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Dear Member,

The April meeting was all about ‘The new build ‘P2 Project’ presented by Huw Parker. It is certainly an ambitious project, aiming to recreate one of Gresley’s 2-8-2 Mikado Passenger locomotives and Huw went into great detail of how it is being built and the fund raising for the Project. We thank him for visiting us and giving us such an informative and interesting evening.  

Our next meeting will be on Thursday May 10 and please note, this is the second Thursday of the month for this meeting. We will be welcoming back Brian Ringer who will presenting ‘Strictly Freight – Part 2’. After his highly successful talk last session, Brian returns to continue the story and give us a detailed insight into the ways freight operations have changed over the years. As usual, the doors will open at 7pm for 7.30pm start.

To give you notice, our next meeting will be our Annual General Meeting on Thursday June 7 at 7.30pm. If you would like to nominate anyone for positions on the committee, or if you want any matters raised during the meeting, please advise accordingly using one of the addresses above. After the AGM there will be a short break followed by a talk on The FFestiniog Railway by Mark Temple.

As mentioned last month, new data protection laws (General Data Protection Regulations - GDPR) are coming in force this month regarding the storage of personal information. The Society has to comply with these new regulations and thank you to all those of you who have already completed and returned the forms. Copies of the form will be available at the May meeting, and if you haven’t yet done so, we ask that you take a copy and complete it. Completed forms can be returned by email, post or handed in at the meeting. As stated, anyone not returning the form by May 25 will have to be removed from our data bases. If you have any queries please contact us at the addresses given above.

Just a reminder about the  invite to join the RCTS Bristol Group on a private evening visit to the Somerset & Dorset Railway Heritage Trust at Midsomer Norton station on Friday June 15, starting at 1830hrs. It is hoped that Sentinel ‘Joyce’ will be in steam and providing rides (subject to availability). Conducted tours will also be taking place. Tickets are £5 and these must be purchased in advance from Paul Udey, who will again have them available at our May meeting. The stations’ buffet car and shop will be open and parking will be available at Norton Hill School just a short walk from the station.  

Our book stall is doing well and we thank Mike Ware for organising it every month. Thank you also to those of you who have donated items to sell. If you have any unwanted books, do bring them along suitably priced, but please do check and take them home with you afterwards if they haven’t sold

The 50th Bristol Model Railway Exhibition will take place on Friday (1pm – 7pm), Saturday (10am – 6.30pm), & Sunday (10am – 5pm) May 4 – 6 at the Thornbury Leisure Centre, Alverston Hill, Thornbury. There will be 40 layouts and 50 trade stands in attendance.

From Saturday 5 to Monday 7 May, Network Rail will be carrying out upgrade work between Maidenhead, and Hayes & Harlington, with the work extending from Hayes & Harlington to London Paddington on Sunday 6 May.  If you are travelling on Saturday 5 or Monday 7 May, buses will replace trains between Maidenhead and Hayes & Harlington, and long-distance services will be diverted into London Paddington, adding up to an hour to journey times from Bristol/South Wales, and an hour and a half from Devon/Cornwall. Check the GWR website for full details of changes if you are travelling.

The Swanage Railway will be staging its annual Diesel Gala from May 10 – 13 inclusive. Locomotives taking part are expected to be 20 007, 20 142, D6515 (33012), 33 111, 37 521, 45 041, 50 049, 73107, 73 133 & D7017. Trains will be running through to Wareham using London Transport Museum’s 4TC unit as coaching stock. See the Swanage Railway’s website for full details and timings etc.

An auction of railwayana will be taking place at the Gartell Light Railway near Templecombe on Saturday May 12. The sale is being conducted by Talisman Railway Auctions, and further details can be found at Viewing is from 8am.

Yate station has now been re-opened for 29 years this month seeing its first trains again on May 11 1989.   The station had originally been closed from January 4 1965.

One hundred and fifteen years ago this month, the Steam Ship SS. Huddersfield was in collision with a Norwegian steamer just outside Antwerp, Belgian on May 26, 1903 and subsequently sank. Twenty two passengers were lost, but the seventeen crew were all rescued. The boat was built for the Manchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire Railway Company being launched in 1872. In 1897 ownership of the SS Huddersfield was passed to the Great Central Railway Company.

Did you know that a Royal Train once ran over part of the Somerset & Dorset line? On May 14 1940, King George V1 and Queen Elizabeth travelled on the Great Western Railway’s seven coach royal train down to Broadstone from London via Salisbury and Downton. At Broadstone LMS Black 5 5274 was placed on the back and hauled the train up the S & D to Blandford Forum where it was stabled overnight. The ‘Royals’ were visiting the local army camp and they re-joined the train at Downton after it had run back ecs  behind the Black 5 to Broadstone where T9 119 took over for the return journey.

The Sundays Only service from Exeter to Okehampton starts on May 20 and runs until September.

Passengers on Great Western Railway can now use their smart phone or tablet as a pocket ticket machine to purchase and to travel following the installation of barcode readers at station ticket gates across the GWR network. The scheme covers all singles and return tickets; standard and first class, adult and child, but Season tickets; Group Save and Rangers & Rovers are not currently available.

The MoD’s base at Ludgershall still sees the occasional workings up from Andover and it also has a resident diesel shunter in the form of Class 01 – 01 548. This was however removed by road recently and sent to LH Group Services at Barton Under Needwood near Burton on Trent for work to be carried out on it. It is expected to return to Ludgershall once the work is completed.

GB Railfreight has announced details of a four day charity tour of England, Scotland and Wales to be run from Thursday September 20 to Sunday 24 in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support and Headway, the brain injury association. The tour starts at London Victoria and travels via Salisbury and through Bath to Bristol T M hauled by 66 782. Here a pair of 73’s will take the train to Cardiff (via Avonmouth) to run round the Celsa Steelworks. There are other highlights for this tour both in locomotives and routes, and it should also see either a Class 86 or 87 work into Paddington, a Class 56 running to Fort William and a Class 92 at Blackpool. Full ticket details can be found at with options for the whole tour or just one day available.

Following on from the mention in last month’s newsletter, after many months of negotiations, Network Rail have now granted the Vale of Berkley Railway a license to clear the undergrowth around the track in Oldminster Sidings. This follows a series of ecology surveys commissioned over the last two years, and all work on the sidings will be in full compliance with the stipulations from the surveys and the Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981. Negotiations are continuing with Network Rail, to secure a full lease for the sidings and a section of the branch line from Sharpness to Berkley Road.

Slow progress is being made in the restoration of the unique Metropolitan Vickers Co-Bo (Class 28) D5705 at the East Lancashire Railway, with work being carried out on a spare engine, electric fittings and the locomotives bogies. The work is still ‘long term’ and dependent on funding with donations being received. When withdrawn in 1968, D5705 was used by the BR Research Centre at Derby being re-number S15705 but was replaced by a Class 24. It then had local connections being sent to the former Bristol Bath Road diesel depot where it was retained as a carriage heating unit and numbered TDB968006.  It then spent some time in sidings at Swindon Works before being acquired for preservation.  Does anyone know if it was actually ever used for train heating whilst at Bristol?

We look forward to seeing you on May 10, the second Thursday of the month, for the talk by Brian Ringer on ‘Strictly Freight – Part 2.’

Please note:- All events and special trains etc are mentioned in good faith and hopefully details are correct at the time of publication of the Newsletter. Please however, do check before travelling or attending events as things can change

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