'The Colonel' is an informative journal containing, News, Reviews, Reports and articles about the life and times of Colonel Holman Fred Stephens and the railways he was involved with.

It is produced quarterly and delived free to members of the 'Colonel Stephens Society'

The Colonel - Journal of the Colonel Stephens Society

The Colonel 147

Summer 2022

The Colonel 146

"Spring 2022

The Colonel 145

Winter 2021

The Colonel 144

Autumn 2021

The Colonel 143

Summer 2021

The Colonel 142

Spring 2021

The Colonel 141

Winter 2020

The Colonel 140

Autumn 2020

The Colonel 139

Summer 2020

The Colonel 138

Spring 2020

The Colonel 137

Winter 2019

The Colonel 136

Autumn 2019

The Colonel 135

Summer 2019

The Colonel 134

Spring 2019

The Colonel 133

Winter 2018

The Colonel 132

Autumn 2018

The Colonel 131

Summer 2018

The Colonel 130

Spring 2018

The Colonel 129

Winter 2017

The Colonel 128

Autumn 2017

The Colonel 127

Summer 2017

The Colonel 126

Spring 2017

The Colonel 125

Winter 2016

The Colonel 124

Autumn 2016

Colonel 147 has articles concerned with the AGM weekend.  There are brief histories of the Selsey Tramway and the Isle of Wight Railways.  There follows articles about the walk following the trackbed of the Selsey, the Society AGM and the visit to the Isle of Wight Steam Railway.  It includes a ride on the rebuilt Drewry Ryde Pier Tramway car and the visit on Sunday to Brading Station museum.  There is the next part of Jon Clarke’s series on private owner wagons used on the Shropshire and the Montgomeryshire Railway.  Also there are the usual features of News and Events, Dispatches, Press Digest and a Book Review of “Unfinished Lines”.  Finally there are a few extra snippets including a very unusual wagon label from the Burry Port and Gwendraeth Valley.

The cover of Colonel 146 shows Saint Michael’s tunnel on the KESR just outside Tenterden.  Inside the Colonel includes all the usual features of news and letters from members.  There are the officers’ reports for the AGM in May and details of the AGM weekend at Selsey and on the Isle of Wight.  Articles include a profile on William Austen – Stephens’ chief assistant and successor after his death, there is a 1961 trip from Robertsbridge to Tenterden in a goods brake van behind a diesel powered goods train a month before the line closed.  There is an account of the coal and mineral business of the Weston, Clevedon and Portishead with details of the quarries and their locomotives.  Jon Clarke continues his articles on Shropshire and Montgomery Railway private owner wagons with details of the domestic coal wagons from Welsh collieries.  On the subject of coal there is a breakdown of the coal wagons received at Tenterden in 1904-6 from a surviving ledger – fascinating details of where the coal came from and who supplied it. There is a book review on “Engineering Richborough” the story of Richborough port with its connection to the East Kent Railway.  Finally there is an article on the names of the locomotives on Stephens’ railways and the location of the surviving nameplates.  All this for a tenner a year for four issues plus our monthly Zoom lectures and annual AGM weekends. 

The cover of Colonel 145 shows a demonstration gravity slate train on the Ffestiniog Railway during their October 2021 vintage weekend.  Inside the Colonel includes all the usual features of news and letters from members.  Articles include the use of the K&ESR’s Pickering steam railcar on regular service trains, a note on permanent speed restrictions on the K&ESR in BR days and a last word on the location of Selsey driver Tim Johnson’s home in Selsey.  ‘Blast from the Past’ includes a walk along the WC&P after closure, two trips over the  K&ESR in 1947 and 1954, and a 1932 visit to the Selsey tramway.  There is a note on Shapeways’ 3D printed coaches and wagons for the Rye and Camber Railway.  Jon Clarke continues his articles on Shropshire and Montgomery Railway private owner wagons with details of the wagons from Welsh collieries which supplied the railway with loco coal. Bob Clifford looks at the teenage Stephens summer visit to Germany in 1886, through the letters he sent to his parents.  Ralph Gillam adds some extra information on the East Kent Railway missed by the recent book on the railway.  Howard Carey provides captions to some photographs of the WC&PR, while we finish with a short article on the Garstang and Knott End Railway.  All this for a tenner a year for four issues plus our monthly Zoom lectures and annual AGM weekends.  For this year’s AGM in May,  it is proposed to visit the remains of  the Selsey tramway and the preserved portion of the Isle of Wight Central Railway on which Stephens briefly served as chief engineer.

In Colonel 144 Les Darbyshire summarises his talk about his model railway layout “Maidstone Road” and David Powell writes about his talk on the early professional career of Stephens.  Other articles cover new museum acquisitions:-  letters from the parish council about the building of Hole station on the North Devon and Cornwall Junction Railway plus some photos of the rebuilding of Torrington viaduct for the ND&CJR.  A new book on the East Kent Railway is reviewed, plus an article on EKR wartime passenger numbers and another piece of paper found in the hut at Shepherdswell in 1948. Dana Wiffen lists all the Societies connected with Stephens’ railways.  There is a discussion of a  letter which provide the background to Stephens’ likely involvement with the BCR.   The story of another minor railway, the Rowrah and Kelton Fell, is summarised and society co-founder Jon Clarke writes about the private owner quarry wagons that worked over the Shropshire and Montgomeryshire railway.

