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Meeting Reports

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 Statìon. 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.

Wednesday 21st February 2018
Railways in the Solent area 1995 to 1999.
Mark Greening

At short notice we had to find an alternative speaker for the February meeting and Mark Greening volunteered to cover with his presentation on Railways in the Solent area 1995 to 1999.
Rarely straying more than 15 miles from Southampton, Mark covered all types of trains and seemingly every class of power. One aspect which caught the writer's attention was the number of flows of freight which no longer pass by rail. Oil traffic on his local line, the Fawley Branch, was but one example. Motive power included class 37, 58, 60 and 66.
Mark seemed to have found photographic positions in most unlikely areas but he often added that the spot is no longer suitable with trees or bushes obscuring the view or developments covering the spot where he was standing.
Our thanks are due to Mark for standing in at short notice.

Wednesday 17th January 2018
The Letter 'S'
Ted Vaughan

Our speaker at the January meeting was Branch Secretary Ted Vaughan who gave a presentation with each slide having a connection with the letter “S”.
Beginning, perhaps predictably, with Scotland, Sulzer powered Class 26s were observed in the early 1960s, followed by steam on Gourock - Glasgow services.
Moving south to England, Stanier and BR Standard locomotives were seen at work over Shap and the Settle and Carlisle line, and “Sarah Siddons” was seen on Metropolitan Line specials.
Visits to Switzerland and Germany produced predictable sun and snow before we returned to the south of England and Southern Electrics such as 2 HAL and 4 COR units, and the final 3 CIG slam door stock on the Lymington branch.
S also stands for street running and shunters so it was no surprise to see an 03 working the Channel Islands Boat Train on the Weymouth Tramway.
The final slides of the evening were of sunset over the Solent and Ted returning to his garden and Super Star roses.

Our thanks to Ted for an evening with a difference which was enjoyed by all who attended the meeting.

Wednesday 13th December 2017
'Our wind down to Christmas with films from Dave's collection.'
Dave Doulton

As is usual Dave Doulton presented films in the run up to Christmas.
We started with a look at private railways in Wales, the filming having taken place some ten years ago. This included the smaller railways such a Teifi, Bala Lake or Pontypool and Blaenavon. A trip up the Snowdon Mountain ended in heavy cloud.
Taking us into winter conditions we saw trains in the snow. Heavy snow prevailed on the Harz network with its large number 2-10-2 tanks and standard gauge wagons on transporter wagons.
China in bitterly cold sunny conditions produced double headed coal trains in the last days of their lives.

Wednesday 15th November 2017
'Ramblings of a railwayman'
Geoff Birch

At school Geoff Birch found many of his chums had taken up the hobby of collecting engine numbers and in due course became hooked on this hobby. Taking the numbers at stations such as Brookwood was one thing, but on getting on the footplate of a Schools, made Geoff decide this was to be his career.
Leaving school at 15 he joined the staff at Guildford shed as a cleaner. Turning 16 he attended the course for trainee firemen and was duly passed out and joined the ranks of footplate staff. Gaining experience steadily was one thing, being thrown in the deep end another. One day, still aged 16, he was told his work was to relieve a Nine Elms fireman at Woking and fire a Bullied Pacific to Bournemouth and back to Waterloo. The driver advised Geoff when and how to fire the loco, so Geoff's fears of a disaster never came about. On another occasion in that first year, Geoff was rostered to fire to a driver who didn't want an inexperienced fireman. No choice so off goes Geoff. Having fired to Reading Southern, then Redhill and back to Guildford to driver stated he would take Geoff any day. Credit indeed!
The evening was one of reminiscences, with photographs supporting his thoughts. Pannier tanks and 82xxx on Waterloo on empty stock workings, Pacific tanks on cross London freights and Schools on the Redhill line, all brought tales and thoughts. With steam about to end on the Southern, Geoff took one of the last two standard 5s to Salisbury.
Although Geoff remained on the railway for much of his working life the evening revolved around those half dozen years at Guildford. A very enjoyable evening.

last updated: 19/10/18