Meeting Reports

Meeting Reports

Thursday 17th October 2019

'Two Railways for London'

Chris Green

We welcomed Chris Green to our meeting on 17th October to give his presentation “Two Railways for London”, the story of Thameslink and Crossrail. Both lines originated during the BR Network SouthEast era to increase capacity on the system, but both were initially rejected as privatisation loomed.

Chris dealt first with Thameslink, outlining the planning and building of the line and its current operations, using the Seimens Cl.700 trains which are now operating in automatic mode in the central core but not yet at the planned 24 trains/hour. He concluded this section with proposed changes over the next few years.

Moving on to Crossrail, he again outlined the planning and building of the route and the trains and explained that the present delays were due to the fitting-out of the tunnels and stations and to the software problems on the trains, but that it is expected that the line will open in 2020.

He said that both lines were to operate at 24 trains per hour at the peak times and that trains and drivers would remain on a single route all day and work throughout that route with no change of driver in London.

We thank Chris for an excellent presentation which was enjoyed by all present.

Thursday 19th September 2019

'Westward from Dover - Looking for Steam

Peter Groom

The winter season was given an excellent start on 19th September by the 'evergreen' Peter Groom with a slide session titled “Westward from Dover – Looking for Steam”. Starting at Dover with dock shunters, we saw more of the same at Folkestone whilst Ashford gave us a whole range of classes, many awaiting entry to, or just released from, the Locomotive Works. Of interest was a Stewarts Lane N15 with an eight-wheel tender which Peter explained would not fit on any turntable in Kent.

The next area was on the Brighton line at Three Bridges and Brighton. Here Peter explained detail differences between locomotives of the same class, the C2Xs and A1Xs being good examples.

Then it was on to the Hayling Island branch with more A1Xs before a visit to Eastleigh with a large array of classes and to Southampton for the USA tanks.

We hopped over the Solent to the Isle of Wight and the O2s before visiting Weymouth and the GWR 1366 class on the Harbour Tramway.

With time running short, there were quick visits to the Lyme Regis branch for the 0415 class and Exeter for the E1R and Z classes on banking work between St Davids and Central stations before time was called..

Thursday 17th January 2019
Branch AGM and Members Evening

The branch meeting on 17th January started with the Branch AGM, when, after receiving and approving the usual reports, the existing committee of Barry Butler (Chairman), Robert Warburton (Secretary), Alan Burgess (Treasurer) and Colin Greatrex was re-elected unopposed. The remainder of the meeting was taken up by members' contributions. Colin Greatrex started with a digital presentation of a holiday in France over 50 years ago, with images of SNCF Pacifics, the 141Rs and push-pull fitted 2-8-2Ts on suburban trains at Paris Nord. Other images were of the then state-of-the-art diesel and electric locomotives and multiple units, which look very dated today. Colin Conway was up next with three sets of slides; we started on the Isle of Man with a trip from Douglas to Port Erin and back in 1969, this being followed by a visit to the Liverpool Central to Gateacre line in 1971, shortly before it closed and finally to the Exeter-Okehampton line in 1972, again shortly before its original demise later that year. Our third contributor was Barry Butler with a selection of slides taken around East Anglia in the 1960s/70s and some slides of exceedingly long freight trains in the USA, some being worked by up to eleven locomotives. The meeting was concluded with a selection of slides shown by Robert Warburton, these showing scenes on the GN main line between London and Doncaster in the 1950s/60s and showing in particular the changeover from steam to diesel traction, which took place between 1958 and 1963.

Thursday 13th December 2018
'Rail Cameraman'
John Hillier

We welcomed branch member John Hillier to our meeting on 13th December to give a presentation titled 'Rail Cameramen' John has been a member of the Rail Camera Club for many years, this club being started by Stephen Crook after the Railway Photographic Society, which existed from 1922 to 1976, was closed down by its one and only Secretary, Maurice W. Earley. The RCC circulates portfolio boxes for members to comment on the work of other members of the Cluband in 2018 an exhibition was staged at Locomotion, the NRM outbase at Shildon, to celebrate the circulation of the 100th box. Images which were on display at that event have now been published in a book, compiled by John, titled 'The Photographic Artistry of Rail Camersmen', published by Silver Link Publishing Ltd and priced at £30.00. His presentation showed us many of the images from this book, ranging from black & white photographs taken by well-known photographers like Eric Treacy and Bill Anderson of steam prior to its demise in 1968, through diesel locomotives which are now only memories along with more up-to-date images of modern traction taken by current members of the Club. Thes included a Class 800 set in Virgin livery, something which will not be seen again as the Virgin branding has since been removed! This was an excellent evening with many superb images and is recommended to other branches.

Last updated: 15th November 2019