We also include the usual news from Stephens related railways, Society news including future Zoom talks, some modelling notes and letters to Dispatches.  All in all this is another interesting issue of the Colonel.  

Colonel 143 has an account of the virtual AGM this year using a live Zoom meeting.   This went off well with 25 participants.  Read about it in Society News.   As the Society intends to host monthly Zoom meetings I have included a few photos of Les Darbyshire’s famous model railway layout “Maidstone Road” that will feature in our second talk.  David Powell will use the first one to talk about the early professional career of Stephens.  If you’re interested join the Society!

The North Devon and Cornwall Junction Railway makes rare appearances in this issue and the old East Kent Railway gets some coverage too.   As most of the membership seems interested in other minor and light railways, I have kicked things off with a short history of the Cleobury Mortimer and Ditton Priors Light Railway.  This was one of the few which became a modest success story because of its mineral traffic.  It was quickly grouped by the GWR, unlike the Bishop’s Castle for instance.  When the mineral traffic finished it nearly closed, but was saved by the Admiralty building a war time ammunition depot which ensured it continued to operate until 1965 when it was the last Light Railway still operating independent from British Railways with its full 12 miles length of track still in use.  Oakwood Press have a line history.

We look at the growth of road traffic in the 20th century which impacted dramatically on most branch line railways.  Also how the rapid increase in houses with electricity in the 1930s provided the opportunity for small scale electric model railways.  We also include the usual news from Stephens related railways, Society news including the Zoom AGM, some extensive modelling notes and letters to Dispatches.  All in all another interesting issue of the Colonel.  

Colonel 142 has a personal recollection of a trip on the Selsey Tramway, the North Staffordshire Railway’s interest in rebuilding what later became the Shropshire and Montgomeryshire Railway, some notes on an East Kent Railway apprentice, a new book on the origins of the Kent and East Sussex Railway- “Change at Robertsbridge” by David Penn and the unsuccessful attempts to save the two veteran Royal Saloons owned by the K&ESR and S&MR.  There is a fascinating 1920s aerial view of Chichester showing the Selsey tramway station plus the usual news from Stephens related railways, Society news including the committee’s reports for the AGM, a Zoom meeting being planned for this plus some on-line talks; and some extensive modelling notes and letters to Dispatches.  All in all another interesting issue of the Colonel.   

Colonel 141 has the usual features of preservation news, new model railway items and summaries of some of the preservation societies’ magazines.  Sadly six members were reported as dying in the last year and we include two obituaries.  Alan Cliff, a retired Methodist minister, Bala Lake Railway supporter and prolific author is probably best known for his “Jack the Station Cat” books.  Bob Alderman worked in aircraft design but was a first class 7mm modeller who built a beautiful model of a Ford Railcar that featured in Colonel 122 amongst many other achievements.

The cover features a post card of the Peckett 2-4-2T built for the Selsey tramway, specially produced for the company in 1905.  The 1994 sale advert of the house lived in by former Selsey driver Tim Johnson is also featured.  An article cover events at Salford Terrace during the months before Colonel Stephens’ death in 1931.  Another is of memories of two trips over the ND&CJR, the Southern Railway’s last light railway built by the Colonel, just before its closure in 1964  and 1965.  A 1915 wagon census form for the K&ESR is discussed and so is the background to Hamilton Ellis’s picture of an Ilfracombe goods loco at the S&M’s Shrewsbury Abbey station in 1912. 

Book reviews cover “The King of Light Railways”, “The East Kent and Knees Woodland Railways and lists Colonel related books by other publishers.  The committee agrees that non-Stephens railways will be covered occasionally as space permits.  Dispatches discusses including non-Stephens material, the livery colour of Selsey coaches and some YouTube references to films of the Selsey Tramway.   Other articles cover a forgotten Stephens’ petrol locomotive experiment, through tickets from London to Selsey by the LBSCR via the Selsey Tramway and Nesscliff station on the “Potts” (the S&MR).   Hopefully members will enjoy this issue and this synopsis may attract some new members.

I hope everybody is well and not too frustrated by the current situation.  I seem to have been as busy as ever but have managed to get a bit of railway modelling done before the garden, house maintenance and the Colonel etc started to take up my time.

I think we have quite a varied Colonel this time with a couple of articles on the Selsey tramway, a newspaper cutting advertising for a conductor on the Rye and Camber, a couple of articles on the K&ESR plus a review of the new Rails “Terrier” and a couple of articles on model railways. There are some more recent photos of the caustic soda tank train at Folly Lane Sidings, Weston Point Light Railway at Runcorn and a long article on JC Buckwell, a proponent of Light Railways in Kent and Surrey.  The old Wolseley Siddeley railcar body once at Kinnerley features on the rear cover plus a couple of interesting old photos inside.  Of course there are the usual features on the current scene—not a happy situation for preserved railways.  They are gradually reopening but with limited services and limited revenues.  Try to support them if you can, though most of us are in the high risk age group! 

There is also a letter suggesting extending the coverage of the Colonel to all the small independent railways pre-nationalisation and asking for comments.

