Meeting Reports

Monday 7th January 2019
'A Patriot Re-born'
Richard Sant

Our first meeting of 2019 was entitled “A Patriot Re-born”, which was expertly delivered by Richard Sant to a large gathering of Members and friends at Weston Favell on 7th January.

   Nearly complete newly built Patriot class locomotive 5551 to be named "The Unknown Warrier" at Crewe on 10th November 2018   A Laws/LMS Patriot Project
The presentation and Richard’s easy paced delivery took us through the story so far of what is clearly destined to be one of the most successful of “new build” projects. This was the view from the floor, with Richard not needing to push the point. The mixture of “old parts as well as new”, being obtained , donated or purchased , and including parts from LMS Jubilees and Royal Scot locos, as well as original Patriots, allied to the new options now available or required means that the new 5551 may well be a better locomotive than the old one!
The money involved and the care with which it has been spent was described. The difficulties inevitable with such a project were also detailed, and it certainly seems that, despite some of these causing delays to the revised timetable, completion should be possible for 5551 “THE UNKNOWN WARRIOR”, with the preserved “Edith Cavell” van, to re-create the November 1920 journey of the unknown British soldier to be interred in Westminster Abbey.

An excellent presentation of a subject worthy in more ways than one.

Monday 17th December 2018
Branch AGM and Christmas Evening

This Meeting was our AGM, to be followed by a Members evening.
Approximately 25 members were present for the AGM, and there was more discussion than has been the case in previous years.
Consequently, after we had worked our way through our traditional Christmas fare and collected Norman Dunkley’s also traditional cryptic list of hidden locomotive depots on our last Meeting before Christmas, there was hardly time for a Members Evening.
The thirty five minutes or so that were available were covered by a Tommy Tomalin quiz regarding, we think, closed stations near to the point where the old M&GN line crossed the old GNR mainline near Little Bytham, followed by various guesses, some serious, others not so, as to the whereabouts of “end on” junctions.
This was then followed a selection of transparencies left by our late Member, Brian Denny, showing parallel boiler Patriots around our shared stamping grounds near Duston West. This served as a “trailer” for our next meeting, on Monday, 7th January at Weston Favell starting at 2pm. A very small number of slides followed, showing just what we used to see when the “Sunday main was on” at Duston West in the days before modernisation showed its unwelcome head.
The clock then beat us all!

Monday 10th December 2018
'The Hope Valley Line'
Stephen Gay

On Monday 10th December we welcomed back to our Wellingborough Museum Meeting Stephen Gay from Sheffield, who provided us with a “blow by blow” account of the Hope Valley Line, from its effective start at Dore & Totley, as far as the western end of Cowburn tunnel, after which the line reached Chinley Junction.
Stephen’s presentation, backed up in equal measures by a selection of his own high quality slides, his concise descriptions of the views and his faithful assistant, “Wragby”, his German Shepherd dog, who is unfortunately no longer with us and clearly sadly missed. We were left almost “knowing” the route as well as Stephen.
The Hope Valley line has in recent years suffered some rationalisation, but is substantially intact. A true photographer, prepared to venture out in, literally, all weathers, at any time of the day or night, so as to catch the mood of the scenery, Stephen presented snow, sun, fog, mist, and rain in almost equal measure, many of his shots clearly showing that a great deal of thought was involved. Some shots included his assistant, who also clearly understood when to be behind the camera!
Interludes showing the remains of trackwork from the years of building the reservoirs of the areas, and of the now unused workings of the Blue Circle Cement works at Hope were very welcome.
His final shot looking into the maw of Cowburn Tunnel, showing the 700 feet of ground above the tunnel was a highlight in both senses.
This was another Meeting where a mass slides of the local WCML was not missed, welcome as they often are.

The presentation had excellent support, and a future similar one will “HOPE fully” attract an even higher attendance. We look forward to a further visit from Stephen and his camera and brilliant comment.

