport engine shed, now sadly a supermarket. As always Les referred to his wish for a time-machine, this time it would have been to have seen a G.C. Atlantic loco in action. His show was drawing to a close and we finished with an abstract of dozens of wheels in Doncaster Works in 1977 and a final shot taken in 1964 of two water cranes with braziers burning to stop them from freezing. Proof that you don’t always need a loco in a photograph to make it interesting!

Dare we say it? A Thomas Cook’s tour of countries of the world and steam in the past along with much more modern traction. How sad that Thomas Cook has folded!. Finally, it was honours even, Les being a Barnsley fan was happy that his team had scored a last ditch goal to equalise against Derby County. The Rams fans in the audience were not so pleased as the final score was 2-2.

Mark Ratcliffe

September 2019 - Chris Banks, “Engine Sheds: Part 12 – The Finale!”

Once again it was time to climb aboard the imaginary “30 bob” coach tour for another tour of the steam engine sheds. In the 1960s it seemed that these tours were guaranteed to get you around every slum clearance area in the country. It is sad to think that it was 51 years ago that the last depots closed their doors forever. Well, I remember the thrill of visiting these “cathedrals of steam” sat on the back of a Honda 50! Alas my old friend the driver, David Banton, has also been consigned to history. Thus Chris ably supported by son John took us around the final 20 sheds from “T to Y”. 

1. TYNE DOCK: Despite being in a dreadful state, this building wasn’t demolished until the 1970s. Views included 69921, a rare beast, and the last active member of the class -  Q6 63399, Q7 63470, J27 65860 and a very clean 9F 92063 tidied up in November 1966 for the last steam-worked service to Consett Steel Works. (My own memory was of finding two A1 pacifics stored there ready for the scrap yard).

2. WADEBRIDGE: The depot here was built in 1895 and show-cased all three of the famous Beattie Well Tanks together. G.W. pannier tank 4666 was tried out prior to 1367, 68 and 69 taking over. 

3. WAKEFIELD: This was a massive place with 139 locos allocated at nationalisation. It was famous for the large number of “Austerity” 2-8-0s kept there -  47 of them in 1957. A shock was to see 90385 ex-works!

4. WATFORD: The shed here was close to the station and 40659 was viewed, coaled and ready to go in September, 1960. The depot closed in March 1965.

5. WELLINGBOROUGH: Chris portrayed 84007 nice and clean inside the number two roundhouse in April 1959, prior to this it had been an ex-17B loco. 48276 peered out of the shed doors whilst alongside the building in August 1961 46106 Gordon Highlander was then allocated to 17A. Of course 92020 fitted with a Crosti boiler in original condition just had to be shown!                                                        

6. WELLINGTON: This was a small three-road shed and was illustrated with 9630 by the coaling stage and “Dukedog” 9004 in store.

6A: GRESTY ROAD, Crewe, was a small sub-shed of Wellington illustrated with 41232 and Chris recounted that he and his friends had a permit to visit and the man in charge wouldn’t let them round! He even brought out his Alsatian dog to see them off! 

7. WEST HARTLEPOOL: It was sad to see 63344 re-arranging “dead” locos two days before closure in 1967. A slide of 90339 showed it dumped outside.

8. WESTHOUSES: There was a long distance view set the scene to start off with. Despite being closed in October 1966 it was still servicing steam locos for Williamthorpe Colliery and continued in use for servicing diesels - classes 20, 25 and 47 illustrated this. By 1979 the building was no more, but diesels still congregated here.

9. WEYMOUTH: Again a general view of the shed to start with followed by slides of 1011 ‘County of Chester’ and 4918 ‘Dartington Hall’ to emphasise the Great Western era prior to Southern control. Unrebuilt 34107 ‘Blandford Forum’, ex-works in June 1963’ represented the latter period. 

10. WHITBY: A lovely overall view included the shed, yard and the famous abbey on the hill. This shed is still standing. A July 1956 slide of L1 67791 after a visit to Darlington Works was worth seeing.

11. WICK: This stone constructed shed maintained three locos. The building survives today as a supermarket! 54495 was the featured locomotive.