Nothing to do with Colonel Stephens but I was entertained for five minutes by this whimsical youtube video shot in the lockdown.  Try opening youtube and searching for Sheffield Riviera Express.  Searching for the link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5eH8dyPAc3k    may also work if you can be bothered

This issue coincides with the closure of the Weston, Clevedon and Portishead Railway 80 years ago in 1940.  The Weston to Clevedon section only opened in 1897 and the line to Portishead only in 1907, so the northern section only lasted 33 years.  Thus this issue has rather a WC&PR flavour.  Howard Carey, son of WC&PR guard Dan Carey provides us with two articles.  He recalls the final days of the WC&P and the second is a general chat about his memories of the line with a final excursion into his career on British Railways.  We have some WC&P timetables from the later years plus some photos.  Other articles cover a visit early in the year to the remains of the Weston Point Railway at Runcorn and the development of Tenterden Town station on the K&ESR.  All this and the usual Society news, modelling notes, letters and press digest.  As the AGM has been cancelled this year we also include a virtual AGM with full transcripts of officers reports plus instructions about the proposed minor changes to the constitution.

Colonel 138 includes some articles on topics rarely covered in the Colonels.  As well as all the usual features there are photos of some unusual tickets and an all line pass for the Colonel’s railways.  There is news from the Gwendraeth Valley railway, several features on the Shropshire and Montgomeryshire Railway- Locos used by the War Dept, some 1981 colour photos, an unusual stock consignment and the obituary of James Ramsay who was chairman and managing director in the 1930s.  There is a personal account of a trip on the Sheppey Light Railway with a brief history and description.  Book reviews cover one on the 1896 Light Railways Act and a new book on the Bishop’s Castle Railway.  There are articles on the staffing and pay of the K&ESR on the eve of nationalisation and some photos of a recently restored Great Eastern Railway Brake Third similar to one used on the K&ESR.

The winter edition of the Colonel includes all the usual features and is now in full colour.   Members are reminded that this will be their last magazine unless they renew their £10 annual membership!   In the News section it is reported that the East Kent Railway has suffered a damaging arson attack.  There are updates on the KS4415 and Drewry railcar restoration projects, happenings on the K&ESR, the WHR/FR, the proposed Tarka line, The Colonel Stephens museum, the proposed cycleway along part of the WC&PR, the WC&PR Group’s new book, their new Christmas card and the small exhibition on the railway at Weston museum. 

Details of the AGM weekend next June at Beamish are given.  Articles include photos and a description of the last days of the oil depot at Shrewsbury “Potts” station, pay and staff on the K&ESR in 1945, the “S” scale layout “Arcadia”, the takeover by the EKR in 1916 of the part-built railway, the story of Captain Cloutman – a colleague of the Colonel and a review of the WC&PR Railway Group’s new book on the railway “Then and Now”.  There are lots of letters and lots of news of new model railway items for the Colonel’s lines plus a review of Hornby’s new “Terrier” loco in 4mm scale in comparison to the old Dapol/Hornby one. 

Hopefully something for everybody and well worth the annual subscription!

Colonel 136 is the first one to be printed entirely in colour, though of course many of the old photos are still in black and white! As well as the usual features there is part 1 of an article on the surviving Stephens’ family correspondence concerning the young HFS from his birth onwards. Ralph Gillam remembers a 1958 Stephenson Locomotive Society trip over the soon to be closed Shropshire and Montgomeryshire Railway (S&M). Ross Shimmon reviews a new book on the Festiniog Railway’s locomotives. There is brief summary of the history of the Corringham Railway, more photos showing the likely origin of the S&M’s locomotive “Severn” and some notes on the remains of the FR’s Dinas branch at Blaenau Ffestiniog. Lots more items cover many topics related to the Stephens’ railways.

Colonel 135 has all the usual features. The 2019 AGM is reported as well as our activities over the AGM weekend. Ralph Gillam remembers a later trip to Tollesbury and confirms that EKR coach 10 finished up at Selhurst depot. The editor finds out what a challenge Stephens faced in converting the narrow gauge East Cornwall Mineral Railway to Calstock Quay into a standard gauge branch line from Bere Alston. Bob Clifford relates that Stephens stored a veritable arsenal of firearms at his parents’ house. Brian Janes provides the background to the building of the Rother Valley Railway and also gives the most likely history of the Shropshire and Montgomeryshire’s veteran locomotive “Severn”.  

I hope you enjoy this issue of the Colonel.  Two new books both authored by Brian Janes are reviewed in this issue and featured on the cover. Inside Howard Carey provides another of his fascinating articles on the Weston, Clevedon and Portishead Railway with some useful information for modellers on the seating arrangements in the small Drewry No. 1 railcar and the trailer which was used for both railcars.

There are four different accounts of the origins of the Shropshire and Montgomeryshire’s elderly saddle tank “Severn” from various books.  In the next issue Brian Janes will publish the results of his investigations into its origins. 

Still talking about the “Potts”, Blasts from the Past summarises two articles.  The first concerns the story of the three ex LNWR “Coal” engines that worked most of the traffic in the 1930s.   The second covers a 1931 visit that finished with a high speed run in the Ford railcars in order to make a connection at Llanymynech.

Ralph Gillam provides another fascinating account of his first visit to Shepherdswell in 1948, just after nationalisation had occurred, with details of the deserted site that he wandered over before the train crew returned from the pub!

