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Meeting Reports

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.

Wednesday 20th September 2017
'The Royal Train'
Mick Foster

To open our season Mick Foster spoke about the Royal Train. Our speaker started his career on the footplate at Guildford shed. Changing career he moved into the British Transport Police, and became responsible for recruitment. Although not directly involved with the Royal Train, Mick offered to assist with the service and became the unofficial photographer.
The Royal Train now comprises seven coaches and Mick gave an outline of the purpose of each vehicle and its appearance. Naturally security prevented some details here but it is an interesting fact that the Queen's bed lies along the length of the coach and not across it.
Based at Wolverton the train is usually seen with its dedicated locos. Behind the scenes Mick has photographed it being shunted out of its shed by an 08 shunter. A small staff are dedicated to the train but extra personnel are supplied by Virgin as required. On any trip the dedicated staff can undertake routine maintenance if needed.
The Golden Jubilee tour gave Mick a chance to photograph the train throughout the country, Mick highlighting where it had travelled. Overnight stops were made at remote locations away from prying eyes. However, on one occasion, out in the country, a grandmother and granddaughter were puzzled by this strange train. Suddenly the grandmother dropped a curtsy. It was later said that the Queen had waved from her carriage.
Moral, dear member. If you are out photographing the train, practice your bow or curtsy, just in case......

Wednesday 17th May 2017
'Gloucester to Gloucester via Bristol and the Somerset & Dorset Railway'
Brian Arman, RCTS President

To round off our winter season Brian Arman gave his slide presentation Gloucester to Gloucester. One thing your scribe remembers is the large number of pre-war or early post-war colour slides which Brian has tracked down. An ex-works Brighton Pacific tank and an immaculate M7 being two such slides.
Arriving in our area on the Somerset and Dorset line we had scenes at both Bournemouth West and Central. Coming to Brockenhurst , we saw an M7 on a motor train, then to Southampton for Pacifics and on to Eastleigh. Inside the works we found locos under repair as well as the Leader awaiting a test run. Brian reminded us these locos of class 4 were to replace M7s.

In London we were reminded of the loco preparation pits below the taxi road at Liverpool Street and the compartment EMUs at Euston. Returning via a gloomy Birmingham New Street we descended Lickey to see Big Bertha banking a freight. And so to Gloucester arriving five minutes ahead of target time.

Brian, we thank you for the show and hope you got back to Bristol without any trouble.

Wednesday 15th March 2017
'Organising an historic railway'
Liam Kenchenton

Liam Kenchenton's presentation in March looked behind the scenes on the Mid Hants Railway.
/ Having shown a track diagram of the line Liam pointed out the restrictions on trains such as maximum length at individual stations and in loops. For a basic one train service we now know that one train crew is needed but may overlook the three signalman (for Alresford, Ropley and Medstead; Alton is remotely controlled).
Gala events take much organising. More than three months in advance a theme is decided upon. This can be a chicken and egg problem. Do you source visiting locos and build an event round them or decide on a theme and then source the visitors? Both ways can work but Liam mentioned that a good relationship with other railways is essential. If we can borrow your ‘X’ loco you can have our ‘Y’ loco next year. As the event date approaches the working timetables and staff rosters are prepared and distributed. All well and good until a visitor fails to arrive or a loco fails. Revised instructions have to be rapidly distributed.
A question and answer session covered most areas of the Railway.

By the end of the evening we were more aware of what goes on behind the scenes and the logic for what we see and, possibly, question.

Wednesday 15th February 2017
'Three Rivers Partnership - an update'
Mark Miller

After a number of years Mark Miller returned to update us on the Three Rivers Partnership, the Community Rail Partnership covering our patch. There has been an increase in the area covered with stations to Bursledon now being covered. Shawford and Winchester are likely to be included before long.
One wish of the partnership is to improve the environment of the stations. Surplus land has been turned into gardens and litter regularly cleared. On the disused platform at Chandlers Ford a planter in the form of an engine has appeared. This wooden planter had been constructed by a group of retired men who get together for a natter and cup of tea. The planter was a secondary issue, but requests have been made for similar planters at other stations!
Whilst the TOCs may have the will to double deck major car parks there is no incentive to find four or five spaces at a rural station. The partnership looked at these stations, Dean and Mottisfont & Dunbridge being two locations where residents would like a few extra spaces. Only partial success at these stations at present.
With station usage statistics having been released a few days earlier, discussion surrounded the changes in patronage. Mark admitted he was surprised by some changes. Swaythling patronage had declined but the feeling at the station was that it was higher than ever. The increase at Redbridge was unexplained until a member suggested that a loophole in break of journey rules could be the cause. We refrain from further comment other than to observe that this affects passengers from the Bournemouth direction.
Looking to the future, Mark believes the priority must be at least half hourly services to local stations.

Our thanks to Mark for an informative update.

Wednesday 25th January 2017
Branch Annual General Meeting

At the Branch AGM in January the existing Committee was re-elected en bloc.
The Branch desperately needs new blood, particularly someone to arrange the monthly meetings. Will someone please put their head above the parapet and come forward to help us.

last updated: 20/01/18