Friday 1st March 2019
‘A G M & Members Evening'
The AGM 1 March was attended by 34 members and visitors who heard satisfactory reports from the Officers. Re-elected were Chairman and Sales Officer - Canon Rev Brian Arman, Secretary - Paul Udey, Treasurer - Stewart Jolly, Catering Officer and RO Reporter - Roger Newman and Committee- Andrew Davison, Tony Horstmann, David McCollum, Dale Robertson, and Reg Wood. Members presentation followed with slides by David McCollum 'LNER Wales and Wirral (part 3) looking mainly at LMS, Standard and then GW locomotives. Next was Bruce Parkin with 'A Footplateman's View'. Always with a camera in his bag, scenes were mainly around Bristol but a diesel in Holloway Street tunnel from the track was privileged. Digital presenters were firstly Dale Robertson with 'Little Trains of France' covering 60cm and 75cm railways in the north, secondly Stewart Jolly with 'Still Loco after all these Years', looking at diesel hauled scheduled services in the modern era and lastly Arthur Turner with 'Forty Years On' depicting in 1979 electric and steam on the main line and preserved railways including a magnificent signal gantry at Eastleigh. A great variety of subjects.
Friday 4th January 2019
‘From Hawksworth to Hellfire Swindon Works 1939-86’
Branch Chairman Brian Arman
4th January Society President Canon Rev Brian Arman paid his annual visit to his own branch continuing the GWR story 'From Hawksworth to the End of Steam, Swindon Works 1940-65'. Frederick Hawksworth did not like children, especially those who stole plums from the trees in his garden. Becoming CME in 1942 , he had to deal with wartime restrictions on rolling stock maintenance. Works support for the war effort came with manufacturing Bofars gun mounts, midget subs to attack the German Tirpitz, 1000lbs bomb cases, bomb detonators, about 1000 landing barges and tank tracks depicted with rare photographs. Ladies played an important role in manufacturing. 50 Dean goods were built for the WD in Europe and 75 Stanier 8F's remained in the UK. Construction continued with Modified Hall class, 8400, 9400 and 3400 panier's and the last of 171 Castles. The works saw prototype Gas Turbines 18000 and 18100 and in 1950 ten more Manors. The Test shop had many interesting visitors including 46413, 60845,71000, Bullied Merchant Navy as well as GWR classes County, Manor and King. Various Standard class built were 75xxx, 77xxx, 82xxx and 9F culminating in 92220 Evening Star. Even S&D 53806 made an appearance. Brian's amazing knowledge of the history of the works was appreciated by the audience of 56.
Friday 21st December 2018
Christmas Buffet & Quiz
21st December was the annual year end photographic examination. New Headmaster Paul Udey presided over a wide range of UK questions and topics. With OFSTED approval, top of the class of 38 students was Stewart Jolly with Andrew Davison a close second and third 'Prof'' Dale Robertson (a case of needs to try harder). Into detention went Brian Turner and Martin Frith scored nearest to the mystic number. All then enjoyed a hot/cold festive buffet provided by Terri Arman, plus tea/coffee/fruit juices and crackers accompanied by Michael Wyatt's 'After Eight Mints', and Jacky Newman's mince pies. Happy belated New Year.
Friday 7th December 2018
‘From Saltash Auto to HST’
7th December Terry Nicholls presented 'From Saltash Auto to HST'. Very much the story of a schoolboy in Plymouth who received a 1948 ABC. Before leaving school, he could work St Budeaux Signal Box and the local scene included 64xx on Saltash auto services. Images included 4940 on the St Erth-Kensington milk and the west country on a typical day. Starting work at £186 per annum male clerk rate his railway career started as clerk to the Millbay C&W Manager. Life was full of incidences such when someone put a detonator down the chimney of the office to make a loud bang when the fire was lit creating soot over everything. A pontoon was claimed to be that which was used by Brunel to construct the Royal Albert Bridge. Terry also went aloft the bridge wearing a red life jacket in case he fell off and had to be rescued from the water! In 1960 he moved to Laira and his camera was always ready in the shed office. His next move was to clerk to the Divisional Loco. Engineer, Bristol where the unusual included 46220 on St Philips Marsh, prototype diesels Falcon and, Lion. 92220 Evening Star departing Bath Green Park for Bournemouth on 8th September 1962, the last day of The Pines. Terry had been instrumental in arranging for 92220 to come from Cardiff for the last S&D working. In the 70s main line diesels arrived and Terry moved 1980 to Bristol Control in Bristol & Exeter House. Life was full of incidences, some potentially hazardous and he became the official photographer to cover derailments, many of which we saw. This led to creating a photo coverage of hazards for training purposes. 1984-97 life was in Swindon Control with a potentially serious bridge bash at Llanelli and Open Day at Bath Road. Closing with a headstone to his ancestor Harry Edwards who joined the railway in 1870, the audience of 68 had a factual and entertaining evening...