“Press Digest” includes more information on Ffestiniog signalling, the state of the track in the 1960s.  Why were the curves so heavily canted?  The stock of the original Festiniog Railway wagons is reviewed.  “Dispatches” mentions other little railways in Essex.  Was the young Stephens inspired by France’s secondary railways during his stay in France?  Was the new railmotor book rushed?  Should we have more drawings of Stephens’ railway stock?   

We also have our regular features of news, railway modelling developments and Society news.  This includes details of the AGM weekend activities based at Bere Ferrers at the start of the Gunnislake branch – the last Stephens line still running a passenger service on the national network.   

The colour photos include recent views of Shrewsbury Abbey station, Stephens’ birthplace at Hammersmith Terrace, blue diesels at Weston Point and on the rear cover two more 1960s photos from Tom Burnham.

Colonel 133 includes our usual round up of news both in the Society and the wider world of Stephens’ railways.  It is 150 years since his birth but I’m sure he, and the Salford Terrace staff, would be delighted that his railways are still remembered and that even in 2018 parts of them are still running.

In this issue Brian Janes sorts out the very complicated story of Rother Valley and K&ESR coaches prior to 1914, while Richard Barton describes how he built an RVR rake of coaches from etched brass and plasticard.  “Blasts from the Past” features a cache of early 1950s Drawings of Stephens’ stock in the “Model Maker” magazine discovered by Ian Cross.  Brian Janes has also found a possible new loco that ran on the WC&PR—see “The Mysterious Hecate” on page 27.  There is also an account of the teenage Stephens stay in France and the usual interesting letter and emails in Dispatches.

There are also some photos of Howard Carey’s Weston, Clevedon and Portishead Railway collection of fascinating paperwork and memorabilia.  There are several book reviews including the new and much enlarged edition of the book on Colonel Stephens’ Railmotor available to members at a reduced price from Nigel Bird.

Colonel 132’s cover features the blue plaque to commemorate Colonel Stephens recently erected at Tonbridge station.  There is more about the event inside.  Besides our usual features Ralph Gillam concludes his story of a 1950 coach trip with a visit to the Kelvedon and Tollesbury Light Railway, where he rode in the former Wisbech and Upwell tram car.  There is a feature on the early Great Eastern coaches, bought bythe Rother Valley Railway, and the Pickering specification for the three bogie carriages supplied to the Kent and East Sussex Railway in 1905.  Were the third class seats arranged longitudinally along the coach walls or were they the usual two plus two type with a central gangway?  Both options were offered.  “Press Digest” includes more information on Ffestiniog signalling in the 19th and 20th century.  “Dispatches” adds more information on Ford railcar gearboxes and confirms that the giant “Boche-Buster” gun did reach Halwill Junction at the end of the North Devon &Cornwall Railway, but probably never ran over the line.  However it was briefly stationed on the East Kent Railway.  A photo of the 1978 staff reunion of Stephens’

surviving staff and its accompanying letter makes interesting reading.  There are someinteresting photos of the WC&PR with a thought on what traffic might have been intended for Wick Saint Lawrence wharf.  The book of the diaries of the Southern Railway’s Gilbert Szlumper and Leo Amery is reviewed as is one on Sebastian Meyer, the “Light Railway King of the North”, hardly remembered today, but a man who built nearly as many light railways as the Colonel.  Finally the back cover has

two evocative colour photos from the 1960s of Fallgate Quarry, the last vestige of the Ashover Light Railway

Colonel 131 features an account of the AGM and the AGM weekend activities.  The cover portrays the latest museum acquisition, a set of K&ESR coach transfers, rather elaborately shaded.  Other features include a list of the Colonel’s unfulfilled schemes and some more WC&PR photos with comments from Howard Carey, the son of one of the guards.  Modelling notes has lots to report- an OO “P” Class and a new proposal for an OO “Terrier” plus 3D body models of various Stephens’ prototypes.  “Blasts from the Past” records a proposed Hunslet steam railmotor for the Westward Ho and Appledore Railway, while Ralph Gillam recalls a 1950 coach trip to visit the Coryton Light Railway.  There is a 1979 obituary of Arthur Iggulden, Stephens’ railways accountant, and a 1917 timetable for the East Kent Railway.  All this plus the latest news from the various Stephens connected railways and restoration projects, Press Digest of articles about Stephens’ railways and Dispatches which includes a letter on “Boche Buster” the 18” howitzer used in Kent to deter a Nazi invasion in 1940, being based on the North Devon & Cornwall Junction Railway where it fired at least one shell onto Dartmoor.  The editor doubts this but has since found he was wrong!   See the next Colonel for the full story

