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West Riding

Meeting Reports

Thursday 16th November 2017
Steam Everywhere
David Tillotson

For the November meeting David Tillotson paid a return visit to the Branch when he delivered a most interesting array of illustrations under the title of “Steam Everywhere”. As the organiser of the highly active “Tilly Tours” many an opportunity became available enabling steam activity to be photographed at localities enthusiasts are seldom able to reach. Monochrome scenes, dating back to the late fifties opened the show which illustrated steam locomotives from all of the four major companies in their native surroundings. In moving forward colour images became the norm as widespread steam action from both preserved railways and the main line provided the on-going entertainment. Of particular note were scenes from the KWVR featuring the wide array of motive power that has, over the years, graced the line. Tours to innumerable narrow gauge countrywide establishments and other oddities widened the range and scope of the interest. As a widely travelled enthusiast and cameraman searching for steam, visits to foreign lands provided exciting opportunities. Again both main line and museum activities at various locations were featured from across Europe and beyond. Across the continents of Africa, Oceana and the Americas a varied motive power was illustrated in fine detail. “Steam Everywhere” aptly described this excellent collection of images.

Thursday 19th October 2017
Rail Routes from Leeds
Steve Armitage

Steve Armitage was the speaker at the October evening meeting when he presented a most appropriate range of images under the title “Rail Routes from Leeds”. Making excellent use of digitally restored black and white photographs and post cards dating from as far back as 1860 the material featured a significant number of pictures from the Yorkshire Post archive. These were then supplemented by numerous prints from photographs taken locally by Gavin Morrison and other notable photographers. The entirety was to form a superb compilation of action from within the West Riding region.

Initially, focussing on the Midland station in Leeds city centre the range of interest moved northwards along its lines in the direction of Carlisle through the Aire Valley via Bradford and then Southwards through to Normanton. Jubilees and Scots on the Thames Clyde Express were well to the fore but all modes of traffic and motive power were well illustrated. Leeds Central and the Great Northern territories were described in some detail as the journey along their metals moved through Ardsley and Wakefield. Many were the pictures of the LNER Pacifics that abounded along this route whilst the early day Deltics were not to be ignored. Fascinating scenes depicting steam on shed at the local depots of Holbeck, Copley Hill and Farnley Junction superbly complemented and broadened the extent of the material. Away from the main London and Carlisle destinations the audience was to then be taken along more local lines eastwards through Marsh Lane cutting to Garforth and Northwards to Starbeck and Harrogate. Along the way the Wharfe Valley lines principally featured both the Bramhope tunnel and the long closed Arthington station. Typical of the work by Steve Armitage this was yet another top quality evening of nostalgic entertainment.

Tuesday 3rd October 2017
Steaming South of theBorder
David Kelso

Rapidly following behind the Tornado/P2 story was the first of the season’s two afternoon meetings which was given by Scotsman David Kelso who gave a PowerPoint presentation entitled “Steam South of the Border”, comprising exclusively of black and white illustrations ranging from 1948 to the end of steam. This excellent compilation was broken down into regionalised sections from far and wide across the country. Notable scenes, nearly all of which can no longer be experienced, combined with interesting and sometimes rare motive power made for nostalgic reminders of a long lost but well-loved railway environment. Those areas that featured were covered in some detail. Concentration was to focus on the Midlands, Derby Works, the Scottish Borders, Newcastle, Carlisle, Lancashire & Yorkshire, Wales with the narrow gauge railways, the Home Counties and Southern territories. Rarities and oddities making appearances were to be the Liverpool Overhead Railway, first generation Merseyside and East Lancashire EMU’s, early North Eastern electric locomotives and Tyneside’s EMU’s. The inclusion of memorable material other than steam power ensured the totality of the programme provided for an excellent afternoon of nostalgia.

Thursday 21st September 2017
Tornado and the P2
Keith Crabtree

The first meeting of the new 2017/2018 programme in September brought Keith Crabtree of the A1 Locomotive Society to Saltaire to tell of the latest happenings with “Tornado” and the up-to-date news and progress relating to the P2 project. Part one of this illustrated presentation briefly covered the timeline of the “Tornado” project from inception to main line running. This was to then culminate in the showing of filmed material illustrating the locomotive running on the main line. On-going coverage of the first general overhaul flowed into the more recent widening of the locomotive’s capabilities as it underwent 90mph main line trials during which the magic 100mph was attained. All of which was shown on film, albeit under the cover of darkness.

