Our Past Events
The Rebuilding of Sir Nigel Gresley
SPEAKER: Darrin Crone
Darrin covered the move to York from Grosmont, then described the dismantling, refurbishment and reassembly of the engine. He indicated the complexity of skills and facilities available for the work and gave reasons for putting various components out for contractor overhaul including the boiler and wheelsets. He described the value of using the NRM workshop and volunteer labour for the project.
Changes to the rail services in South Wales
Colin Brading, is a regular speaker at our winter series, he gave a lavishly illustrated talk on changes to rail services in South Wales. Looking at the history of the valley lines from mass coal production to the decline of industries in the 1960s, Colin is working on revitalising the passenger services in the lines leading down to Cardiff.
Colin also posed the question as to what this apparatus was for; answers ranged from "something for pigeons to sit on" to "a line for hanging out the crew's washing".
The answer of course was somewhat technical:-
Data from "Tank Locomotive for the Taff Vale Railway", Engineering, Volume 39 (27 March 1885), pp. 266, 312-314.
T Hurry Riches served for years as the TVR's locomotive superintendent and from the start seems to have sought the best performance from all of his locomotives. Better known for a long string of 0-6-2T engines, the TVR built this trio four-coupled with bogie tanks in 1884-1885.
Riches adopted a "special form" of blast orifice that may have been unique. The orifice opening could be enlarged by 1/2" (12.7 mm) and shortened by "a couple of inches." He reported that experiments showed that "this blast has enabled goods engines to work at a reduction of fuel of as much as 4 lb to 5 lb per mile compared to the ordinary form of blast.
180 photos taken in 1962/3 as steam was being withdrawn
Brian Holland, assisted by his technician Michael Chapman, shared some 180 photos taken in 1962/3 as steam was being withdrawn. Travelling all over the UK, the range of topics covered was superb. With what seemed like an encyclopaedic knowledge of every detail of every image, he enthralled us with date, day, what he was doing and even why he'd gone there to take each picture. The four examples here are but just a snippet of the 'journey' Brian took us on in those far off days. Superb!
Top left is Jubilee 45669 Fisher, at Nuneaton on 25.9.62 as overhead catenary is being constructed. Steam locos would soon have an ugly yellow stripe across their cab sides to denote whether they could operate under wires.
Top right is O2 63977 at York with a train of oil wagons. Didn't steam locos have to have a barrier wagon when pulling inflammable tankers?
Lower left is unnamed Britannia 70047 double-heading with diesel 10000 at Bletchley.
Lower right. No review of the end of steam would be complete without a scrapline view, and here 0-4-2 5815 awaits its end at Swindon.
Holding the line: Female Railway Workers in WW2 by Susan Major
Susan Major gave a fascinating talk, together with audio clips about Female Railway Workers in WW II, which featured the voices of women recorded by the Friends of the National Railway Museum, discussing their wartime railway experiences. During World War II women took on railway roles which were completely new to females. They worked as porters and guards, on the permanent way, and in maintenance and workshop operations. Many were working in ‘men’s jobs’, or working with men for the first time, and these interviews offer tantalising glimpses of conditions, sometimes under great danger. Her talk included women working in the York area: Betty Chalmers was a telephonist when York Station was bombed, and Nellie Nelson was a porter there. Guard Gladys Garlick helped bring a train to a stop after a V2 had blown a huge hole in the track (V2 flying bomb that is....not a Gresley 2-6-2!).
LNER Guard Gladys Garlick and colleagues Rita and Irene at Bowes Park 1942-43 (National Railway Museum/ Science & Society Picture Library)
A GWR wartime travelling porter (University of Leicester Special Collections)