Friday 7th December 2018
'Quiz versus Kettering &District Locomotive Society (away)

Monday 3rd December 2018
'Funeral Trains - the Untold Story'
Nicholas Wheatley

Nicholas Wheatley came to our joint Meeting with RCTS Milton Keynes branch, held at Roade village hall on 3rd December. His subject was “Funeral Trains – the untold story”. This could be seen as a rather ghoulish subject, but it soon became evident that our Speaker had tasked himself, as a self-described non railway enthusiast in the accepted sense, with a subject having a wide open field for both himself and his audience.
He told us how it was the arrival of the railways that facilitated people to be interred further away from their birthplace than had previously been the case. This situation eventually led to inner-city expansion and required the use of the railway for the removal of persons long passed on to be transported elsewhere, and at the same time, required larger burial sites to be provided, outside of London in particular. This led to the creation of the Necropolis Railway, which had its own direct line in from the LSWR main line, serving the new Brookwood Cemetery. There was also a similar new Cemetery in North London, but this one was served by sidings only, unlike the Necropolis. The funerals of various public figures were also described in railway operating terms.
His research is in support of a book which he is writing for future publication, which we await with interest.
As a venerable Member said afterwards, it was a “dead interesting” meeting”, and so it was. This was an out of the ordinary subject, and although Nicholas was impressed with the attendance, it truly deserved better, as do many Meetings.

Monday 19th November 2018
'“The Ashes” Quiz versus LCGB Bedford'

Our Meeting on 19th November welcomed our friends from The LCGB, Bedford branch for our regular Quiz, thanks, as usual to the efforts of Bryan Benford, without whom there would be no Quiz.
As usual Bryan had prepared more than enough transparencies, mostly of steam locomotives in their normal, and perhaps less normal, habitats, each of which produced a question (worth 2 points for the receiving team, or, in the case of a wrong answer, a very welcome bonus of 1 point should the opposition come up with the right answer.
It sounds simple, but all had to keep their ears and eyes open for all questions, in case a bonus point became available, and their answers discreetly quiet until everyone in the team was ready to announce their answer. Sometimes each team would have a simple answer to give if the question “fell right”; at other questions they might be so far away from their comfort, that mutterings of “haven’t got a clue” could be heard. Example questions, such as a loco with a Z in its name, seemed easy until the question asked was “name an engine with 2 Zs in its name”. The Bedford boys who only knew Jubilees, until the Royal Scots, Patriots and Britannias arrived on the Midland, lashed home 2 points with “Zanzibar”, which would equally have suited the home team who would have seen 45638 more than a few times on the West Coast. Another question referred to locomotives 34110, 35030, 72009 and 60162. The anticipated question failed to arrive, but when delivered was “which of these 4 was last to enter service”. Each number could be heard being bandied about, but eventually had to be swept up for a bonus point, helpfully after the elimination of one of the possibilities. Readers might like to work this one out themselves………
A wonderful afternoon was had by all, even by those who were happy to just watch the procession of random slides hitting the screen. The protagonists were equally agonised by some of the unexpected questions, but all were united in their thanks to Bryan for the obvious effort he as (always) puts into his subjects and his questions.
Where else could you spot an immaculate Pacific fresh off Doncaster works, followed by a GWR 51XX tank engine, which needed someone to know “what’s different about this one?” In the end, the home team crept home by a point, or was it two!

Bryan, please do it all again for us.

Monday 5th November 2018
'Disused Stations'
Alan Young

RCTS Member Alan Young came to Weston Favell on 5th November to highlight the RCTS "Disused Stations" website, which he "looks after".
He took us on a tour of the site, during which he highlighted a large number of disused stations and outlined the methods used to provide as much concise detail as humanly possible. These included the use of OS maps, as well as hand-drawn maps, with area and route maps. Timetables are also routinely used to check dates of opening and closure, where such data may be in doubt. Stations large and small, old and not so old, as well as those which never actually opened as per plan, and even some that closed but have now been re-opened.

   The station at Oundle in Northamptonshire on the Northampton and Peterborough line was built in 1845 to a design by J.W.Livock in a Jacobean style. The line was closed to passenger traffic in May 1964 but continued to be used by Oundle School for special railway trip. It finally closed in 1972.   Alan Young
The difficulty of getting a description to cover the station in question does not get in the way of providing information, nor does the country involved within the British Isles.
This report does not mention locomotives, nor any of the hundreds of stations that can be visited on the website, but we can leave that to a "visit".
Alan presented a possibly "dry" subject that certainly is not, in a lucid manner that will have many of us renewing or making a new acquaintance with the site.