12. WIDNES: Chris had only one colour slide of this depot in his collection and it showcased two 8Fs - 48308 and 48039.

13. WOLVERHAMPTON OXLEY: For me this brought back memories of a fearsome shed foreman who, apart from one occasion, always pounced when ever I visited. Chris had a slide of “night owl” 4704 coming out of the side entrance. I could see the front number plate of this engine peering at me through a window from inside the depot on an occasion I was denied admittance - very frustrating! Another of Chris’s slides portrayed 9F 92232. 

14. WOLVERHAMPTON STAFFORD ROAD: Well known for its allocation of King Class locos, so 6017 ‘King Edward IV’ with smokebox door ajar was a natural choice. Other engines shown included: 5901 ‘Hazel Hall’, 5026 ‘Criccieth Castle’ and 4000 ‘North Star’. The shed closed on 9 September 1963. 15. WOODFORD HALSE: Again a shed and yard view started off the visit here. Closure came on 4 June 1965 with only five engines allocated at the time. 70016 ‘Ariel’ was captured visiting from Crewe.

16. WORCESTER: A divided shed building with the line in between serving the Sarson’s Vinegar Works. The three-road shed was for passenger locos and the four-road building was for other workings. 7002 ‘Devizes Castle’ was nice and clean and pannier 1661 showed off its massive spark arrestor.

17. WORKINGTON: Again only one colour slide was available, but it showed the overall area of the building and yard. Views of withdrawn 4F 44311 decorated with a yellow band and Furness Railway- built loco 52499 followed. Closure came in January 1968 with seven on the allocation.

18. WREXHAM RHOSDDU: This was a former L.N.E.R. depot which lasted till January 1960. It was a six-road shed and Chris showed slides of 84000 and 69346 - both former occupants.

19. YEOVIL: A three-road building situated by the station, it closed in June 1965 and the area is now a car park. An interesting slide portrayed 5082 ‘Swordfish’ on shed - a type of loco which was officially barred from the area! 30454 ‘Queen Guinevere’ and  34075 ‘264 Squadron’ represented the Southern. 

20. YORK: An interior view of the roundhouse featured 60146 ‘Peregrine’, B1 61276 and J27 65894, whilst one of York’s own 9Fs, 92205, was viewed on the turntable. Out in the yard there were locomotives everywhere including 44736 and 60847 ‘St. Peter’s School York A.D.627’. Other slides showed 47969 a Garrett, stabled - but in steam, 60005 ‘Sir Charles Newton’ in blue livery and B16 61468. The final slide of the evening was of B1 ‘61256’ at the head of a long line of locomotives.

Thank you Chris, not forgetting assistance from your son John, for recreating the thrill of visiting these marvellous institutions and for the information given about each shed. Chris told us that this had been his 14th visit to the Society.

Mark Ratcliffe.

August 2019 - Andrew Goodman, “I moved it my way!”

With two major road closures in the area especially at the Burton end of Shobnall Road, involving a lengthy detour to get to Marston’s Club, it was good to see 44 hardy souls making the effort to attend. Andrew Goodman didn’t disappoint on his first visit. He declared an interest in railways from the word go. This is even more intense as he is now an owner of five locos including 9642 and ‘Cogan Hall’ which he bought direct from Barry Scrap Yard. He is also a keen supporter of the Gloucestershire & Warkwickshire Railway, (naturally as he lives in Broadway), and also of the Vale of Berkeley Railway.

 

A change of career saw him moving into the heavy haulage business starting with Allelys. Thus he moved around 14 locos from Barry including 5553 - the very last engine to leave the yard. His first slide, dating from 1982, portrayed a Bagnall 0-6-0 on the back of a low loader ready to start a journey from Hinckley to the Plym Valley Railway. The very first loco he moved at Barry was 34046, this was in order to get to 4277. Other large items moved included a building from Andrew Lloyd Webber’s garden, trams and an aeroplanes. Andrew explained in detail the problems entailed in moving these items. A former Polish 0-6-0 was overweight for the trailer and then it was discovered that the tanks were still full of water! Carrying on, on the loco front he had a visit to Cadley Hill Colliery to collect a 0-6-0 to take to the Bodmin & Wenford Railway. Over the years he has moved most of the National Railway Museum’s locos including 737 and the ‘Duke of Sutherland’ saloon, ‘Agenoria’, the Deltic and ‘Caerphilly Castle’. He also has a major interest in more modern traction and owns around thirty, 08 diesel shunters including the first and last ones to be built. Work undertaken by the 08’s on the national network includes depots at Bounds Green, Derby and Leeds. Prior to the interval he spoke about work for the film industry including “Casualty”, the Harry Potter movies and the James Bond scenes on the Nene Valley Railway which involved a scene with a helicopter.

