Meeting Reports

Wednesday 20th February 2019
Railways of Hampshire
Steve Bigley

Steve Bigley gave us a presentation on Hampshire railways on 20th February. Those who know Steve will expect the unusual and we were not disappointed. In Hedge End there is an estate where the road names commemorate railways. Steve had photos of many road signs, Terrier Close and Peppercorn Way being two. Unfortunately someone in authority hadn't consulted their ABC as the road sign for Billington Gardens included an unnecessary G. Network Rail's notices on bridges generally gave distances in miles and chains (or even half chains) but one Steve showed was in yards. The notice on Campbell Road bridge in Eastleigh referred to 'Locomotive Works', maybe Network Rail know something we don't!
Starting at Eastleigh, Steve worked clockwise round the area covering photos from the 1960s up to early 2019. We saw stations, viaducts (not many in Hampshire) and signal boxes, as well as seemingly unusual train movements. Freightliner trains from the Romsey direction running wrong line at Redbridge in order to access Maritime sidings.
Steve ventured off the national network to visit the writer's local railway, the Hythe Pier Railway and then headed to Fawley to see the last ever passenger trains to visit Fawley Station before access was blocked.

With constructive comments from the audience, this was an informative and interesting evening and we thank Steve for his presentation.

Wednesday 16th January 2019
Trams and trains in East Germany - 1988
Martin Petch

To start the New Year Martin Petch presented slides of a holiday he took in East Germany in 1988. This was before the collapse of The Wall and showed the state of the country in Communist days. Martin and friend visited many of the narrow gauge railways as well as several tram systems.
On the Baltic coast we visited the Isle of Rugen where 0-8-0 well tanks were on passenger trains and the better known Molli, a line featuring street running in Bad Doberan. Inevitably Martin photographed several trains in the town centre.
A pause in Dresden produced trams, often near vintage motor+trailer sets. Sometimes the background revealed war damaged buildings still awaiting restoration. Nearby, we visited the Radeburg line with 2-10-2 tanks and commuter services, then Cranzahl and Zittau.
Continuing south we reached the Harz where we found Mallet 0-4-4-0 tanks working alongside the massive 2-10-2 tanks. Freight on transporter frames was still handled, but, being a tourist, Martin was forbidden from heading towards the Brocken.
Slides showed vast numbers of walkers alighting at some stations. In some places Martin had to be careful with his camera as the railway ran close to the West German border.
We were also shown scenes in some of the towns where Martin stayed. A feature too often was of dilapidated buildings in need of TLC. Memo to scribe - do I renew my passport and visit some of these lines?

Wednesday 19th December 2018
Christmas Film Evening
Dave Doulton

Our annual Christmas film evening produced two films.
The first showed railways around the Gosport area. It largely compared scenes of an operating railway, with recent scenes. In some instances on the Stokes Bay branch obvious railway bridges were now being used for footpaths. This film would have been better had there been a commentary.
The second film covered heritage railways in 2006 along with limited steam on the main line. Mostly gala and one off events were covered, ranging from the North York Moors to the Bodmin and Wenford via Bluebell and West Somerset amongst others. Somehow or other King Edward i seemed to appear with monotonous regularity!

Wednesday 21st November 2018
Steam and Survivors
Tony Storey

Tony Storey opened his November presentation with mainly black and white photographs from the 1960s. Concentrating on our home patch we found M7s, pacifics and standard tanks on the Ringwood line towards the end of its life.
The later main line through New Milton featured many locations, footbridges and minor road bridges, gave unobstructed views of expresses and local services.
After the interval Tony turned to the survivors, largely seen on the heritage railways. Selecting just pacifics and tank locos we visited the Mid Hants and Swanage Railways amongst others. We were reminded that unconventional liveries sometimes adorned the locos, the Americanised USA tank on the Worth Valley in the 1970s being an example.

A nostalgic evening.

Wednesday 17th October 2018
Terence Cuneo
Chris Wheeler

We thought we knew a lot about Terence Cuneo, the well known artist, but by the end of the October meeting we know a lot more. Chris Wheeler of the Cuneo Society provided a brief history of the artist and some of his work. Terence completed his first oil painting at the age of 11, but time passed before he only worked in oil. In the 1930s he completed illustrations for books. During the war he became a war artist with illustrations for magazines.

Commissions followed including one of the Coronation in 1953. As this involved known individuals and theIr attire on the day, these people visited Terence's studio for sketches to be completed. This was a policy adopted whenever he painted identifiable people.