Afterwards there was a little chat, concerning where else there might be 3 successive stations, all of which were relocated for improved operational reasons more than a few years ago. This refers to Roade, Blisworth and Weedon, Northamptonshire.

Monday 22nd October 2018
'UK Railways in the 21st Century'
David Smith

David Smith visited us again on Monday 22nd October, showing a vast number of transparencies covering his title “UK Railways in the 21st Century”.
He split the slides into various categories which inevitably blended together occasionally. It would be easier to write of what he did not show, but the fact is that it would be very difficult to think of an omission. Every angle of the BR corporate livery that survived into the current century was covered, and although it is not necessary to list all of these, nor many a livery that has, due to privatisation, arrived and departed during the century to date, he almost did!
David “owned up” to the fact that an odd one or two of the pictures did just pre-date the new century starting on 1/1/2001. However, the sheer number of liveries, rolling stock, stations, goods depots, traction depots, servicing facilities and track layouts that are no longer with us today were amply covered, and the old saying about “history starts now” was never more amply illustrated.
One or two slides deserving of special mention for their novelty value. A BR Class 87, still in its corporate blue livery was found operating in Bulgaria during May 2010, still identified as 87004 “Britannia” was a pleasant surprise, as was a Class 66 in BR large logo blue – retro of the highest order.
Bin trains, and a nuclear flask train with 4 times as many locos as wagons, plus railtours, including the odd steam loco, were also covered.

   47782 departs Dawlish station with a failed HST set 43026 which it dragged from Castle Cary - Plymouth on 28/6/03....   Dave Smith
David showed us that, despite the often heard “there’s no variety today”, the truth is actually the opposite. There is probably as much variety today as there ever was; the absence of steam traction being the main problem – something we really must learn to live with.
Finally, your reviewer was glad that our visiting 21st century observer was heard to bemoan that the “overhead going up all over the place” was making life more difficult. I was immediately taken back to when those of us recording Northampton in the late 1950s and early 1960s had the same legitimate grouse!

Brilliant presentation, we look forward to the next visit.

Monday 8th October 2018
'Flying Scotsman - Steam, Sweat and Tears'
Mike Corbett

Mike Corbett visited the Branch to enlighten 24 members and friends on the subject of the recent history of 4472 “Flying Scotsman”, under the title of “Blood, Sweat and Tears”.This proved to be a very apt title as Mike took us through the numerous hoops, some large, and some not so large.
He set the scene with a quote that went ....”in railway preservation, all takes longer than planned, and when you are 75% completed, you still have three quarters to do”. Needless to say, the problems met, were resolved with flying colours, but, the intricacies of dealing with the red tape which, as we all know, has increased over the years despite our being led to believe otherwise.
The major contractor appointed was Riley and Son (E) Ltd. of Bury with 15 further stakeholders. This truly was a blow by blow account of all the problem solving methods, and whatever problems we may have heard of from the multiplicity of groups or organisations involved, in keeping their individual preserved stock in proper condition. They were all encountered in one fell swoop by the persons briefed to put 4472 back on the road.

   Rebuilt Flying Scotsman 4472 outside Riley and Son (E) Ltd. at Bury ready for commissioning trials in November 2016   Mike Corbett
Your reviewer was not alone in the admiration we must all feel for those who solved, and will need continue to solve these problems, even if our hopes for the future can sometimes be a little despondent.
Mike truly had the story under control, and there was no sign of rancour or mud-slinging, although I felt that the NRM version of “serviceable” matched that which may have been the BR Running Shed foreman’s 1960s version, rather than that of the 21st Century Health and Safety community.

This was definitely a presentation that all who have waited and then complained about a “special” that failed to arrive, or just failed, should listen to.

Monday 24th September 2018
'The Railways of Northamptonshire Part 4 – Developments around Northampton'
Robin Cullup

As has been the norm in recent years we commenced our indoor meeting programme with Robin Cullup’s wonderful continuation of the late Ian Lyman’s series of “The Railways of Northamptonshire Part 4 Developments around Northampton”.