 

Andrew started the second half with a description of a bridge beam move from Butterley to Scotland for use on the M74 over the River Allan. In 1989 the bridge over the River Ness at Inverness was washed away thus proving work for Andrew. Class 37s and 156 units were moved to Invergordon to keep the service going. In order to secure this work, a hasty trip was made to Italy to buy second hand trailers to move the loads concerned. Mr Goodman then returned to describing his “train set” with his owning a Toad brake van and 260 wagons! Along with these he has a Ransome steam crane, a former Turkish 8F and an interest in the restoration of the N.R.M. 4F 44027 on the Vale of Berkley Railway. Back to rolling stock movements - ‘Duke of Gloucester’ was taken to the East Lancs, Docklands Light Railway items were delivered and as was new stock for the Waterloo & City line. The latter involved the hire of a huge crane. Over the years he has moved just about everything required for the Channel Tunnel including the first industrial loco for the site. A final slide depicted the movement of a narrow-gauge engine from the centre of Brussels to Coventry.

 

It was a fascinating evening, brilliantly narrated and thoroughly enjoyed by all who attended.

 

Mark Ratcliffe

July 2019 - Gavin Lake, "Modern Traction: B.R. in the Seventies”

We were pleased to welcome Gavin Lake for his second visit to Burton Railway Society. In the 1970’s Gavin lived in Harlow and so London was within easy reach. Green diesels were very much still in favour and Gavin used a variety of cameras to capture the action. These included the following makes: Zenith, Ilford Sports and Pentax. He started his photographic journey at Kings Cross and then moved out to Finsbury Park for the Deltics and D8233 which in 1973 was in use for carriage heating purposes. An Eastern Region “rover” ticket took him to Retford and Doncaster Station and Works. At the latter, D5901 had finally arrived for scrap, its railway research duties having concluded. Next it was to Knottingley which was a freight-only depot and so they had no requirements for engines fitted with train heating equipment - or did they? Well, we were informed that (D)1979 complete with steam heating boiler was allocated there simply because a steam lance could be fitted to the boiler and used for freeing frozen points in winter time! Green diesels by then were rapidly being repainted into the dreaded all blue. Gavin’s further education was at Newcastle University, so as well as locations in the city, he was able to visit York and Thornaby. Thus we enjoyed views from the top of the castle, the prototype H.S.T. 42001 in the station, and the “teddy bears” D9500 locos in use at Ashington Colliery. With Scotland being in much closer reach, he was able to visit depots at Millerhill Yard, St Rollox, Eastfield, and Carstairs. Over at Carlisle in Kingmoor Yard, Gavin captured a long line of Class 24’s waiting for scrap. The lure of Crewe took him to the station, the diesel depot and the works. In the latter in February 1974, 87021 was in the course of construction, its service days on the West Coast now well and truly over it having been sold to Bulgaria for further use. Back then a roll of Kodak colour film cost £6-50 so careful use had to be made of it.

In the second half we looked at the Class 26 “Tommies” in use on the Woodhead route with views at Guide Bridge, Godley Junction and Reddish. Moving more locally, it was to Bescot for an open day, (at which several members of B.R.S. acted as stewards for the day). My claim to fame was having a chat with local radio celebrity Tony Butler. Whilst in the Birmingham area of course, Saltley was visited. Next we were off to the Southern Region in the summer of 1977 with Class 33’s and 73’s. Gavin recorded two class 71’s at Hither Green. Over on the Western Region we viewed D1072 ‘Western Glory’ which was filthy, putting out large quantities of exhaust and anything but “Glory”. It reminded me of a photo I took of it at Crewe Works after it was built when of course it was in just the opposite state. Gavin managed to see and record the Western Pullmans in their last week of working. Old Oak Common Depot was visited with Hymek diesels to the fore and Reading which was  a favourite place for him. Other locations were: Swindon Works, Bristol, Severn Tunnel Junction, Cardiff, Exeter, Dawlish and Plymouth. At Laira Shed in 1973 it was to record a scrap line of Western diesels. Up on the Midland Region, Gavin commented that St Pancras had changed almost beyond recognition. Toton depot revealed various “nose ends”, Etches Park had D5901 and in the station was D100 with the steam heat in operation. The Works of course had loads of Peaks on display. In September 1972 it was time to visit Coalville stabling point and D8143 was on Burton Depot. Westhouses had 47’s and 20’s a-plenty whilst Barrow Hill had a long row of 20’s stabled.

