Recent Meetings

Friday 15 September 2017

A VISIT TO ALL THE LONDON SHEDS ON A FRIDAY NIGHT!

David Dunn 

Friday 1 September 2017

INTERPRETING THE SOURCES FOR THE OPERATION OF THE DURHAM AND SUNDERLAND RAILWAY, 1836 - 1860

Colin Mountford


Friday 12 May     2017

RAILWAY LANDSLIP REMEDIATION THROUGH THE YEARS

Clare Brint – Senior Asset Engineer (Geotechnics), Network Rail

Friday 28 April    2017

THE FESTINIOG RAILWAY

Howard Burchell


Friday 7 April    2017

‘ANCIENT AND MODERN’ – A look back over 60 years of railway photography in the UK and overseas

Dr. Ing. Prof. F.W. Hampson


Friday 24 March  2017

‘GREENWOOD’ SLIDE EVENING

Les Paul

Friday 10 March  2017

RAILWAYMAN FOR ALL SEASONS

Philip Benham

Friday 24 February 2017 CENTRE ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING AND MEMBERS’ EVENING

Friday 10 February 2017

BUILDING THE CANADIAN PACIFIC MAIN LINE IN THE WEST

Ken Aiston

Friday 27 January 2017

A HECK OF A DISASTER – 28th FEBRUARY 2001

Neal Clarke


Friday 13 January 2017

THE SGR (STANDARD GAUGE RAILWAY) PROJECT IN AFRICA

Phil Kirkland

Friday 9 December 2016 CHRISTMAS FESTIVITIES

A seasonal social evening of contributions from members and friends including the John Morris Photographic Competition.

Friday 25 November 2016

TWO YEARS IN THE LIFE OF A RAILWAY ENTHUSIAST – 1984 & 1985

Malcolm Paul

Friday 11 November 2016

THE LIFE OF IAN S. CARR - THE SUNDERLAND RAILWAY PHOTOGRAPHER

Neil Sinclair


Friday 28 October 2016

LESS USUAL ASPECTS OF MODERN FRENCH TRAMWAYS AND METROS

Graham Jellett


Friday 14 October 2016 COLOUR AROUND HERE AND OWER THERE!

Translated - NEWCASTLE AND CARLISLE IN COLOUR

A tale in three parts told by David Dunn. We started close to home with a wide ranging selection of photographs in and around Newcastle. As well as steam and a few diesel locomotives, there were views of Tyneside buildings, trolleybuses and ships on the Tyne. This was followed by a further railway-focused selection in Carlisle. Following the vote of thanks and usual meeting business, the finale was a selection of items of infrastructure in the North East such as station buildings, coal drops and buffer stops. The photographer was also a modeller, and his eye for detail was clear in many of the photographs.


Friday 30 September 2016

ELECTRIFICATION: 25kV OVERHEAD LINE

Robert Daffern of Furrer+Frey GB Ltd opened with a brief history of overhead electrification and the technical and commercial drivers for its introduction. He then went on to describe the evolution of the overhead line and its associated structures and plant items in the UK, including some of his own experiences whilst working for Network Rail and more recently Furrer+Frey. A number of short film clips illustrated testing of new components and also dewirements. Robert's current assignment is on the Great Western Mail line electrification scheme and he showed some of the latest overhead line equipment including the solid conductor rail being deployed through the Severn Tunnel.

Friday 16 September 2016

BLYTH & TYNE RAILWAY: PART 1 – Rails Around Blyth

Ed Orwin

Friday 2 September 2016

THE NORTH EASTERN RAILWAY IN THE FIRST WORLD WAR

Rob Langham

Friday 6 May     2016

DEVELOPMENT OF THE A1 AND P2 LOCOMOTIVES

David Elliott, Director of Engineering for the A1 Locomotive Trust described the specification of the new-build P2 locomotive. With frequent reference to the design details of Tornado and the lessons learnt therefrom, David described the detailed design and development of the components of the new locomotive, which is to be named 'The Prince of Wales'. The talk was illustrated with a number of CAD drawings and photographs of the construction to date.