Colonel 130 seems to mention most of the Colonel’s railways.  As well as the usual News section, AGM details etc there is an article by Andy Probyn of Maxitrack of his connection with Stephens’ railways.  In particular he knew Bill Austen Junior through their common interest in model engineering.  There is a colour photo of Bill Austen Junior in the centre pages.  Chris Grove of the Tamar Belle discusses the Colonel’s dealing with Cornwall and locos with connections to Cornwall.  An article features Crich Tramway museum’s near derelict London horse tram body that seems very similar to “Gazelle’s” horse tram trailer.  Modelling Notes has a WC&PR bias but Press Digest has a nice photo of a calf being unloaded from the trailer of the Selsey Tramway.  There are obituaries of two former CS members – John Spencer and Richard Casserley.  The Ffestiniog Railway Heritage Journal features an article on therailway’s connection with the armed forces, especially the First World War, when two employees and two former employees were killed and several invalided out due to wounds or serious illness.  There are more details about the FR’s Ulster born directors.  The “Tenterden Terrier” has an article on Kent & East Sussex Railway in

the early 1930s showing how important to the railway was the former Southern Railway “Camelback” tank engine acquired in the early 1930s.  “Dispatches” has more thoughts on whether the Revd. Awdry in his school days near the K&ESR saw “Shropshire and Montgomeryshire Varnished Rubbed Down Ply” on some of the K&ESR coaches.  There are also more photos of K&ESR cattle wagons and some thoughts on what they might be.  Some interesting photos of the Weston, Clevedon and Portishead Railway have explanatory captions by Howard Carey and a nice photo of Rye Harbour shows the former Rye and Camber “Golf Links” station.   Finally we have an article on building a “Terrier” tank loco for a garden railway using 3D printing.

Colonel 129 has a wide range of articles.  We catch a glimpse of a twilight moment on the East Kent Railway, how the Shropshire and Montgomeryshire Railway nearly acquired two ex-LSWR 4-4-0 locos, the last advertised passenger service on the S&M in 1936, the origins of S&M wagon 49 and was Stephens the origin of the “Fat Controller” in the Awdry books?  Find out why the Ffestiniog “Fairlie” acquired the name “Livingston Thompson”, proposals for passenger carriages for the Snailbeach District Railways, Howard Carey provides some interesting captions to photos of the Weston, Clevedon and Portishead Railway plus supplying some diagrams of the various lettering to be found on WC&PR wagons, there is an interesting photo of a fruit train being loaded at Calstock on the Plymouth, Devonport and South West Junction before 1914, and another blueprint view of a further Great Eastern cattle wagon design that may have ended up on the Kent and East Sussex Railway.  All this plus our usual news, modelling and magazine reports of the Colonel’s railways.    

Colonel 128 has all the usual society news from railways and preservation groups with a Colonel connection.  There are details of two Selsey tramway film clips, and the arrival of the replica Ford railmotor at Tenterden.  In Society news are details of possible blue plaques for the Colonel, the WC&PR centenary model railway show at Portishead Leisure Centre on 22nd October 2017 and next year’s May AGM weekend.  Articles include a 1930s account of a journey on the K&ESR, the last passenger services on the “Potts” (Shropshire & Montgomeryshire), the contents of the sidings at the “Potts’” Kinnerley shed in 1937, track drains on the Ffestiniog and what details are known about the elusive K&ESR cattle wagons.  Colour photos include the replica railcar, the body of the old Wolseley railcar in the 1970s, 1960s photos of K&ESR stations at High Holden Road and Junction Road.  Details of the new 7mm coach kits for Stephens’ railways from Alphagraphix, the delightful 7mm Dapol “Terrier” tank model in WC&PR livery from “Antics” and the 4mm version from Hornby using the old Dapol moulds with all their inaccuracies and even getting the livery wrong with gold lettering rather than yellow.  There are also book and CD reviewsThe Colonel 127

Colonel 127 has all the usual features.  It includes an account of our 30th AGM and our AGM weekend visits to the Mid Norfolk and North Norfolk preserved railways.  The last passenger timetable for the Shropshire and Montgomeryshire railway is explained together with an account of a trip over the line in the early 1930s.  We also have an account of a 1956 trip on a coal train over the East Kent Railway.  Blasts from the past has an account of the EKR in the 1930s, the Selsey Manning Wardle locos and details of Southern Railway locos hired in to work the K&ESR.  Tom Burnham has notes on the Colonel’s Wolseley Siddeley and his 11 HP Brasier cars.  There are details of early Festiniog loco liveries and about the FR’s second manager, John Hughes.  There are notes on the post Great War story of the loco that became EKR No. 5, the Adams Radial Tank, how the Selsey Tramway was considered as an alternative location to the Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch and confirmation of Stephens’ birthday as 31st October 1868.  There are two previously unknown photos of the K&ESR wagon 13, and ex SER Cattle Wagon and reviews of  three recent books and a DVD.

Colonel 126 has all the usual features of news of Stephens related railways and the Society.  Articles feature the mysterious “tin saloon” centre car for the Ford railmotor at Selsey, a 1939 visit to the Shropshire and Montgomeryshire and theories about the origins of the name of Locomotive “Morous”.  Modelling notes features details of new products and Stephens themed layouts.   There is a plan of WC&PR 2-4-0 “Clevedon” and more information on the KESR’s Pickering steam railmotor.  “Blasts from the Past” features East Kent Railway passenger services to Sandwich Road and a 1946 trip on the KESR. Dispatches has letters on the WC&PR small Drewry railcar trailer, the ex-LCDR 0-6-0T hired to the EKR in 1944 to 1945, the derailed Selsey train photo in the last issue, and the last BR passenger train to Tenterden in 1960.  The new book on the Portmadoc, Beddgelert and South Snowdon Railway is reviewed, a line on which work started but faded away until it was replaced by the Welsh Highland Railway in the 1920s.