 

Gavin skilfully narrated us around the country. He was obsessive about green diesels, but in the end it was the blue outlook that took over, all being faithfully recorded for posterity. It was a show much appreciated by our members who remember the early days of diesels rather than the days of steam.

 

Mark Ratcliffe

June 2019 - Chris Eaton & Dave Hook, "The Popular Annual Railway Quiz”

Those who support this event eagerly look forward to it and it’s a great way to meet other members of the Society. Names for the teams are “drawn out of the hat” so no one knows who they’ll be with till the draw takes place. The wheels are first oiled with a voucher for a free drink for all who take part, but we do invite participants to donate a £1 to our current railway charity the G.C. Bridge Project. Unfortunately, for various reasons, our friends from Leicester Railway Society were unable to join us this time. However 30 of our members took part making 7 teams in all – 5 with 4 in the team and 2 with 5 players. There were 10 rounds in all with 8 questions per round. Each team had the opportunity to play a “joker” which enabled them to double the points on that particular round.

 

Round 1: “Up the Junction” - with a description being read out and competitors had to work out the location of the junction.  

Round 2: “The Patriots”: a typical question being how many rebuilt locomotives were unnamed? (Answer 0 as all received names.) 

Round 3: (The Joker could be played from this round onwards). The title for this one was ‘Climbing up the Counties’, not questions on the Western Region examples, but geographical names were required. Thus – “Where is Hemerdon situated? (Devon).

Round 4: “Pre Nationalisation Shed Codes”. So K.X. was Kings Cross. 

Round 5: “Where Is this? (Picture Round). A tough challenge this, with locations including Nottingham Station, Leicester North, Whitby, and Birmingham Moor Street.

Round 6: Another Picture Round, but this time it was ‘bridges’ with locations including: Bennerley, Forth Bridge, and Crumlin.

Round 7: “Steam Sheds”: an example here being - “Where is 8B Dallam”. (Answer Warrington).

Round 8: “A 'LONG' the Line”: thus answers required the word ‘LONG’ in them, so stations between Nottingham and Stoke were: Long Eaton, Longton, and Longport.

Round 9: “Steam Miscellany” so, ‘How many letters in the full name of Llanfair P.G? (Answer 5). Round 10: “Fun with Bulleid Names” with a cryptic twist, thus “A gateway to an orchard” was Appledore and this Bulleid should have been painted red, well Royal Mail of course!

 

The winning team was F amassing 139 points; closely followed by G with 137; and third was B with 132 points. Other scores: Team E 120; C 112; A 110; and D with 71. Team F was composed of Colin Ellis, Jeff Howard, Mark Ratcliffe & Martin Reynolds. The first 3 teams won cash prizes and the last team won a can of beer each. It was then time for “Last Man Standing” with questions being asked until there was only one team left and thus the winners. Finally it was “Nearest the Bull” and again the team nearest was the winner. Team D “pulled up its socks” and won both these rounds so each member went home with 3 cans of beer. A great fun night - it’s not Master Mind so come and join in next time. Thanks to question masters Chris and Dave, and Pete Wardle for marking the papers and keeping the scores and John Fellows for collecting the answer sheets.

Mark Ratcliffe


 

May 2019 - Stephen Gay, "Through Kirton Tunnel (Sheffield) to Cleethorpes: Part 1”

It is always a pleasure to welcome Stephen Gay, this being his 6th visit - the first time he came was in 2009. On the last occasion his faithful Alsatian companion Wrawby was still alive and we were sorry to learn that he’d passed on in October 2017. This time Stephen was accompanied by his wife Denise and we were very pleased to meet her.