Friday 22 April    2016

JOHN WILSON CARMICHAEL, RAILWAY HISTORIAN AND MARITIME ARTIST

The Reverend Peter Barham recounted the results of his research on Carmichael, conducted whilst on a sabbatical from his ecclesiastical work. Carmichael was born at the very end of the eighteenth century in the Ouseburn district of Newcastle upon Tyne. After some spells at sea and an apprenticeship as a carpenter, he turned early in his adult life to full-time work as an artist and illustrator. Much of his work portrayed boats and ships, and is noted for its attention to detail and for its accuracy and Peter showed a number of paintings which included the River Tyne. He did however include railways in his portfolio, most notably a collection of illustrations of the Newcastle & Carlisle Railway in its early days. He also collaborated with John Dobson to illustrate some of Dobson's proposals and constructions in Newcastle, including the Central Station. In later life Carmichael moved to London and later to Scarborough where he died in 1868.

Friday 8 April    2016

STEAM IN NORTHUMBRIA

Ian McInnes gave a presentation of colour slides - mostly ColourRail - of steam in action from the Humber to southern Scotland. Most of the pictures were taken post-Nationalisation and covered main lines to humble branch lines. An entertaining evening of reminiscences.


Friday 18 March  2016

HITACHI RAIL EUROPE – ACHIEVEMENTS, PLANS AND THE CHALLENGE AHEAD

Jim Brewin, Head of Business Development, Hitachi Rail Europe Limited outlined the history of Hitachi Rail and highlighted its supply of high-speed trains for the initial Japanese Shinkansen. Hitachi Rail Europe's first supply into the British market was the Class 395 Javelin trains for Southeastern and contracts are now in progress to supply Class 385 EMUs to ScotRail and Class 800/801 for GWML and ECML services. Jim described a number of the technical design features of their products and their worldwide capability including the new production facility at Newton Aycliffe and the recent aquisition of Ansaldo Breda. He concluded with an outline of their product ranges and how they address the future market in Britain.


Friday 4 March  2016

AN EVENING WITH DAVID DUNN

David took us on a personal tour of Newcastle and the surrounding area with scenes in the (mainly post-WWII) steam era, including a number of his favourite locations and locomotives. Many of the views were supplemented with his reminiscences as well as those of the audience. Even a few buses and diesel locos crept into the presentation. David was warmly applauded for providing an entertaining evening. We were delighted to welcome a substantial number of visitors to the meeting.


Friday 19 February 2016

CENTRE ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING AND MEMBERS’ EVENING

A review of 2015, with reports from the officers and other members of the committee. Mike Richardson volunteered to be an Independent Examiner and a vacancy for a McDowell Trustee was unfilled. The evening concluded with some short presentations of 35mm slides by Alan Brooks and Bill Hampson.


Friday 5 February 2016

THE MINOR RAILWAYS OF THE BERWICK AREA

Roger Jermy commenced this latest episode in his review of the minor railways of Northumberland with a horse-worked line that conveyed stone from quarries at Huds Head to the quay at Spittal. Further artefacts near Berwick included a double tunnel in Tweedmouth and a tunnel under the ECML at Marshall Meadows that may have conveyed seaweed. Our tour then traversed a wide arc to the south west, ending in the area south of Wooler with a narrow gauge line serving sand and gravel quarries during WWII at Hedgeley.


Friday 22 January 2016

BLAND BLUE BOXES? – Part 3

Malcolm Snowball continued his review of what life looked like when BR rolling stock was painted blue. The scenes ranged from Inverness to Swanage with a good few in and around Tyneside, and depicted a time when loco-hauled passenger and wagonload freight trains were routine sightings on the network. Of particular local interest were DMUs operating the final days of BR trains on the South Shields branch. Malcolm closed his talk with a brief look at blue (and formerly blue) stock in the years since the corporate blue era ended, including the current preservation scene.