The cover for this issue has a colour photo of the last British Railways’ train to Tenterden, Kent and East Sussex Railway, in 1961 as part of a response to a member’s query about this train and what locomotives worked it.  Inside there is more about the origins of the short-lived Weston, Clevedon and Portishead Railway locomotive “Portishead”.  It looks increasingly likely that it was originally “North Western” of the Jersey Railways, with some convincing photos showing the two locomotives from a similar viewpoint.  There are tales of 1940s visits to the Snailbeach, a 1948 visit to the East Kent railway and a 1952 visit to Tenterden and Rolvenden stations.  A 1933 Shropshire and Montgomeryshire timetable and a 1937 WC&PR one are featured.  The colour centre spread shows the locos for the last BR trip to Tenterden taking water at Robertsbridge and then some recent photos of preservation progress at Robertsbridge including the erection of a new water tower.  There are notes about the man behind the building of the Welsh Highland Railway, Mr. Jack, plus details of next year’s AGM, and all our usual features about recent news, modelling notes and letters.

The Colonel 123

Summer 2016

The Colonel 122

Spring 2016

The Colonel 121

Winter 2015

The editor’s liking for the current scene on Colonel Stephens’ related railways has surfaced with some colour photos of Class 66 locos leaving Runcorn from the remains of the Weston Point Light Railway on the front and rear covers.  The centre spread colour also includes a recent photo of a Class 153 single unit working the Gunnislake service over the remaining portion of the Plymouth, Devonport and South West Junction Railway.

As well as our usual features of news and events we also have some interesting articles.  There is a personal account by the late Bill Willans on his memories of assisting with the trials of the pioneer Kerr Stuart diesel loco no. 4415 on the Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland Railway in 1928-9. There is a report of ticket issuing by the guard walking along the outside of the coaches on the Kent and East Sussex Railway about the time of the First World War; the likely livery of the East Kent Railway’s Adam’s Radial Tank in the 1920s is discussed prior to the issue of the Oxford 4mm model of this loco in EKR livery; and some information on PD&SWJR wagons bought from Pickerings.  There are interesting photos of the Selsey Tramway station at Chichester, the derelict Boston Lodge works of the FR in 1953 and the rolling stock of the Rye and Camber Tramway.  There are more letters than usual adding information to articles in previous Colonels plus some interesting summaries of articles from vintage magazines.  All in all an interesting and well balanced issue! 

The summer 2016 “Colonel” contains articles on the AGM and the weekend visits.  These were to the Leighton Buzzard Narrow Gauge Railway for a trip behind their Baldwin 4-6-0 778, a bus tour along the course of the former Brill branch and a visit to the Quainton Road site of the Buckinghamshire Railway Society.  An article looks at the origins and possible identity of the WC&PR loco “Portishead” that briefly served on the railway in the early 1900s.  Other articles consider the large WC&PR Drewry Railcar and that railway’s ex-Metropolitan coaches.  There is the latest news on the societies dedicated to Stephens’ railways and reports of new ready to run models with Stephens’ connections.  An article tells the story behind a vintage Rye and Camber Motor Rail loco model.  Two booklets on the Ashover and Bishop’s Castle Railways are reviewed, as is the latest Festiniog Railway Heritage Group Journal, and two recent articles about the former PD&SWJR.  This now forms the Gunnislake branch from Plymouth.  “Blasts from the Past” reports on locos in use on the wartime K&ESR as well as three model railway items from 1981 and the early 2000s.  Dispatches includes a splendid photo of the former “Walton Park” as rebuilt and in industrial service in the 1950s and Dana Wiffen explains the strategy of the current EKR developments.  There is also a reference to a film clip of the WC&PR in the 1930s and three lovely 1935 photos of WC&PR locos at Clevedon shed.    

This issue begins with the sad news that well respected author and keen Society member Stephen Garrett has died after a long battle with cancer.  He was a modest and helpful man with a huge knowledge of the K&ESR and the EKR who we’ll miss.  He made many contributions to the Colonel over the years and was a regular attendee at our AGM weekends where he was always very friendly and helpful.

On a happier note Brian Janes has written an interesting article on the men of the Shropshire and Montgomeryshire Railway volunteer fire brigade.  Other features include an expenses form for the 1951 AGM of the Snailbeach Railway, the origins of the K&ESR Pickering steam railcar, some recent colour photos of the remains of Wick St Lawrence wharf and several views of “Bodiam” both the real loco and the recent Dapol 7mm model.  There is an article on the operation of the Selsey tramway when split into two by the 1910 floods, a possible photo of the Colonel on the deck of the “Lily”, plus two more of him in civilian clothes plus some fascinating letters on recent topics in the Colonel.  There are also our regular news feature, Society news and AGM details, modelling notes and two book reviews. 

Sadly as this issue went out there was more sad news that long term Society member Colin Shutt had died of pancreatic cancer just a few days after it was diagnosed.  His last days were spent in ensuring that his replica Ford railmotor and mostly complete Ford rail lorry would find a good home in the Colonel Stephens Museum.  He was another kind and helpful man who made many contributions to the Colonel and was a regular AGM attendee.  Many of us can remember riding in the Ford railcar at our AGM on the K&ESR a few years ago.  The photo of the month shows Colin about to crank the engine over at this event.

