Thames Valley

Monday 18th March 2019

Heritage Railway Infrastructure Part 2

John Sreeves

John Sreeves from Halcrow presented the second part of his "Railway Heritage Infrastructure" talk.

John's area of expertise is bridges, so these were what he concentrated on. The first half of the evening concentrated on the bridge works required for last year's Broadway extension to the Gloucester Warwickshire Steam Railway, explaining all the problems and cures required, right the way up to almost a full rebuild in some cases. No wonder the extension took 6 years and over half a million pounds to complete!

After the break, he talked about other heritage railways he was involved with, including the Swindon and Cricklade and the Somerset and Dorset at Midsomer Norton.

He finished his talk with the Rother Valley Railway and its ambition of linking the main line from Robertsbridge to the Kent & East Sussex Railway at Bodiam. He described the work done to restore the bridges on the extension to Robertsbridge. The railway's ambitions have come to a standstill at the moment, because of the problem of crossing the A21. The preferred option of a level crossing has been ruled out by the Highways Agency, who prefer a bridge of some sort. This option is not feasible because of the gradients required, so the negotiation is ongoing.

After John's talk, there followed a question-and-answer session.

John is to be thanked for his insight into the hard and expensive work required to produce the railway press headline "XXXX Railway announces an extension to their line".

Monday 18th February 2019

Annual Quiz v Reading Transport Group

The February meeting was the annual quiz against our old friends of the Reading Transport Group. Unlike last year, when the "Beast from the East" caused the postponement of the match at Reading, the only beastliness was to be found in some of the questions set by joint inquisitors Phil Darlaston and Andrew Jenkins.<BR>

The format was three rounds of 20 questions,, two general sets compiled by Phil, sandwiching a "Where is it?" round of 20 pictures from Andrew.<BR>

The branch team of Andy Vernon, Stuart Hicks, Richard Antliff and Nigel Farebrother duly girded their loins and at the end of Round 1, were leading by 35 points to 31. The branch drew further away over the other two rounds, eventually winning by 96 points to 78. This victory means that the branch retains bragging rights and the trophy for a further year.<P>

For the second half of the evening, Gordon Adams (wearing an RTG hat rather than an RCTS one) gave his personal review of the Thames Valley in 2018.<BR>

The electrification infrastructure can cause problems to photographers, but Gordon managed to deal with them successfully, creating an interesting look back at the area's recent past.<P>

Many thanks to Andrew and Phil for the questions, and to Gordon for his presentation and, as for the RTG, well played and better luck next year when we come to visit.

Last updated: 6th April 2019

Clapham Junction Thursday 4th July
Observation at Clapham Junction Station

Banbury Tuesday 16th July
Observation at Banbury Station