Friday 8 January 2016

REVIVING THE FRANCO-ETHIOPIEN RAILWAY

Phil Kirkland described the genesis and history of the meter gauge railway in Ethiopia from Addis Ababa to Djibouti. This line is currently substantially inactive and the whole line is being replaced with an electrified standard gauge line to facilitate transport of goods to and from the port at Djibouti and to substantially reduce passenger transit times. The planning for the new line and the methods being adopted by its Turkish and Chinese constructors were described, together with the country's plans for further phases of rail transport expansion across the whole country.


Friday 11 December 2015

CHRISTMAS FESTIVITIES

The evening opened with a presentation by David Dunn of photographs of each class of ex-LNER locomotives from A4 to U1. Malcolm Snowball then hosted the John Morris Photographic Competition. Members and guests viewed the 35 photographs entered into the Competition and cast their votes. The winning entries were announced as:

3rd  'Stopping by Request' by Malcolm Snowball. The Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway’s 2-8-2, River Mite, heading the 11.50 Dalegarth to Ravenglass arriving at Muncaster Mill to collect waiting passengers on Friday 12th June 2015.

2nd  'One of Scotswood's Finest' by John Irving. Newcastle-built Stanier Class 5MT 45231, The Sherwood Forester, on The Fellsman, 1T53 15.12 Carlisle to Lancaster at Low Baron Wood Farm, Armathwaite on Wednesday 10th June 2015.

1st 'A Battle Scene' by Malcolm Snowball. Battle of Britain class 34070, Manston, approaching Corfe Castle station on the Swanage Railway with the 14.40 ex Norden on Sunday 3rd May 2015. The photograph was taken from the adjacent castle’s remains.

In his closing remarks, the Chairman reported that announcements of our upcoming meetings will be broadcast under the Twitter hashtag of #NewcastleSLS.


Friday 27 November 2015

THE RAILWAY HOTELS AND INNS OF NORTHUMBERLAND, DURHAM AND CUMBERLAND

John Irving described how the public house owners of northern England were instrumental in creating the first railway passenger services in the World on the Stockton & Darlington Railway and how the relationship between pubs and railways has developed over 200 years.

Friday 13 November 2015

TWO YEARS IN THE LIFE OF A RAILWAY ENTHUSIAST – 1982 AND 1983

Malcolm Paul took the meeting on a tour of the railway scene in 1982 and 1983. Local scenes included Class 56 on coal trains and activity in Tyne Yard. Further afield we glimpsed a preserved railway in East Anglia, an open day at Carlisle Upperby and EMU maintenance in London.


Friday 28 October 2015

ARMSTRONG’S ALTERNATIVE ALPHABET

Richard Barber, Secretary of the Armstrong Railway Photographic Trust, presented a selection of photographs from the Trust's collection, captured by a variety of photographers. Subject matter ranged widely across Britain and across the decades since WWII. Steam, diesel and electric locomotives were interspersed between images of water, road and air transport.


Friday 16 October 2015

1960s AND 70s RAILWAY NOSTALGIA

Trevor Ermel's presentation chronicled his early engagement with the railway scene with black & white photographs from the '60's and colour from the '70's. Many were of local scenes and events in and around Tyneside and covered the final years of steam through to the second decade of mainline diesels in Britain with views of Deltics, Claytons and many more.


Friday 2 October 2015

NARROW GAUGE TAXONOMY

David Stewart-David outlined a variety of methods of characterising narrow gauge railways and used photographs from his own collection to illustrate the characteristics of a wide variety of railways from across the world. These ranged from miniature pleasure lines through 'conventional' mineral-carrying lines to conventional railways such as the Swiss Rhatische Bahn. Some railways using the Stephenson gauge were also included as examples of narrow gauge, such as the AVE lines in Spain, as they exist alongside a 'standard' gauge which is broad gauge!


