Meeting Reports

Meeting Reports


Thursday 17th January 2019
Branch AGM and Members Evening

The branch meeting on 17th January started with the Branch AGM, when, after receiving and approving the usual reports, the existing committee of Barry Butler (Chairman), Robert Warburton (Secretary), Alan Burgess (Treasurer) and Colin Greatrex was re-elected unopposed. The remainder of the meeting was taken up by members' contributions. Colin Greatrex started with a digital presentation of a holiday in France over 50 years ago, with images of SNCF Pacifics, the 141Rs and push-pull fitted 2-8-2Ts on suburban trains at Paris Nord. Other images were of the then state-of-the-art diesel and electric locomotives and multiple units, which look very dated today. Colin Conway was up next with three sets of slides; we started on the Isle of Man with a trip from Douglas to Port Erin and back in 1969, this being followed by a visit to the Liverpool Central to Gateacre line in 1971, shortly before it closed and finally to the Exeter-Okehampton line in 1972, again shortly before its original demise later that year. Our third contributor was Barry Butler with a selection of slides taken around East Anglia in the 1960s/70s and some slides of exceedingly long freight trains in the USA, some being worked by up to eleven locomotives. The meeting was concluded with a selection of slides shown by Robert Warburton, these showing scenes on the GN main line between London and Doncaster in the 1950s/60s and showing in particular the changeover from steam to diesel traction, which took place between 1958 and 1963.

Thursday 13th December 2018
'Rail Cameraman'
John Hillier

We welcomed branch member John Hillier to our meeting on 13th December to give a presentation titled 'Rail Cameramen' John has been a member of the Rail Camera Club for many years, this club being started by Stephen Crook after the Railway Photographic Society, which existed from 1922 to 1976, was closed down by its one and only Secretary, Maurice W. Earley. The RCC circulates portfolio boxes for members to comment on the work of other members of the Cluband in 2018 an exhibition was staged at Locomotion, the NRM outbase at Shildon, to celebrate the circulation of the 100th box. Images which were on display at that event have now been published in a book, compiled by John, titled 'The Photographic Artistry of Rail Camersmen', published by Silver Link Publishing Ltd and priced at £30.00. His presentation showed us many of the images from this book, ranging from black & white photographs taken by well-known photographers like Eric Treacy and Bill Anderson of steam prior to its demise in 1968, through diesel locomotives which are now only memories along with more up-to-date images of modern traction taken by current members of the Club. Thes included a Class 800 set in Virgin livery, something which will not be seen again as the Virgin branding has since been removed! This was an excellent evening with many superb images and is recommended to other branches.

Thursday 15th November 2018
'40 Years on BR'
Terence Jenner

Our speaker on 15th November was Terence Jenner, who spent his entire career as a member of the BR legal department. His talk, titled '40 years of BR Service', outlined how the department ran and how it changed as BR itself changed, through sectorisation and then privatisation.
His early years were spent on litigation, before moving to the Parliamentary & Commerial section. In the 1980s he saw the start of the break-up of BR with the disposal of Sealink, BT Hotels/Travellers Fare, the Vale of Rheidol Railway and BR Engineering Ltd among others. This period also saw the sectorisation process completed.
Then came rail privatisation under the John Major government, with all operating departments being disposed of by 1998 and BR split into 112 separate parts. This required a huge amount of work by the legal team as each part required many contracts to enable them to operate.
In 2001 the legal team became part of BRB(Residuary) Ltd, an organisation set up to deal with outstanding issues from BR days, Terence becoming Chairman for a period.

Throughout the talk, we were able to see how the relationship between BR and the Government changed, particularly when it came to finance, with much more money being invested now then ever before.

Thursday 18th October 2018
'The Inter-City Story'
Chris Green

Thirty people, our biggest audience for 20 years, turned out on 18th October to hear Chris Green's presentation 'The InterCity Story'.
The name first appeared in the mid 1960s, applied to the range of 95/100mph trains running on long distance routes, these being replaced by HSTs from 1976 in the quest for shorter journey times. Sectorisation in 1982 saw the title given to a nationwide system of express trains, but with the emphasis now on service and marketing as they got no government subsidy. This period saw ECML electrification but not the desired new trains for the WCML.
At privatisation, Chris wished for a single InterCity franchise but the government would not allow it. The Virgin group managed to get the WCML upgrade and new trains but most other franchises had to make do with what they inherited, with the ECML holders having to compete with two 'Open Access' operators.
Privatisation has seen more trains, more passengers, improved stations and better safety. Chris finished with a look at the IET fleet and its introduction on the ECML. This will not happen quickly as there are still problems with the trains, also to the power upgrade required to work the planned augmented service.

The meeting closed with a brief question and answer session.

Last updated: 28th April 2019