On the railway front, one of first commissions was of Dolgoch Station, no doubt remembered by members as a poster. Another poster was Clapham Junction, something that involved time up a gantry doing sketches. We saw some of the initial sketches, the final sketch and the final painting, all on the screen, not the actual work!
One of his largest paintings was Waterloo Stat├Čon. Working on what is now the balcony, he needed scaffolding and ladders to complete the work.

We were shown illustrations of a wide range of his work. And the mouse? Whilst working on the Coronation painting in 1953, his cat wandered into the studio carrying a mouse as a gift. Thereafter, Terence included a mouse somewhere in the painting, and has had us hunting for it ever since!

Our thanks to Chris for an informative and different evening.

Wednesday 19th September 2018
CrossRail stations
Mervyn Dunwoody, Construction Director

Our first meeting of the season was on the topical subject of Crossrail. Only when dates were being mentioned by our speaker, Mervyn Dunwoody, did we appreciate how long the project has been on the go. Seven years were needed before Parliamentary Powers were given. A further three years passed before objections were resolved.
Access points in central London were limited and only the minimum area required used. This involved the access to tunnels and construction of stations. Once everything underground was completed, developers were keen to start work on new buildings over stations.
Spoil from tunnels could not come to the surface in the central area and was duly taken by rail and ship from West London to provide our feathered friends with a new reserve in Essex.
Discussion turned to the delay in the opening of the line, something only formally advised a few days earlier. Our speaker's stated view was that extra time was desirable to ensure there were no problems when the line is opened. With the problems associated with the May timetable change, he felt any minor hiccup would be a disaster. He thought May could see the first trains running.

A personal thought from your reporter. A very interesting subject and well explained, but why did it attract so few members?

Wednesday 16th May 2018
Southern lines in Devon and Cornwall
Mike Pym

Mike Pym opened his presentation on the Southern in Devon and Cornwall by reminding us that the LSWR acquired the Bodmin and Wadebridge Railway some 50 years before that railway was connected to the rest of the LSWR. Mike explained how the railway had extended west, initially to Exeter and later to Plymouth and the North county ports. His slides showed stations and trains throughout the area. The small stations often had sidings for milk traffic, the tanks being worked overnight to Vauxhall. The remote termini usually included a small loco shed, often photographed with a resident loco. Major structures shown included Meldon Viaduct and the Barnstaple Viaduct, both seemingly fragile structures.

Our thanks to Mike for reminding us that there was more to the Southern than the Home Counties.

Wednesday 18th April 2018
Network SouthEast
Chris Green

We were pleased to have a much higher than usual attendance at the April meeting where Chris Green spoke on Network Southeast. As reports have appeared in the RO on this talk at other branches, your scribe gives personal thoughts on the talk.
Chris still shows his pride and satisfaction in being part of the team who revolutionised the network. There was also a tinge of sadness, that, having brought about a coordinated system, this has been partly dismantled under franchising.
Chris brought in humour in instances where the best laid plans did not work. There was an anonymous station which still had grey lamp posts a few days before everywhere should have red posts. 'Get them painted red', went the instruction. On red post day Chris found the lamp posts........grey! Outside the station the town had nice newly painted red posts! Or the depot with a newly painted NSE unit, ready for the launch a day or so later, in full view of the adjoining line. No passengers appeared to have realised what was going on.

If your branch is hosting Chris, go along and listen to this enthusiastic speaker.

Wednesday 21st March 2018
Talyllyn Railway
Eric Nicholass

Eric Nicholass' presentation on the Tal-y-llyn Railway revolved around photographs in the early days of the preservation era.
We opened with the AGM specials, the first of which in 1953 used railcar W13W from Paddington to Towyn. The railcar failed at Leamington on the return journey around 04.00 hours, but an alternative vehicle was soon provided. Later charters took a Southern T9 and a D into Wales, usually accompanied by a GWR 0-6-0.
A forward looking member recorded the routine scenes on the renovation of the Railway. Finding the track amongst the vegetation, improving drainage, recovering track from the inclines for reuse on the main line; these were scenes most people would have ignored. With two worn out locos, only one of which could be steamed, the Railway were able to acquire the two Corris locos.
Then and now views show how Towyn Wharf has expanded with new buildings and improved track layout. Once upon a time Dolgoch Viaduct could be seen in its glory, but trees and vegetation have obscured much of the viaduct.

A thought providing evening and we thank Eric for his time.

last updated: 23/02/19