   Train in Market Harborough station hauled by a Midland 2-2-2 on a snowy day in 1860. Picture painted by F.J.Scott  
Around 1850 large deposits of ironstone were found in the “Shire and the LNWR together with the Midland Railway were keen to exploit this by building a line south from Market Harborough to Northampton Bridge Street (Castle was then a minor station). When the line opened there were only 3 intermediate stations, subsequently others were opened but all were closed by 1960. After some year the line was re-opened to through traffic with final closure coming in 1981. Part of the former trackbed is now part of the linear park and the home of the preserved Northampton and Lamport Railway.
The Midand Railway ventured into Northampton in 1872 from Bedford and into a purpose built station of their own at St. John’s Street. This station was closed in 1939 as part of an LMS cost-cutting exercise which diverted trains into nearby Castle Station although the stations on the line remained extant. A useful cross country route during wartime but by the 1960s passengers were in decline and despite the introduction of diesel rail-buses the 3 stations were closed in 1962 passengers and freight ceased in1964. Traffic continued to the MOD depot at Yardley Chase until the early eighties.
The Northampton Loop was built in 1882 to incorporate developments at Northampton and is a deviation of some 23 miles from Hillmorton Junction (Rugby) to re-joining the WCML at Roade. The 6 intervening stations are all now closed with the exception of Long Buckby and Northampton.
Weedon – Leamington Spa (Avenue) line (Marton Junction) was a rural branch line built with economy in mind and single track throughout, being built in two phases 1888 and 1895 and closed in 1958. Some motor services on this line actually ran to terminate at Northampton Castle by reversing at Blisworth.

Saturday 22nd September 2018
'Visit to Basford Hall, Crewe'

Saturday morning 22nd September 2018 saw Branch members eagerly gathering at Northampton station for a previously postponed visit to the Freightliner, at Basford Hall, Crewe.

   General view looking towards the small Freightliner maintenance depot. Class 66,86 and 90s in view. 86229 on the left, moved from Long Marston since last year but doubtful if in working order.   Brian Sullivan
During the purchase of rail tickets we were informed of bad news “No northbound trains due to an incident” and then almost in the same breath good news, “You can travel south to Milton Keynes and use Virgin Trains”. This we did and arrived at Crewe some forty minutes earlier than we had anticipated, in fact just in time to comfortably see “Flying Scotsman” depart on a special to Holyhead. 60103 was due to depart just ahead of our original arrival time, it’s an ill wind…..etc.!
We then walked to the Freightliner Depot buildings to be joined by many, who were also enjoying a visit! We were conducted around the small maintenance facility and extensive yards by an extremely knowledgeable Freightliner employee.

Saturday 11th August 2018
Visit to the Ecclesbourne Valley Railway, Wirksworth

Great disappointment greeted the news of the intended ‘Derby Blockade’ as it coincided with our visit to the Ecclesbourne Valley Railway by train to Duffield. However, where there is a will there is a way, and with great ingenuity our organisers found a way around the problem to avoid a ‘bus trip’ albeit with three changes of train on the outward journey and four on the return, not a problem to rail enthusiasts of our calibre! Of the 9 mile long railway, the branch was built in 1867 by the North Midland later the MR out of rivalry with the LNWR. The presence of the line in the area was ideal for the development of the Limestone industry in and around Wirksworth.

   Ecclesbourne Valley Railway ex-BR 73210 diesel-electric locomotive at Wirksworth heading a train to Duffield on 11th August 2018   Jack Knights
   Ecclesbourne Valley Railway ex-BR 33103 diesel locomotive in depot sidings at Wirksworth on 11th August 2018   Jack Knights
Our visit coincided with a ‘Diesel Gala Day’, on arrival at Duffield we changed to the EVR and were confronted by a most odd combination of train which consisted of a 3 car DMU, Class 73 (73210) and a Class 33 (33103). At Wirksworth we were given an excellent tour of the yard and Depot which helped make a splendid day.

Sunday 29th July 2018
Visit to the Ise Valley Railway, Finedon

On Sunday, 29th July, a limited number of Northampton Branch members were invited to visit the 7” gauge, privately owned, Ise valley Railway at the home of one of the branch members.
The week and days prior was spent worrying whether it would be a steam or a diesel day after a spell of particularly hot dry weather. In the event our worries were unfounded, for on the morning of the 29th the heavens opened!