Friday 18 September 2015

EARLY DIESELS IN THE NORTH EAST

David Dunn presented a selection of photographs of diesel traction from the 1950s to the 1970s. The subjects ranged from the ubiquitous shunters, through locomotives to DMUs. Along the way were some unique moments at the Central Station, including Kestrel and D6100 & D6101 en route from manufacture in Scotland to their initial workplace in southern England. There were numerous contributions from the audience throughout the presentation, including a number of declarations of 'I was there'.


Friday 4 September 2015

THE LATTER YEARS OF STEAM IN NORTHERN ENGLAND

The evening was a two-hander with Trevor Watson and Malcolm Paul. Trevor presented photographs he took in the 1960s, illuminated by his first-hand commentary on the subject matter. Firstly a 'Northumberland Railway Miscellany' covering steam in Northumberland between 1966 and 1968 and secondly 'Rail Rover Adventures' undertaken in seven consecutive days in August 1967 when he covered 1874 miles of rail travel. Malcolm then showed a selection of photographs taken from two albums he acquired in 2015. They covered steam from 1965 through to the end of steam on BR in 1968.


Friday 8 May 2015

BEAMISH TRAMWAY – THE FIRST 40 YEARS

Les Brunton, the Electrical Engineer of the Beamish Tramway Group, described the history of the Tramway system at the Beamish Museum. Starting with a short line between the museum entrance and the Town, the system has evolved into a complete loop circling the site and Les illustrated some of the construction works to achieve this. He also described the trams used on the system, from their aquisition - often in extremely delapidated condition - through one, and sometimes more, stage of restoration. He concluded with a brief review of other wheeled road vehicles including some trolleybuses.


Friday 10
April
2015

SCOTTISH RAILWAY RENAISSANCE

Bill Reeve, Commercial Director for Transport Scotland described the progress made by Transport Scotland in the period since its creation in 2006. Against the backcloth of the agency's strategic objectives, he described a number of the major initiatives including Class 380 procurement, Airdrie to Bathgate re-opening and electrification, Edinburgh to Glasgow electrification and the recent procurement of the Scotrail and Caledonian Sleeper franchises. In closing, Bill spoke as Vice Chair of the Railway Division of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers and described the annual Railway Challenge held at the Stapleford Miniature Railway.

Friday 10
April
2015
MEMBERS AND FRIENDS EVENING

The meeting commenced with a special event, the inaugural Stephenson Locomotive Society Literary Award which was introduced by SLS Journal Editor Brian Dotson. The Award was presented by Society President Dr Michael Bailey to Colin Mountford for his book entitled 'Rope & Chain Haulage - The Forgotten Element of Railway History' and published by the Industrial Railway Society. More information on the Society website.

The meeting then moved to the main business of the evening with a series of short presentations by members and friends. Trevor Ermel illustrated a number of his train journeys with all kinds of traction; Malcolm Paul gave a preview of a recently acquired photograph collection of a local enthusiast; David Sharp took a ride from Newcastle to Newcastle via Leeds, Skipton and Carlisle; Malcolm Snowball showed a selection of his favorite photographs, many in the local area; and John Irving reflected on Virgin Trains, their track record and possibilities for their new East Coast franchise.

Friday 20
March
2015
KiwiRail – Part 1

Phil Kirkland gave a brief outline of the history of New Zealand's railways including the privatisation and nationalisation in recent years. He followed with a resume of the motive power of the railways. We were then treated to a tour of the South Island's railways including heavy-haul coal (mined in NZ) and heritage/tourist trains.

Friday 6
March
2015
THE STREAMLINED TRAINS AND MALLARD’S RECORD RUN

Chris Nettleton from the Gresley Society described the gestation, birth and life of the LNER steamlined trains from Gresley's visit to Germany in 1933 to see the 'Flying Hamburger' diesel trains, through the trial runs with A1 and A3 locomotives which broke world speed records, to the construction of the A4 locomotives and the articulated sets of coaches. Chris described the three services that used the streamlined trains - Silver Jubilee, Coronation and West Riding Limited - including some ephemera from his personal collection such as publicity posters and menus. Chris diverted briefly to describe the (somewhat meagre) streamlining efforts by the LMSR, SR and GWR. The events of 3 July 1938 were described, including the secrecy surrounding the record-breaking attempt, the 15mph pw check north of Grantham and the 'controversy' surrounding the claimed maximimum speeds of 125 and 126mph. Chris closed by recounting the post-war life of the A4's, the articulated coaches and the beaver-tail observation coaches.