 

After looking at the current scene around the former Sheffield Victoria Station we viewed trains, trams and buildings in the Sheffield area. This included a tram travelling over the 1-in-10 incline to get over the railway in Woodburn Road. Stephen commented that Darnall Station is little used by locals due to lots of steps and an undesirable subway to get to it. Strangely, although the signal box has gone, its toilet block still remains – “last flushed in 1971” was his comment! At Beighton Junction there was a depot and it was here that Stephen commenced his working career in 1979 and he spent 15 years there. When he first started work, two Gresley carriages were permanently stationed there, but eventually management ordered them to be burnt to keep vagrants out! Stephen had some spectacular slides of this event. On arrival at Kiveton we were informed that both stations, Bridge and Park, were both still open. A quick diversion to the Chesterfield Canal followed: the tunnel is currently bricked up, but plans are afoot to reopen it. The nearby Thorpe Bridge is infamous for its icicles in winter time and Stephen had a slide to show why. Down the road at Worksop the D.B. Company has pulled out, but plans are in place for Harry Needle to take over the sidings complex.

 

Whiskerhill Junction at Retford was illustrated with a 153 unit climbing the bank to get into Retford. Once again the signal box there has gone, but the toilet block is still in place! Stephen was pleased to report that the Lincoln – Gainsborough line will soon have trains operating six days a week along it, rather than just the sparse Saturday-only service that has operated it for so many years. This involved a Class 47 loco being sent out from Immingham to Gainsborough, first to check that the track was okay and secondly, indeed, still there! [Several years ago when a friend and I booked tickets to use the service, we were dismayed to find it was a bus replacement and I had to map-read for the driver to get us to Cleethorpes! When I did eventually manage to travel along the line it was on a rail tour hauled by a Deltic. Even then it was lucky because the tour was very late and there was concern that the signalmen along the line might close their boxes and go home - fortunately they didn’t.] Finally with Stephen we arrived at Kirton Lindsey Station and the tunnel was illustrated by a Class 156 unit approaching it and by a similar unit coming out. This is where the talk finished and we look forward to part two.

 

As usual Stephen's slides were first-class and involved a great many visits due to the low number of trains using the latter part of the route. His comments and reminiscences were up to his usual very high standard. Finally he emphasised that the slides we had viewed were all new and none of them were from his book he had published on the subject.

 

Finally, having said a final goodbye to long standing member Mick Lunn earlier in the day, the railway possessions of Lilly Atkins, our late Vice Chair, were put on sale for members to buy with the proceeds going to the Great Central Bridge appeal. This was a charity which we’re sure Lilly would have approved of.

 

Mark Ratcliffe

April 2019 - Gerald Daniels, "B.R. working life on the S.R."

The presentation was made by Gerald Daniels covering his long career as a “Proud Railwayman” from 1954 to 1993. He interspersed details of his career moves on transfer or promotion with shots of various locations. Gerald surprised us by starting his digital slideshow with trolleybus FUF1, which recalled his birthplace in Brighton and his part in organising a “wire wipe” with this vehicle before the Brighton system closed. Gerald’s first railway photo was of N15X Remembrance class 32328 ‘Hackworth’ at Basingstoke in the early 1950s. Brighton area shots included the loco shed, rebuild West Country 34025 ‘Whimple’ on a service to the west, departmental A1 ‘Brighton Works’ on a Kemp Town branch special train and a steam hauled Lancing Belle workmen’s train. There were images of Brighton line electric stock in the 1950s including a 4-LAV unit, a type that Gerald regularly used, and 3031 heading a 6-PUL and 6-PAN combination on the “City Limited” at Purley. Rarer shots were of a 4-CEP on test in 1955 and a 4-BUF with a Pullman in place of the buffet car. Infra-structure shots showed the impressive Ouse viaduct and Clayton tunnel portal, which incorporates railway workers accommodation. A number of photos showed aspects of Falmer station, where Gerald started his career.