   7 inch guage train hauled by loco No.5 Cobber on the Ise Valley Line.   David Pick
Fortunately, by lunchtime the weather had cleared enough and, after a short safety briefing, operations were able to go ahead as timetabled. Everyone travelled the length of the line as a passenger, before being served tea and cake at the conservatory.
   7 inch guage model of GWR Express Parcels Van W34W for the Ise Valley Line.   David Pick
After tea, a demonstration freight train was operated as well as the new addition to the fleet the GWR parcel railcar (W34W).
The final ride (of an afternoon which all too quickly came to a close) was a ‘Track-bashers’ special which covered all the sidings and deviations!

A wonderful afternoon enjoyed by all who participated, not forgetting the five helpers, without whom, the railway could not be operated so efficiently.

Saturday 30th June 2018
Guided tour of London Underground stations of interest by Brian Boddy

Following on from the highly enjoyable trip to London in the summer of 2017, a follow up tour under the guidance of Brian Boddy and friends took place on Saturday 30th June 2018.
The current spell of hot weather was even then under way and 13 members and friends left Northampton and Milton Keynes wondering if "the tube" was going to be stiflingly hot. Luckily it was relatively cool, as well as less than "ragingly busy", probably due to Londoners keeping above ground to enjoy their weekend.

   Wapping Underground Station murals   Haydon Davies
Our group gathered with our guides at Euston at 10am. and headed underground, where we were treated to many examples of surviving and restored items of the underground system. Old, covered and probably forgotten signage has been brought back to life, and is as useful as it ever was. Most non-Londoners, would, I suppose, probably sleepwalk through the system, not even caring or noticing what they could see, thinking only of getting to their destination, be it a seaside-aiming Waterloo station, a business meeting or the next "shed". This is a mistake I own up to, but our trips of 2017 and 2018 changed a few attitudes.
Our call at the ground level Barons Court station, from where we ventured outside to see a time capsule comparison of 2018 with 1910, differing only between dress and traffic styles.
   The original North London Railway Highbury Station   Hayden Davies
Our itinerary included bus, walk and the aerial journey over the Thames, and ended with a final rail trip from Stratford into Liverpool Street behind Class 90 90001, which was heard to be described as a "real train".

We look forward to a third trip doing something we ought to have done long ago - thanks to Brian and company for waking us up.

Monday 14th May 2018
Visit to The Post Office Railway

As a small boy interested in railways, I remember reading about the London Post Office Railway in a book entitled “Great Railway Wonders of the World”, although I did not ever think that it would ever be my privilege to see it and travel on it!
However, on Monday, 14th May together with fourteen members of the Branch I was able to do just that!

   Royal Mail 2ft. gauge underground train at Mount Pleasant station on 14th May 2018   Ron Hart
Now opened to the public as a tourist attraction, the 2ft. narrow gauge railway, conceived as an idea in 1911 and completed in 1923, the 6.5 mile long line with eight stations at the various letter sorting offices, (Mount Pleasant being the largest) from Whitechapel in the east to Paddington in the west and conveyed 4 million letters a day at its peak under London’s streets.
The railway was mothballed in 2003, but redeveloped as an attraction and opened in 2017. With a journey time of about 15 minutes, what a pity that the preservation line does not go the whole way through to Paddington. That would really be something for the enthusiasts!

The Postal Museum itself disappointed.

Monday 23rd April 2018
Under Southern Skies
Steve Armitage

Steve Armitage made a further visit to Weston Favell on 23rd April. On this occasion his presentation, entitled "Under Southern Skies, was predominantly Southern steam, during the pre-grouping period, the Southern Railway during the big 4 period and the British Railways period from 1948. Needless to say, the audience, many of whom were probably as "green" regarding the period covered as Steve modestly, but quite unfairly claimed as a mere northener.