Friday 20
February
2015
CENTRE ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING AND MEMBERS’ EVENING

A review of 2014, with reports from the officers and other members of the committee. The evening concluded with some short presentations of 35mm colour slides:
Trevor Ermel - scenes from the celebrations of the 150th anniversary of the Stockton & Darlington Railway.
John Irving - stored redundant diesel and electric locomotives awaiting dispersal in 2004 - 2006 as a result of the closure of MoD Smalmstown.
Centre Secretary - a small selection of the Scottish maritime slides in the Bill Greenwood collection, a part of the Centre's archival collection.

Friday 6
February
2015
THE NORTH EASTERN RAILWAY’S SHILDON TO NEWPORT ELECTRIFICATION

Bill Donald returned with another NER electrification story - this time of the Shildon to Newport electrification. By way of introduction Bill described the context of this electrification scheme, including the growth of the electricity generation and supply network in North East England, and the criticality of coke to the iron-making process. A description of the electrical arrangements was followed by a series of fascinating photographs of varous aspects of the electrification scheme. Bill concluded with a short reprise on the Tyneside electrification with some recently discovered photographs of the early rolling stock showing in particular modifications made during their service life.

Friday 23
January
2015
BLAND BLUE BOXES? Part 2 – April 1980 to May 1982

Malcolm Snowball illustrated the varied scene on British railways in the early 1980's with a selection from his collection of colour slides. Despite the recurring blue livery of the locomotives the railway environment in which they operated was far from bland. Coal trains were well represented amongst the freight trains on show, including the famous Wath Yard as well as our own Tyne Yard. Parcels trains of varying lengths were composed of a variety of pre- and post-Nationalisation rolling stock. These were the final days of the Deltics which, although relegated to secondary routes, were still seen in abundance on Tyneside. Some of the then-new HST's crept into a number of Malcolm's slides. Particularly poignant were scenes on the Stanhope and Tyne line between Washington and Consett in the period after the closure of the Consett Steel Works.

Friday 9
January
2015

THE LONGMOOR MILITARY RAILWAY

Sapper Cecil J. Todd ‘23161557’ described the layout of this unique British railway by taking a journey from Bordon through Longmoor to Liss. Cecil was - in civvy-speak - a signalman on the LMR and vividly described the signalling and operation of the Railway from his first-hand experiences. He also portrayed some 'incidents' which, if nothing else, gave the Sappers some good practice in recovering from accidents! The origins and evolution of the Railway were also depicted and, in closing, Cecil brought the story up to date with recent photographs taken along the line of the former Railway.

Friday 12
December
2014

CHRISTMAS FESTIVITIES

The evening opened with a short, black & white and nostalgic film about York in early BR days. The Society General Secretary, Martin Green, then made a presentation on behalf of Council to Centre member Ian Spencer. In recognition of Ian's long term suport for Orion as principal driver and operator, he was presented with a painting of himself with Orion at Locomotion with 'Duchess of Hamilton' in the background. The painting was by the well known transport artist and Teeside Centre member John Wigston and was taken from the Les Paul photograph which came 2nd in the 2013 John Morris Photograph Competition.
John Irving then hosted the John Morris Photographic Competition. Members and guests viewed the 42 photographs entered into the Competition, covering steam, diesel and electric traction across England, Wales, Scotland, Switzerland and France. Votes were counted whilst Members and guests partook of seasonal refreshments in the Nicholas Wood Library of the Mining Institute. The winning entries were then announced as:

3rd  'High above the Wansbeck' by Mike Richardson. 66703 crosses the viaduct over the River Wansbeck at North Seaton on the Blyth & Tyne line with 14.15 Tyne Dock to Lynemouth power station coal working - 17 July 2014.