Friday 2nd November 2018
‘125 Group Preserving the HST’
Gary Heelas & Stuart MacLean of the 125 Group
2nd November Gary Heelas and John Tattersall from the 125 Group Preserving the HST spoke to an audience of 57 about their project. Started in 1994, membership is now 640. They explained the development of the HST with two power cars which included agreement with the Unions to having a central driving position. The Paxman 12RP200L 2500hp Valenta engine was chosen with 23m long Mk3 coaches. Sir Kenneth Grange designed the classic front end without buffers. 41001 is owned by the NRM. GEC not Brush traction motors. Specialist depots were set up and exports were licensed for construction in NSW. The World record for diesel traction of 148mph is held by a HST and the iconic design was used for marketing by Red Star and IC. They have no sanding equipment. Most Valenta engines have been replaced by MTU 16v4000, East Midland have changed to Paxman VP185. The work done on 41001 was explained in great detail including repainting at Neville Hill having been fitted with Cl.57 electronics and Cl.73 compressor. Three Mk 3 coaches have been purchased with the intention to buy more. A Mk 3 buffet provides income and accredited vehicle maintenance permits main line running. It is planned to acquire at least one power car and with loco hauled Mk 3 rather than HST Mk 3 coaches which will be converted to Valenta engines . An appeal has been launched for funding a depot. A technical subject well presented.
Friday 5th October 2018
‘Peter Gray’s Westcountry’
Peter’s close friend Amy as Crump
5th October, Peter Gray's friend Amyas Crump gave a presentation 'Peter Gray's West Country'. Born 1927, Peter aged 4 was developing a love for sea scouts. Born into a railway family, he started to keep notebooks with details of his life, the community i.e. 17/5/1945 blackout lifted, and railway observations. National Service 1946-48 took him to Egypt where, in spite of a shortage of film, we saw images included two Stanier 8F awaiting shipping back to the UK. He became a prolific B&W photographer and in 1957 his first colour slide was a boat. A tour of the west, mainly GWR lines, covered locations such as Princetown, Looe quay, Moorswater shed and 1959 D809, his first diesel photograph. A glimpse of a S&D 4F and Kilmersdon Colliery, many scenes on the Exe Valley line, Adams Radials at Lyme Regis, O2 at Callington, Buckfastleigh pre-preservation and Newton Abbott on 1960 Christmas Day morning.amongst many other locations. Some images were not of the standard we had been used to in Peter's own presentations, but it did give a glimpse of some of the locations Peter visited. He died 2nd October 2017 and it was fitting that Rev David Hardy, who conducted his funeral service, was in the audience as a Bristol Branch member.
Friday 7th September 2018
‘The Life of 7903 Foremark Hall’
John Cruxon, Locomotive Manage 7903 Ltd
7th September, John Cruxon, the son of an ex Bath Road driver told the story of 'The Life of 7903 Foremark Hall'. One of 71 Modified Halls built 1944 onwards, it covered 621,101 miles, almost entirely from Old Oak Common. Photographs of its working life included the Steventon derailment where in the aftermath not a single hi-viz vest could be seen. 18th August 1964 it moved to Barry where it was seen in various locations until being extracted 5th June 1981 to be taken to the Swindon Works Open Day prior to moving to the Swindon & Cricklade Railway for restoration to running condition., A major source of income were tombola’s with quality prizes obtained by cashing in Green Shield stamps. Restoration cost £155,000 but it was incredible how this was managed in the open air with a minimum of equipment. Its final steam test was 18th December 2003. A short video showed the steam test and rededication by pupils of Foremark Hall School. The Swindon & Cricklade Railway is too short for locomotives the size of 7903 so in 2004 it was moved to the Gloucester & Warwickshire where it has performed faultlessly. It hauled the train which re-opened the Chicken Curve and was visited by Martin Clunes for a secretive publicity event. Ten years on, overhaul commenced 2014, initially at Toddington but then at Tyseley. Final assembly was back at Toddington where it is in demand as the extension to Broadway has brought about a 50% increase in traffic. An interesting Q&A covering subjects as benefits of four row superheaters, and the Swindon test bed completed a fascinating evening.
Last updated: 28th April 2019