   Southern Railway King Arthur Class 4-6-0 739 'King Leodegrance' passing Winchester Station on 17th February 1938   Steve Armitage
That Steve presented a true masterclass on locomotives, trains and locations to be found mostly south of the Thames is an understatement. Just a few of the gems were Billinton B4 number 49, "Gladstone" being presented by the SLS for preservation in 1927, a multitude livery variations to be found following the Grouping and later, Nationalisation, as well as a few imports from north of the river, such as Ivatt 2-6-2s from the London Midland Region.
The content was wide ranging, and it would be easy to overlook the time, effort and skill that he has spent in "rescuing" the many negatives, prints and slides that he has acquired/been bequeathed or saved from destruction.

Two magnificent efforts were on show, and it is hoped that Steve will be back again in early course.

Monday 9th April 2018
Members’ Afternoon

This was a Members afternoon, and four local members presented a diverse selection of railway interests from the world of railways.

Chris Clayson produced 13 colour transparencies from the late 1930s, which had been en route to probable oblivion when rescued, before reaching the depths of a jumble sale at which 50 pence would have been a good sale.

   Southern Railway (LB&SC) B2X 4-4-0 204 built by R.J.Billington in 1895 at Victoria Station in 1937  
The mainly Southern Railway images, malachite 4-4-2, Arthurs and M7s were together with North British Atlantic, 9875 and a post-war B1, both in LNER green. A low point was Patriot rebuild 45531 in the unfortunate Apple Green of 1948.

   Rawalpindi Crane Travelling Steam No 2107 at Malakwal PR shed. Behind the crane is an elderly British built 4-4-0.   David Scudamore
David Scudamore followed with a worldwide selection of visits showing 2-10-2s, 2-8-4s, 0-4-4s, Pacifics, Rack locos, USA "Big Boys", cab-forwards, and almost countless others from Patagonia upwards to Canada, throughout Europe, then to Africa and Asia. I may have omitted a few, but David didn't! His presentation truly matched his title. "All around the world" it truly was. If railways were on the moon, he would probably have "been".

   BR standard Class 4MT 4-6-0 75052 near Castlethorpe Station heading 1728 Bletchley to Northampton having just picked up water   T.Tomalin
Tommy Tomalin went a little less distance, covering with his trusty camera, the line from Newport Pagnell via Linford and Bradwell to Wolverton, with a foray down the Premier Line almost to Roade. 2-6-2Ts, and push-pull trains led onto freight and passenger trains plying the main line with some emphasis on Castlethorpe troughs. Tommy, even in 1960s, managed to record the railway as it then was, which hindsight tells us was better than those of us who thought the idea was merely to record the scene as we remembered from earlier days, before D210 arrived.

   A montage of diesel locomotive colours on UK railways   Keith Stkes
Keith Sykes called his presentation "only the colours change", and proceeded to show the ever increasing pace of livery changes that followed on, for good or ill, from the corporate Rail Blue. His images of a Cl 47 in Petroleum Sector, many other 47s in such as Scotrail, RES, Railfreight grey/red, large logo blue, small logo blue, plus more, supplanted by a Cl 158 in Regional Railways livery, and various other locos or units in Inter City colours showed us much of what is slowly, but surely receding into the distance. Keith then showed a number of images from the RCTS archive, of transparencies covering from pre-war through Nationalisation and beyond.

All in all, a good time was had by all, and the presenters proved yet again just how soon today becomes yesterday!

Monday 26th March 2018
Recent Photography in the Digital Era
Robin Patrick

The first of the two Branches 2018 joint meetings was held on 26th March when former Northampton Society member Robin Patrick from York gave a presentation of his digital images taken in 2017 which ranged from his home area to activities on the NYMR where he is a P.Way volunteer, to overseas visits to South Africa and Sweden.

   Roade Signal Box photographed by Robin Patrick on 12th September 1964   Robin Patrick
Like a lot of enthusiasts Robin relies a lot on RTT to keep track of the subjects he wants to photograph ranging from freights to test trains, not forgetting all the steam hauled trains that head for York plus other destinations.
We were shown a wide range of freight services from remaining coal to biomass with steel, oil and modal examples, mostly hauled by Class 66s, but with odd appearances by 68s on diversion from the WCML. Other diesel classes appeared with RHTT still using Class 20s but with 37s and an occasional Class 68 being used.
Special trains also brought in surprises such as Class 33s along with the usual Class 47s, but steam specials showed up with a surprising variety of motive power from Tornado and Flying Scotsman to Duchesses and Jubilees, one of which looked very strange in black livery, to Black 5s and Southern being represented by a Merchant Navy and a King Arthur.
We were also reminded of changes with the last views of Grand Central HSTs, now a distant memory having since been replaced by Class 180s and sights VTEC Class 91 hauled trains, plus HSTs soon to be replaced by Class 800 sets.