Images of the “Bluebell Line” included E4 32504 at Newick & Chailey with a single carriage in the days of the “Sulky Service” and an electric unit at Horsted Keynes. A 2-HAL unit was shown at Ardingly on the electrified stub from Haywards Heath to Horsted Keynes. Gerald showed a nice colour postcard of the frontage of East-bourne station, where he had been a part-time announcer! A shot of 7813 ‘Freshford Manor’ with an inter-regional train on Gomshall Bank recalled the care that had to be taken when changing engines at Redhill as the Western Region used a different level of vacuum in the brakes as compared with the Southern.

In an Irish interlude dating from 1957, Gerald showed shots of a railcar and a steam loco, both taken at Raphoe and a railcar towing a van on the West Donegal line. The first half finished with a C class loco decorated with foliage (!), some Hayling Island branch shots at Langston viaduct and then 76067 on a passenger train.

Unfortunately, Gerald’s tablet device decided not to play ball after the interval and Gerald filled in with reminiscences and anecdotes dating mainly from his time as Area Manager, Basingstoke from 1978 onwards. These included the Templecombe station re-opening in 1983, his organisation of steam specials in the Andover area, arranging for the installation of the first electric hand dryer in a station toilet and his personal experience of being in the front train at the Clapham disaster and of arranging the evacuation of passengers.

Andy Harris   ​[Thanks go to Gerald for coping brilliantly in the face of the technology fault! Ed.]

March 2019 - John Langford, “Around the Branch Lines in Steam Days”

 

We started the evening with a minutes silence for Lilly Atkins - member 83, our Society Vice Chair, Membership Secretary and Honorary Club Vice President - who died after a long illness. She will be very much missed. Included in the memory was a long standing member Roger Knight, member 260, who also passed on in the same period.

 

We had the delight of welcoming John Langford to present his show. It was John’s first visit to Burton and we thank Michael Patterson for his help in arranging the visit and getting John to our venue. A former railway man and a keen enthusiast, John got to many places that were rarely visited by other photographers. A case in point was his first slide of the evening, featuring Woodville goods yard with a special train that arrived there on 1 March 1959. Despite the title of branch lines, John first of all then treated us to some mainline views and locomotives. We thus we observed 46154 ‘The Hussar’ at Grange Over Sands and 46230 ‘Duchess of Buccleuch’ on Carstairs Shed. We were soon onto the branch line scene and where better than the Hemlock Branch with 1450? Well, for me, it was the branch train at Savernake! After that we visited out of the way locations in Wales and England. One photograph that stuck in my memory was of the preserved D Class 737 having been hauled to Stewarts Lane by an immaculate 30912 ‘Downside’. Southern branch lines followed and included Robertsbridge on the Kent & East Sussex and Hayling Island. There was also a lovely cameo of a U.S.A. dock tank looking for all the world as if it had been coupled to a Bulleid tender! This was taken in Eastleigh Works.

 

After the interval, the audience was delighted to see slides of Bass, Worthington, Truemans and Ind Coope featuring both the steam and diesel fleets. Then it was time to look at the Metropolitan lines and the Isle of Wight. Scotland wasn’t forgotten and we also had an electric section with E.M.U.’s made to look scenic subjects. An interesting section featured just stations without trains – these having long gone. They included Wigston and Medbourne, the latter having closed in 1916.

 

Unfortunately, I was not able to make as many notes as I would have liked because John’s slides were of the thin cardboard type which our projector doesn’t like and so a lot of time was spent in persuading them to co-operate particularly in the second half. But it was a truly superb evening with lots of unusual and interesting subjects and John received many tributes of praise from members at the end of the night. John would not take a fee and asked us to donate it to our current fund raising appeal, the “Bridge the Gap on the Great Central Railway”. He also put his own donation in and, with the sale of donated D.V.D’s and books belonging to a former Longsight driver, the fund reached £264 - a great achievement after only 3 months.

 

Mark Ratcliffe

February 2019 - Dave Richards & Karl Jauncy,  “PSOV 2018”

By tradition, the February meeting is always booked for the famous duo with their film of mainline activity, aided and abetted by other skilled friends. It was the usual classy introduction with short clips of the action to come accompanied by music.