2nd  'Underground train' by John Irving. 67029 'Royal Diamond' with 91128 and a Mk4 set on 1E06 0650 Glasgow Central - King's Cross passing through Whitchester Tunnel - 11 October 2014.

1st 'Steaming down the S & C ?' by Malcolm Snowball. 60009 'Union of South Africa' is seen heading through Blaydon towards Low Fell and the ECML with 1Z69, the 15.35 Carlisle to York on 10 May 2014. The 12 coach train was tailed by 47237 and, although sporting a Cumbrian Mountain Express headboard, was forming the first part of the return leg of The Hadrian rail tour to Kings Cross.

In closing the Competition for another year the Chairman thanked in particular Philida Irving who is standing down after organising the catering for our Christmas meetings for many years.

Friday 28 November 2014
NORTH EASTERN RAILWAY – DUNSTON COALING STAITHS

David Fraser provided the meeting with a fascinating account of the history, construction and operation of the Dunston Staiths. Illustrations included maps, diagrams and plans of the Dunston area and its railway infrastructure together with an extensive collection of historical photographs. The staiths are the last remaining example of the NER high level wooden coal staith. Discussion following David's presentation included an update from the audience on the ongoing conservation work on the staiths which are both a Scheduled Monument and a Grade II listed structure.

Friday 14 November 2014 QUARRY RAILWAYS OF THE NORTH NORTHUMBERLAND COAST–Part 1

Roger Jermy commenced his talk at the Hare Crag quarries near Alnwick, and then moved on to Longhoughton, Howick, Little Mill, Craster, Newton and ended in the Seahouses area. Along the way we saw both standard and narrow gauge lines, steam, diesel and petrol engined locos, plus a crane or two and some horse operated wagonways. Roger placed the quarries in the local and, sometimes, national context, including a number of fascinating photographs of nineteenth century quarrymen.

Friday 31
October
2014
THE SOHAM INCIDENT – 2ND JUNE 1944

John Irving described the events surrounding this incident in which a wagon containing bombs caught fire and exploded. He illustrated the route taken by the train and the aftermath of the explosion at Soham station. There was particular focus on the people closely involved, two of whom - the locomotive driver and fireman - were awarded the George Cross for their gallant actions. John concluded with the story of how two Class 47 locomotives came to be named after the George Cross recipients, and the subsequent history of the associated nameplates.

Friday 17
October
2014
S.N.C.B. STATE RAILWAYS OF BELGES

Prof. Bill Hampson

Friday 3
October
2014
THE RAILWAY PHOTOGRAPHY OF MALCOLM DUNNETT

Malcolm Dunnett was a County Durham photographer who captured railways on film in the final years of steam in a style known as the 'new approach', an attempt by many contemporary photographers to portray railways as a part of the environment. Malcolm's vast collection of photgraphs is now in the care of the Armstrong Trust. David Dunn presented a selection from the collection, mainly centred on the North East of England. The collection had not been catalogued so there was much audience participation throughout the evening in identifying locations of the photographs.

Friday 19
September
2014

A YEAR IN THE LIFE OF A RAILWAY ENTHUSIAST – 1981

Malcolm Paul took the meeting on a comprehensive tour of mainline and preserved railways as they were 33 years ago. Many of his trips further afield were by courtesy of flexible ticketing arrangments and BR organised railtours. Local features included the demise of BR working on the South Shields branch, and lines and signal boxes in the Washington and Penshaw areas. Away from Tyneside we were treated to views of the Severn Valley, Keighley & Worth Valley and Strathspey Railways and to the railway scene in York and Edinburgh. Sprinkled throughout the meeting were views of the many Deltics then still in mainline service - it was their last year thus.





The Stephenson Locomotive Society - Newcastle upon Tyne Centre

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