West Riding Branch

The April evening meeting was held over by one week in order to avoid “meeting overcrowd” arising as a consequence of the timing of the Easter holidays and the second of the season’s afternoon meetings which was reported in the April communique. For April’s evening gathering Les Nixon paid a return visit to Saltaire to present an excellent demonstration of selected photographs taken over his many years as a top of the range cameraman using images dating back over 50 years. Presented in no particular order the variation in photographs was tremendously wide reaching showing UK steam in the 1950’s through to modern day preservation and main line activities. Intermingled throughout were many pictures of trips abroad in the quest to photograph the world of railways, particularly concentrating on the dying days of the steam locomotive. The quality of the presentation was to be further enhanced as, in his efforts to avoid the standard three-quarter angled photograph, innumerable out of the ordinary creative pictures told of, and expanded upon, a different but fascinating side of the railway scene. What a superb evening this was to be, all enjoyed by a well-attended group of members and friends. Two visits to outside locations of interest were organised by Malcolm Riley, during the period under review, the first of which was to take members and friends on a tour around the former Shipley Windhill Great Northern station which is currently in industrial occupation and under threat of closure and possible demolition. Both internally and externally the building remnants embody significant elements of the original structure. A most noteworthy finding in the cellars were a large number of boxes containing Great Northern paperwork telling of station activities dating from as far back as 1890. These have now been rescued for archiving. After departing Shipley members were to then tour the station buildings at Baildon where plenty of the original indoor booking and waiting room features continue to survive. Finally for members with an interest in the modern railway scene of today half a dozen enthusiasts in our midst enjoyed a full day of action observing the numerous freight and passenger activities that take place on the West Coast main line at Stafford. On this occasion the regular happenings were enhanced as, due to an incident at Tile Hill, the London-Birmingham trains were being diverted into Stafford where they reversed before making for Birmingham via Wolverhampton, no doubt bringing about fairly lengthy extended journey times. The day was fortunately blessed with decent weather and notable observations were of locomotives from classes 90/68/57 and the ubiquitous class 66’s from both Freightliner and DBS. In looking forward the May indoor meeting is to take place on the 18th at 7.30pm and this is now to be the carry-over of members’ presentations that, due to time limitations, were not to be seen at the Branch AGM. As an excellent starting point Austin Hughes has agreed to give a one hour rendition of varied action on the Northern reaches of the East Coast lines in Yorkshire around the Scarborough and Whitby localities. Austin is an excellent presenter and you will not be disappointed as plenty of steam will be on show. To compliment this Chris Webster and myself will cover other activities that have or continue to take place within the county. This meeting has been brought forward by a month in order to accommodate Ken Horan, who unfortunately was unable to make the date of the original appointment. Ken’s steam based excellent show will now take place on the evening of 15th June. In looking further forward I have yet to confirm the July evening outside visit. This I will do over the next few days once I am clear of the paperwork involved in tidying up and reporting on the Society AGM at Coventry. I hope to be in a position to clarify this at the forthcoming May meeting. To conclude the forward looking information regarding activities Malcolm has a couple of visits in the pipeline which are to take place in June. On the 10th the locomotive storage yards at Long Marston are to be visited where much in the way of laid-up and varied modern day traction can be seen. The following weekend Saturday 17th another tour of the DRS depot and Freightliner’s Basford Hall has been set up. If anyone has any interest in attending these events please contact either Malcolm or myself. Away from meetings and activities I have been notified of the passing of one of the long-standing members of the Branch, Donald Grimshaw. Don has been a very regular attender at our meetings and will be greatly missed by all. Quite coincidentally whilst these notes were being typed Jack Smith phoned to inform me that another long standing member, Don Goodwin, has also passed into the “Top Shed”. As a former committee member in the days of RCTS tours, Don was to play a significant part and in later years was the committee member who wrote branch meetings reports for the RO. Although Don’s visits to meetings have been less frequent in recent times he too will be missed especially by our more senior members of the branch. As I write this note I have no indication of funeral dates but will circulate them when and if they become available. Finally the LMS Pacifics book is about to hit the shelves. As I have done with previous publications if anyone would like me to procure copies of the publication please let me know. They are to be priced at £25 plus p&p at £3. Once again in closing this monthly report I need to thank all of you for supporting the branch, whether that be at either the indoor or Malcolm’s outdoor events. It is very rewarding and encouraging. I would hope that we might all meet again on 18th May at Saltaire. With my kindest regards. Bob

last updated: 08/05/17