 

The session started with 70013, appropriate because its future is in the balance. Another familiar sight was 45699 ‘Galatea’, strange to think that its seven year working ticket will soon expire. The action followed quick and fast with 48151, “45157”, 45690, 60163, 46100, 60009, 35018 and 35028 all making an appearance. Pleasing action featured a double-headed train to Buxton in the snow with a black 5 and a black Jubilee. 60163 was also seen on its ill-fated 90m.p.h. trip. Whilst at Easter time 45157 was on the Fort William – Mallaig service. Terrific action show-cased 46100 ‘Royal Scot’ being “paced” from the road as it left Holyhead. All the locos used on the annual “Great Britain Tour” were seen including “N” 31806. Just before the first half came to a close, it was pleasing to see 60009 looking the part, i.e. rather grubby, and it is sad to think that it is entering its last year of operation!

 

The second half opened with 60103 being “saluted” by the fire brigade at Holyhead. 8F 48151 demonstrated that it was very good at rounding up sheep whilst working the “Lune River Trust” special. A sad occasion was the special run to commemorate the late Denis Howells with 9466, the loco’s owner for many years who worked tirelessly to keep this 0-6-0 running on the mainline. All proceeds went to charity from this particular trip. It was good to see 70000 back in action in October. Then once again it was the turn of 8F 48151 at Batty Moss with Dave commenting that this was the engine that set Karl and himself off on their long running project in 1988. It was therefore most appropriate to return to the same location to film the same loco almost to the day 30 years on! The ‘Duchess’ 6233 made a welcome return to the Midland mainline sporting its new colour of maroon. Soon we were in December 2018 with 61306 making its first test run in atrocious weather and It was fitting that 60103 ‘Flying Scotsman’ brought the show to an end.

 

To quote Tina Turner, these two are “simply the best” at what they do. I was amused by two locations chosen – “Promised Land Lane” and “Jeffrey Bog”! 2018, 50 years on of steam on the mainline – who would have thought that would be possible in 2018? However as Dave and Karl will tell you, every year it gets more and more difficult for them to do their work.

 

Mark Ratcliffe

January 2019 - Dave Coxon,  "The Mickleover Test Track”

An early start to the New Year saw us welcome Dave Coxon for his first visit to B.R.S. with his “Mickleover Test Track” presentation. In its early days the test track ran from Derby Friargate to Egginton Junction, but road improvement works saw the line cut back to five & a quarter miles starting at Mickleover. Dave illustrated and described the route in Great Northern, L.N.E.R. days, B.R. and B.R. Specials. He also had photographs of all the former stations along the line – Friargate, Mickleover, and Etwall & Egginton. The test track was used mainly for low-speed work as there were no level sections for brake testing. The line was singled in 1969 and cut back to Mickleover in 1970. Some of the tests that took place there were:

Class 151 trials -  Track defects -  Wind tunnel tests using a miniature version 4-wheel wagon tests for stability - Plasma torch trials - Remote     controlled shunter (Class 08 named Pluto) - Class commissioning for 154 units and locos 59 and 60 - Network S.E. snow train - Publicity for classes 154 and 156 plus many more - The Gemini battery D.M.U. which was allocated for many duties and was kept in a purpose-built depot at Mickleover. Other  

 Other items of stock included the single unit Iris, Lab 20 a Wickham track recording car and a Hydra a single car Cravens unit.

Various interesting ex B.R. diesels were also used, thus Co Bo D7505 was photographed in action in 1972 and Baby Deltic D5901 in 1970, the latter at Etwall. A Hymek and a Clayton diesel were also shown, but these were in store at Mickleover. The APTE was used for driver training purposes in the early 1970s whilst the new G.M. diesel 59002 was put through its paces in 1986. Moving on to 1989 60001 ‘Steadfast’ was on trial and gained the impolite nickname of “Stuckfast”. 60003 was also tried out in 1990. Several scrap Class 45s and 46s were used for load haulage on the Class 60 tests. These withdrawn-locos were often stored in the sidings adjacent to the Egginton Junction signal box. Following the tests with 60003, the line was deemed surplus to requirements and track lifting commenced in the summer of 1990. Dave concluded with scenes of the track bed afterwards. Today the course of the line forms a pleasant walk.

Thanks to Dave for a very interesting and informative start to the year and for making such a useful record of his working days there during the test period. For more information on the line, and also the current test track at Old Dalby, visit Dave’s web site at:www.old-dalby.com

Mark Ratcliffe

© 2019 Burton Railway Society