The Colonel 120

Autumn 2015

The Colonel 119

Summer 2015


Spring 2015

Colonel 117 Winter 2014

Colonel 116 Autumn 2014

Hopefully we’ve another interesting issue to entertain and educate you all!  Just when we thought after 30 years that we knew all we were going to find out about the Colonel, we received an article on his plans for a Light Railway in Ireland!  It was thwarted by the First World War and the subsequent “Troubles”. 

We continue the Society’s 30th anniversary theme with an article about the committee and name a few long-serving members.  Howard Carey provides some more fascinating insights into the carriages and wagons of the Weston, Clevedon and Portishead Railway.  There is a newspaper report on the abandoned Shropshire and Montgomery Railway from the 1890s.  We also have a history and update on the Ryde Pier Drewry tramcar project supported by the Society.  I’ve published, in vignette form, all the known civilian photographs of the Colonel that the museum possesses, of which there are surprisingly few.   “Blasts from the Past” summarises two fascinating articles from ancient “Railway Worlds”.  The first is about the fascinating Torrington and Marland industrial line, preceding and later feeding the North Devon and Cornwall Junction Railway.  The second article has some interesting stories from the wartime Shropshire and Montgomeryshire Railway. 

All this plus our usual features of News and Events, Society News, Book Reviews, Press Digest, Letters and Modelling Notes (with a photo of the new Dapol O gauge Terrier in K&ESR blue livery).  We report the unveiling of new information board on the Weston, Clevedon and Portishead at the site of Worle station.  Finally we report the 150th Anniversary of the Bishop’s Castle Railway opening.  Commemorative plaques were unveiled by local dignitaries at Craven Arms Station and near the station site at Bishop’s Castle.  This was a much quieter affair than the opening in 1865 which had floral arches, bands, fireworks and feasts.  As the local paper said at the time, it was the next best thing to a public hanging.  The line was soon in receivership, where it stayed until closure in 1935, and even the Colonel decided it was in too bad a state to take it on.

Colonel 120 celebrates the Society’s 30th year with our usual 32 page A5 size Journal having 4 pages of colour photos.  There are articles by our two founder members:- one about anecdotes of his visits to the Shropshire and Montgomery Railway while the other relates the author’s life after leaving the Society.  The autumn 1939 Weston, Clevedon and Portishead Railway timetable is discussed with comments by Howard Carey, son of one of the railway’s guards and always an enthusiast for the line.  Howard also explains the train services in the 1930s, the uses of the coaching stock and the locomotives, with notes on their liveries.  The WC&P is the setting of the Society’s Christmas card which shows the loco Hesperus with one of the American style coaches.  Other short articles cover the motive power on the Snailbeach District Railways, the last 50 years of operations on the Weston Point Light Railway and a trip on the North Devon and Cornwall Junction Railway not long before it and the much busier lines to Bude and Padstow all shut.  “Blasts from the Past” catalogues articles and features on the Colonel’s railways in “Railway Bylines” magazine with brief summaries of the articles.  There are also a few more interesting snippets from old magazines.  There is a review of Jonathan Clay’s new book of and about his locomotive paintings with the proceeds going to the Railway Children’s charity.  All this plus our regular features:- News and Events, Press Digest, Society News, Modelling Notes and Dispatches (letters).  Join now for four issues of the Colonel for a tenner!

The cover features members at the AGM weekend enjoying their reserved carriage on the restored section of the narrow gauge Lynton and Barnstaple Railway high up on Exmoor near Woody Bay Station.  This was nearly 3 miles and a 1000ft above this failed Victorian holiday resort.

    Inside Ross Shimmon writes up the fascinating story of East Kent Railway No. 5, the Adam’s Radial Tank, which survives today on the Bluebell Railway.  Two manufacturers are due to release models in 4mm scale of this attractive engine this year.  It was built in 1885 for London outer suburban fast passenger services by the LSWR.  It was first put on the scrap line in 1914, made redundant by electrification – now over a century ago!  It has survived 4 close encounters with the scrap man over its long life.  Stephens bought it very cheaply for the EKR in 1923 as back up loco to haul the heavy coal trains from Tilmanstone Colliery.  As the Oakwood Press book on the railway says: “looking for a sturdy workhorse it seems to have found a retired racehorse instead”.

   The Society reaches its 30th anniversary this year, with its AGM in Barnstaple.  The AGM news reported a slight decline in membership and an appeal for new blood on the committee who are all getting long in the tooth.  A £500 grant had been made to Colin Shutt to help produce the rail wheels for his replica Ford lorry as used on the Selsey and Shropshire and Montgomery lines.  Allen Morgan had listed all currently available kits of Stephens’ railways prototypes and this has been added to the website.

There are visit reports of our AGM members’ weekend coach trips.  These followed the routes of the North Devon & Cornwall Junction Railway, the last branch line to open in the UK in 1925 and engineered by Stephens, and the Lynton and Barnstaple narrow gauge railway, closed in 1935.  Brief histories of both lines are included.

Colour photos show various current scenes on the ND&CJR and the L&BR, plus new exhibits for the Colonel Stephens museum - a scratch-built KESR train presented by Steve Hannington and a diorama of Ashover Butts made by Laurie Cooksey, both superb models.  There is also a recent photo of DB Schenker 60092 and caustic soda train on the remains of the Weston Point Light Railway.

