West Riding Branch

First of all I owe an apology to you all. Checking through my notes in preparation of this newsletter it became apparent that I never put out an August issue and I have no idea why this should have happened. Old age and senility must be setting in! I will endeavour to make up for the missing details this time around. However, fresh air activities were the feature of the July and August meetings all of which took place in good summer weather. The visit to Embsay at the latter end of July was set up for the members to view the extensive work that has been done by Steven Middleton on his 1903 NER Electric Autocar which is now nearing completion. A detailed resume by Steve told of the autocar’s recent visit to Loughborough where the vehicle was fitted with a new Cummins diesel engine. Successful running tests have been carried out on the engine, frame and running gear. Attention is now concentrated on the completion of the timber bodywork. The accompanying autocoach is already finished and at the current rate of progress the pair will be out on the rails early in the New Year. Something we can all look forward to. A tour of the locomotives on-site and other stock, both on the sheds or in the yards, extended the interest. Of particular note was the work being undertaken on another piece of coaching stock in the guise of Queen Victoria’s LSWR royal coach. Rapid progress is being made and it is expected that this will also be finalised within the next few months. So again this is yet another significant piece of railway history emerging from an establishment within our region. Thanks go to Steve for looking after our group so well and we wish him well with his endeavours. A second dose of outside action took place in glorious summer weather when a sizeable group of members and friends, courtesy of Malcolm Riley’s organisational skills, paid a visit to the tram system at Blackpool. Probably due to the splendid weather not many trams were on Starr Gate depot as all but a couple were out on the road serving the holidaying masses. They were needed!! This though was quite helpful as every tram was then to be seen at all locations between Starr Gate and Fleetwood. For those that took the journey this was to be a very pleasant experience. The appearance of 3 heritage units added greatly to the day’s entertainment. To round off this trio of outside ventures the annual end of season visit to Doncaster took place at the latter end of August. Since the closing of several coal fired power stations within the region freight traffic is now greatly suppressed but nevertheless three were to put in an appearance. Mainline passenger operations formed of HST’s were plentiful and observing them speeding through Doncaster at high speed is always a grand sight and one to be cherished as the introduction of the feted Azuma’s will soon bring this to an end. As always Doncaster is worthy of a visit. A couple of other notable observations worthy of comment were of a Class 90 powering a Leeds train and a hired in East Midlands set on the evening VTEC service to Hull. And so we now start, and look forward to, yet another season of indoor meetings. By the time these notes appear on your screen my annual letter telling of where the branch is and what will be on offer this coming season should have appeared through your post-box. The branch is in good shape and my thanks to all of you who give your support. The first meeting takes place on Thursday 21st September at Saltaire, when Keith Crabtree of the A1 Locomotive Society will tell members of the progress that is being made on the new build P1 and also review the recent adventures of “Tornado”. Some few years ago Keith came to Saltaire to give a presentation on the development of “Tornado”. This was a most informative talk and doubtless the P1 story will be just as good. Although the first of the afternoon meetings is to be in October it would be timely for mention of it to be made in this month’s notes as the meeting is to be held on the afternoon of the 3rd at 2.00pm. David Kelso is to be the presenter who, as a Scotsman living in the South East of England, will be showing his photographs under the title of “Steam South of the Border”. This programme is a sequel to an earlier presentation titled “Scottish Steam” which we were fortunate enough to enjoy some six years ago. Numerous outside visits have been planned for the near future and are to be as follows: 9th September – Statfold Barn for a wonderful array of active narrow gauge steam locomotives. There are lots!! 14th September – A day of observation at Stafford for WCML action. 30th September – Another visit to Crewe for walks around both DRS at Gresty Bridge and Freightliner’s Basford Hall. Furthermore just in case October’s news circular does not make it out in time on 7th October Malcolm has arranged a day’s outing to Edinburgh to experience the newly commissioned tramway system and take a ride along the Tweedbank line. This looks to be a very worthwhile day out. Anyone interested in any of these activities should contact either Malcolm directly or myself. In rounding off these notes I once again would like to thank you all for supporting the branch so actively in the past. Long may this continue as it is most rewarding and encouraging. May we all meet again at our regular Saltaire venue on the 21st September at 7.30pm.

last updated: 13/09/17