Interest was to then focus on the progress of the much awaited P2 2-8-2, a locomotive with a great deal of gravitas. Following a brief history of the original class the audience was told of changes that the new locomotive will embody featuring improved Lentz valve gear and a stiffening up of the crank axles. Progress is such that there is an enormous amount of work yet to do but the front end smokebox and boiler front end is shaping up well. Completion is some way off but was quoted as being in 2021. The critical path being that of the electrical design and installation work. Beyond the P2 the presenter indicated that either a V3 or V4 would be the next in line. This proved to be a very interesting and informative evening.

Tuesday 18th July 2017
Visit to Starr Gate Tram Depot, Blackpool

The summer months of July and August provided for a number of visits to outside establishments of railway interest and on each occasion some most pleasant summer weather was encountered.

In late July a good complement of members visited the premises of “Stately Trains” at the Embsay and Bolton Abbey Railway where the focal point of attraction was to be the viewing of the work that has been done on the North Eastern Railway 1903 electric autocar now that it is nearing completion. A detailed up-to-date resume of the progress was given by owner Steve Middleton telling that at a recent visit to Loughborough the vehicle was fitted with a new Cummins diesel engine as the prime mover and running tests have been successfully undertaken. Attention is now currently focussed on the completion of the bodywork. The accompanying autocoach is finished, ready for the road and at the current rate of progress the pair will be out on the lines early in the New Year. A tour around the on-site locomotives and coaching stock revealed the extensive work that is being undertaken on another centre piece – Queen Victoria’s LSWR royal coach. Progress is rapid and is forecast to be completed within the next few months.

Within the period under review an outdoor visit was made to Blackpool where a tour of the new tram depot at Starr Gate was made. Due to the glorious mid-summer weather not many trams were on shed as all but a couple of units were out on the road. This though was most advantageous as every tram was therefore able to be seen at all locations between Starr Gate and Fleetwood. A journey that several of the group were to experience. As an added bonus the appearance of three heritage units enhanced the interest of the day.

Finally August’s meeting was the usual end of season visit to Doncaster for a late afternoon/evening of observation. Given that coal traffic is now somewhat limited three freight trains were nevertheless observed. Mainline passenger operations operated by HST’s were to be seen in abundance and observing them bounding through Doncaster at top speed is always a sight to behold. Sightings of a Class 90 on a Leeds trains and an East Midlands HST set on the evening Hull train provided some welcome variation. As usual the location generated much for the attending members to enjoy.

Thursday 15th June 2017
"My Steam Day Memories"
Ken Horan

The June meeting was to be the last of the season’s indoor sessions which turned out to be a top class show delivered by Ken Horan describing his “Steam Day Memories”. As a BR fireman based at Sheffield he travelled around Northern areas, more often than not with a camera in his possession. Duty based photographs described most of that which was on offer in the familiar localities of Sheffield and Rotherham but which also stretched into Derbyshire and the Hope Valley where plentiful freight action was to be seen. Journeys to more widespread locations produced innumerable on shed scenes at Doncaster, Holbeck, Low Moor and York, thus offering quality pictures of indoor and outdoor depot activities. With a lifelong interest in all things railway, travels around the country, principally in search of steam, the programme became more widely based as end of steam activities were tracked down in Southern based counties, London, Shap and the North West, whilst not forgetting those final days of steam over the Settle and Carlisle lines. An interlude of views taken in various scrapyards brought down the curtain on pre-1968 steam activity. In the continued search for steam, trips abroad were undertaken where action in France, Austria and China temporarily filled the need and delayed the inevitable. Once all had disappeared preservation activity in the UK and views taken at numerous preserved railways and on the main line kept this excellent show of steam on the road thereby bringing the season’s indoor meeting programme to a fitting conclusion.