All in all a very good comprehensive show of a year before a lot of changes occur.

Monday 19th March 2018
The Somerset and Dorset Joint Railway
John Day

John Day’s presentation of “The Somerset and Dorset Railway” brought out a large audience for the afternoon meeting at Weston Favell on 19th March, and they certainly were not disappointed as John proceeded to show through the kind courtesy of John Chalcroft many of the classic photographs of the line taken by the late Ivo Peters and Hugh Ballantyne.
John commenced with a brief but well known “potted history” of the line before we launched into the spectacular photography. Of course, other photographers were shown as the line was covered in its entirety from and from nearly every vantage point.

   BR standard Class 9F 92220 "Evening Star" 2-10-0 at Teplecombe Lower on the Somerset & Dorset Joint Railway heading an excursion train frem Manchester to Bournemouth. The loco was from Stockport Edgeley depot (9B).   John Chalcroft

All the 65 locomotives allocated to cover the line and its duties line, to cover and its duties appeared, together with innumerable visiting locomotives, covering the summer special holiday trains of the period.
Despite the many holiday specials coming from North Midland and Northern destinations not one Eastern Region engine was seen throughout the afternoon!

John has put together a wonderful selection of classic railway photographs of the S&D by two of the best photographers.

Monday 5th March 2018
A Patriot Re-born
Richard Sant

This meeting was postponed

Monday 26th February 2018
Marylebone Out and Back
Ken Grainger

The 26th February meeting brought about one of our twice yearly visits held to the Wellingborough Museum. A large audience greeted Ken Grainger for his presentation of “Marylebone out and back”. Definitely not a tale of two halves but more of two routes to Grendon Underwood Junction. Out by the Great Western and Great Central Joint and back via the Great Central and Metropolitan Joint.
The opening sequences showed the splendid frontage of Marylebone and, of course, the wonderful opulence of the bar area with its fine panelling, which is still extant today.

   LNER Class B3 (GC Class 9P) 4-6-0 1494 "Lord Faringdon" passing Rickmansworth Station with Marylebone to Sheffield express on 20th August 1937   Ken Grainger
The rise and fall of the station was shown with resplendent GC locomotives and in BR days when the station was deemed important enough to host the new suggested liveries for the BR fleet of locomotives and the coaching stock, together with arrivals of mainline trains such as “ The Master Cutler” and “The South Yorkshireman”. Decline was epitomised by a filthy Class 5 and an almost deserted station (1963).
Then and now pictures (in BR days) of Neasden MPD clearly showed the differing standards of locomotive cleanliness in the different eras. We were then treated to a selection of then and now pictures of locomotives working the line, the most intriguing of which was the Midland Pullman traversing the GW route to Birmingham Snow Hill during its layover period at St. Pancras.
All too soon the junction at Grendon Underwood was reached and it was becoming near to time to retrace our steps via the GC and Metropolitan lines.
   Two London Metropolitan electric locomotives in a siding at Aylesbury. These were built by Metropolitan-Vickers in 1922-3 and were used to haul passenger trains from Baker Street underground station to Aylesbury. At peak hours they started at Liverpool Street underground station. None of these locos are still in service.   Ken Grainger
At Aylesbury there was a two road engine shed, jointly owned by the GW, GC and Metropolitan Railway. On the way back we were shown Metro stock trains bound for Baker Street together with several of the Metro-Vickers electric units (built in 1922/3 ). A Class C13 on 1927 “T” stock made a fine sight as well as did several Jubilees. At Wendover the unusual GT3 (allegedly built on a Class 5 chassis) had been photographed.

All too soon, as in the first session, we were returned to Marylebone after a wonderful afternoon of nostalgia.

Monday 19th February 2018
1960’s East Midlands Steam Miscellany
Michael Clemens

A large audience greeted Michael Clemens “ East Midlands Steam Miscellany” at Weston Favell on the 19th February.
We were treated to a to a wonderful afternoon tour, that covered more than 80 stations and junctions and their operations, located in an area from Kings Cross and Marylebone in the south to Nottingham in the north and Peterborough and Banbury in the east and west respectively. We heard how as a five year old, Michael first travelled with father Jim and from there his passion for railways began. Over the years Michael grew from being a mere seat saver for father and travelling companion, to being an assistant to Jim and in charge of the movie camera, whilst father photographed the railway scenes with the conventional camera.

   British Rail Black Five 4-6-0 45253 at Market Harborough station with a train from Norrthampton on 5th August 1960   Michael Clemens

Jim Clemens was a prolific photographer and we are grateful that he was, for much of the infrastructure of the railway at that time no longer exists today.
Father and son travelled extensively in the fifties and sixties capturing steam in its environment.
They left no stone unturned in their quest, including covering the ironstone railways operations at Byfield, Cranford, Nassington and Storefield. Is it a sign that our audiences are getting younger or more forgetful, which? An image of Daventry station (1888 to 1958) was shown, but no one recognised it as such, not even our old stalwarts!

Monday 5th February 2018
Engine Sheds Part 10 – Ryde (IOW) to Stoke on Trent
Chris Banks

It is with sincere regret that the Branch reports the passing of Barry Freeman (9th August 1937 to 24th November 2017). Aged 80, Barry was a regular attendee at Northampton Branch meetings until overtaken by illness and in fact made a presentation to the Branch on "Railway Art". He was well known both locally and nationally for his meticulously detailed railway paintings, many of which became the subject of 1,000 piece jigsaws. His eye for detail on locomotive classes made him a keen contributor to our meetings. His brilliant painting on behalf of and at the request of the preservers of 46203 and 46233 on the up main line at Roade, was "word perfect", if slightly unlikely in terms of any particular happening.

Our Branch meeting on 5th February was Chris Bank's 10th presentation of his series on A to Z of locomotive sheds. Chris mentioned in his preamble that he had now gathered sufficient material for at least a 13th "edition", but that he would probably refer to it as 12A, inciting murmers of "Kingmoor", with the odd "Upperby " from those of us "going back" a little further. Either way, it was his usual quality presentation, covering sheds from Ryde to Stoke.

   Stockport Edgeley locomotive shed (9B). Photo taken by Chris Banks on 19th June 1960   Chris Banks
Notable scenes were many, but of particular note to this reviewer were two "Coronation" pacifics, at the time of the photographs, not unusually resting on Stirling shed midway through turns on the 1960s car-sleeper train to Stirling.
LNWR 0-8-0 49141 in ex-works condition at Stockport Edgeley shed, was another. Super Ds amongst the GWR locos at Shrewsbury also produced a few (unbiased) murmurs. Note that the Western Region 2-8-0 4705 resting from its night labours at home at Southall, reflects the lack of regional bias...........

Monday 22nd January 2018
Herbert Nigel Gresley the Engineer and his achievements
Chris Nettleton

   Sir Nigel Gresley statue on Kings Cross Station concourse unvieled on 5th April 2016, the 75th anniversery of his death   Gresley Society
Our afternoon meeting at Weston Favell on 22nd January was presented by Chris Nettleton. 50 or more Members and friends were given a blow by blow account of the achievements of "Nigel Gresley the Engineer".
The title did not mean that his personal life had to be ignored. He was variously referred to, depending on his relationship as Herbert, Nigel/Nige, and it soon became clear that he was destined to do well in the career in which he travelled.
His successes were well documented and although we cannot record them all here, the wonderful A1/A3/V2 and the later A4 cannot be missed from the roll of honour.
   LNER Class V2 2-6-2 4826 (renumered 60855) at York   Gresley Society
His career path, which included time under F. W. Webb at Crewe and as Running Shed Foreman at Blackpool, led eventually to the Great Northern. What followed is now hallowed history, but his private life, which was described respectfully by Chris, was not so different to many other private lives. It was a pleasure to hear of his marriage and family life, and it was sad that the name Gresley did not follow through from his children.

An absorbing afternoon, and, like many, a fine presentation, and one that could be listened to again and again.

last updated: 10/01/19