Outside activities for the month comprised of a superb tour of the railway yards at Long Marston when over 30 Branch members and friends, along with a multitude of other enthusiasts, ventured around the totality of the premises to view the vast quantity of stored and varied stock that abounds around this enormous site. For those with an interest in modern day motive power this proved to be an excellent day’s venture. Finally another very well attended tour of the rail yards at Crewe provided the usual plentiful array of locomotives and wagons for members with leanings towards modern day interests.

Thursday 18th May 2017
"DVD/Presentations"

The May indoor meeting this year comprised of three presentations delivered by members of the Branch all of which were based in and around home territory. First out of the blocks came Austin Hughes, who gave a most substantial rendition of the railways between Saltburn and Scarborough. Opening with an historical build-up of the area this was an excellent and varied piece of work based on his own experiences from visits to the region. Photographs dating from the 1950’s illustrated the varied amount of railway interest that could be experienced up to and beyond the days of closures. Modern traction, including freight, were to be seen where that currently survives, mainly around the towns of Boulby, Whitby and Scarborough. Architectural features focussing on the numerous viaducts and a study of the incumbent locomotive fleet recalled those long lost memories that are no longer to be seen. Interspersed twixt and between the narrative were several video interludes which all helped to generate an excellent hour of entertainment. Following on from this Chris Webster put up a varied selection of differing liveries all photographed within the totality of Yorkshire territory. Many were there of DMU’s adorned in the decals of those of the various rail companies that have operated Northern franchises over the years. Passenger and freight locomotives bearing the colours of main line operators extended the variation of the programme whilst the odd interloper, in the guise of steam and diesel excursions, further enhanced the range of the material on show. In continuation of the Yorkshire theme Secretary Bob Green concluded the evening by showing steam based images, dating from the late 1950’s, taken in and around Barnsley . After focussing on steam activity this was to move onwards to illustrate modern day locomotive motive power that has, on the odd occasion, passed through the town, inclusive of several latter day steam excursions. The conclusion to this section comprised of several pictures of the now defunct Worsborough incline showing the varied amount of freight traffic that traversed this hilly line. Thanks go to the members for their efforts in making the evening pass pleasantly by.

Thursday 27th April 2017
A Selection from 55 Years of Photography
Les Nixon

Les Nixon paid another visit to the West Riding to give 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 and of latter day survivors. The quality of the presentation was to be further enhanced as 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.

Tuesday 4th April 2017
A Colour-Rail Journey
Paul Chancellor

This second of the annual afternoon gatherings took place at the very beginning of April. On this occasion the Branch was fortunate enough to have Paul Chancellor, who is the owner of the well-known railway photographic archive known by all as Colour-Rail, as the presenter. Yet again this was to prove to be another excellent production. Using images from the collection the presenter grouped together wide ranging time sequenced photographs of railway interest (principally locomotives) at key locations from around the country on what was described as “A Colour-Rail Journey”. Principle call-off stations allowed the audience to absorb the pleasurable action at Cardiff, Peterborough, Carlisle, Bournemouth, Birmingham and Edinburgh. Steam images in black and white were plentiful whilst from the more modern era colour pictures depicting more recent motive power portrayed the changing scenes and times at all of the locations. All who were there thoroughly enjoyed this superbly constructed piece of work. In view of the quality of the presentation and the wide ranging interest the speaker will be invited to bring his next rendition to some future evening meeting.

Thursday 16th March 2017
Remembering My Lines
Colin Brading

As the second meeting in the Month of March there was therefore plenty of interest to keep the members entertained for a little while longer. This, the regular monthly meeting, brought Colin Brading to Saltaire to present an excellent programme entitled “Remembering My Lines”. With a life-long interest in all things railway and as a widely travelled professional railway civil engineer the presentation was very broadly based. A poetic opening sequence telling of the multitude of early day companies and locomotives set the scene for nostalgic pictures of latter steam on the Great Central and Southern Railways, expanding to collages of LMS Duchesses and Southern’s Bullieds. From the more modern era the audience was reminded of the Western’s, Class 50’s and the experimental Advanced Passenger Train. Workaday life pictured images of track-work renewals and developments which have evolved over the years on both British Rail and London Underground metals. Subsequent secondments to Poland and Ireland enhanced the presentation and plenty were the pictures of Poznan-Wolsztyn scheduled steam services in Poland as was steam activity on journeys into South Africa, Canada, India and Europe. This superb evening was brought to a fitting conclusion with a celebration dedicated to 40 years of the HST with a showing of excellent photographs all set to a suitable musical accompaniment.

Thursday 2nd March 2017
Branch AGM

The 2017 Branch AGM attracted the highest number of members for many a long year. Business matters were swiftly handled as all members of the Committee were re-elected for a further year of duties. Reports by the Chairman, Secretary and Treasurer told of the stable position in which the Branch now finds itself and that finances are in a very healthy state. On-going activities for the forthcoming year, both indoor and outdoor, were communicated to the meeting and members can now look forward to a very interesting year of action. In concluding the meeting the Secretary relayed to the members the latest position regarding the Library, “The Railway Observer” and Web4 projects.

Following the formal AGM, entertainment initially focussed on railway memorabilia that members have collected over the years and a very nice array was put up for show. A Coxwold station lamp and a platform direction indicator from Darlington were most noteworthy. Other items of interest comprised of a gem of a railway watch, an A7 works-plate, a Bradford Trolley Bus motif, a Railfreight sector calendar and a couple of paintings done by John Holroyd depicting scenes on the Cromford and High Peak Railway. In concluding the meeting Geoffrey Greer presented an excellent PowerPoint digital show telling of a visit to Furka Railway in Switzerland. Thanks go to everyone for all of their contributions.

Thursday 16th February 2017
"This is York"
Chris Nettleton

Due to the unavailability of the booked speaker Chris Nettleton of the Gresley Society stepped into the breach to give a showing of “Steam around York”. This well presented programme demonstrated York as a focal point within northern territory and examples of locomotives from all of the pre-grouping companies that frequented the city were illustrated, thus providing sightings of GCR, LYR and GER engines well away from their natural habitats. Interspersed between the stills were several sections of archive film material which broadened the scope and appeal of the presentation. Most notably the photographic work emphasised the wonderful array of signal gantries that abounded, scenes of action through the long lost station through-lines and of the Racecourse station platforms which sadly are no more. Naturally, many were the pictures of Gresley designed Pacific locomotives, his V2’s and those of the on-going Thompson and Peppercorn derivatives. Those of more diminutive stature which frequented the city with their less glamorous trains were intermingled throughout. A4’s and A3’s on express goods were noteworthy inclusions. Photographs of locomotives both on and in the depot provided for many more variations of motive power but in concluding the presentation a lengthy section of archived film material illustrated “the grimy end of life on shed” as a B16 was filmed whilst undergoing servicing between trains. Anything but a pleasant operation! Tinged with a Gresley bias this was nevertheless an excellent evening of railway action around York wholeheartedly enjoyed by another well attended audience.

Thursday 19th January 2017
Sigh for a Deltic
David Thomas

The Deltics were the subject of the January meeting when David Thomas from the NRM presented a rendition entitled “Sigh for a Deltic”. Introduced onto the East Coast main lines they were the first generation of diesel engine to supersede the beloved Gresley A4’s. They became very popular and admired by the railway fraternity and were worthy successors. They were big and they were fast and simply oozed power. Their twin two-stroke engines generated a total output of 3300hp making them ideal speedsters for the East Coast racetrack. The programme was built around pictures taken along a photographic journey from King’s Cross to Edinburgh with views taken at all of the major stations and scenic locations along the route. King’s Cross, York, Newcastle and Edinburgh were very much to the fore. So too were the cities of Leeds and Hull which were also to enjoy Deltic hauled services. Interspersed between the illustrations were background soundtrack recordings thus enabling the audience to appreciate the distinctive sound of these highly specialised and fascinating machines.

However Doncaster was to provide opportunities for photographs inside “The Plant” where the Deltics were overhauled and later scrapped. Close up detailed pictures of the horizontally opposed two-stroke engines in deltoid format illustrated their unique construction and also the kind of failures that were encountered whilst in service.

The Deltics were unique and maybe a touch temperamental but to hear the engines on full power was simply awesome. “Sigh for a Deltic” indeed. A presentation enjoyed by a very well attended gathering.

last updated: 22/11/17