There are also our usual regular features of News & Events, Book Review, Modelling News and Press Digest and Dispatches (letters and emails to the editor).   

4 issues of 32 pages a year for a tenner, plus an excellent members weekend, must be good value,

Albyn Austin,

   The cover features an early 1950s colour photograph of the Shropshire and Montgomeryshire Railway, S&MR, platform at Llanymynech where it made a junction with the former Cambrian Railways’ main line.  Inside a second article completes the story in the Pickering records at Glasgow concerning the hand crane and runner supplied to the Kent & East Sussex Railway, K&ESR. The son of the former Guard on the Weston, Clevedon and Portishead Railway, WC&PR, Howard Carey, shares his memories of Wick Saint Lawrence and Clevedon Wharves where sailing vessels unloaded cargoes up to the Second World War.

   The centre spread colour photos include two views of the Wick Saint Lawrence wharf and adjacent river bridge remains in 2005, when the Society visited the site.  There are also two early 1950s colour photos of the Criggion branch bridge of the S&MR across the Severn, [now a road bridge] and a view of Luckett station on the former Plymouth, Devonport and South Western Junction Railway with a local train waiting at the platform. 

   There are two 1922 views of the incline on the Edge Hill Light Railway, one of Stephens lesser known lines.  “Test Les and Brian” looks at the mystery saddle tank locomotive used to help reconstruct the S&MR in 1910-11. 

   There are also the usual regular features including News and Events which lists progress at all the preservation sites on former Stephens lines. Other news concerns plans by the Isle of Wight Steam Railway to rebuild the Drewry railcar they own which worked on Ryde pier but which is very similar to the Drewry railcar on the WC&PR.  There is also a proposal to build a replica of “Moel Tryfan” the 0-6-4T which once worked on the Welsh Highland Railway.

   Society news features details of the AGM weekend in Barnstaple and the new Society website.  Modelling Notes includes the welcome news that “Steam &Things” are back in production of their 4mm and 7mm scale etched brass kits of various Stephens’ railways rolling stock and railcars.     

 ** Despatches

There is still time to buy Society Christmas cards.  There are 5 different K&ESR designs, a bargain at £5 a pack of five, complete with envelopes. Available from Mary Garner, Avalon, Deansway, Chippenham, Wilts, SN15 1QY.

Last but by no means least subscription renewal forms are included for those who haven’t yet renewed. Complete it and return it if you wish to receive the next issue!

A 1955 vintage colour picture on the cover of PD&SWJR Calstock viaduct as an 02 on the branch train crosses it.  Fortunately the viaduct still remains in use for passenger trains on the Gunnislake branch to this day.

Another helping from the RY Pickering Collection at the Glasgow University Archives considers the K&ESR mobile hand crane from the initial enquiry in 1902 till the crane was finally ordered in 1904. The order included details of liveries and lettering. There is also a general arrangement drawing of the first crane proposal from the HMRS Pickering archive.

Aldwyth, a preserved Manning Wardle K Class tank engine, has a photo feature and a colour view on the back cover. Sister engines worked on the S&M and the Selsey tramway.  Then Ian Dack explains how he builds 6 wheel chassis for his coaches with enough movement in the wheel sets to negotiate his layout curves.  There is more discussion about the origins of the intriguing wharf at Wick Saint Lawrence on the WC&PR.

The now traditional centre spread of photos features two rare colour shots taken on the Shropshire & Montgomeryshire in the 1950s, and a 1955 view of an 02 and train on the PD&SWJR.  The new colour leaflet for the Colonel Stephens museum is also featured.  An atmospheric view of two boys on Clevedon WC&PR station with the sheds in the background shares a page with a view of K&ESR No. 4, the ex L&SWR Beyer Peacock saddle tank.  A Colonel Miscellany has a 1919 letter from the Colonel re the long saga of some cast iron slippers, a picture of the Meole Brace booking office sign discussed in Dispatches and a photo of the ex - Potts 2-4-0T sold on when operations were suspended in 1880.  The line then hibernated until the Colonel reopened it in 1911 as the S&MR. Colin Shutt adds more to the saga of Ford railcar radiators discussed by Brian Janes in Issue 116 with some notes and photos on the various “after- market” Ford radiators available, one type appearing on the S&MR. Blasts from the Past has a couple of fascinating anecdotes from the Mid-Suffolk Light Railway which looks a likely venue for the 2016 AGM.  All this and the regular features:

 ** Society News

 ** News & Events

 ** Modelling Notes

** Blasts from the Past

 ** Book Reviews

Russell Returns to Steam

"Russell" steams again! The latest issue of 'The Colonel' (No.116, Autumn 2014) celebrates the return of this iconic Welsh Highland engine with a colour picture on the cover, plus a news item inside.

Editor Albyn Austin continues his 'Pickering Pickings' arising from another visit to the RY Pickering Collection at the Glasgow University Archives with his friend Steve Bell. Among the items identified were orders from Stephens for a second hand ex-GWR goods brake van which then "seems to have spent most of its life in a siding". Another order was for 3 second-hand ex-Lambourn Valley passenger coaches for the H&MST. The order included details of liveries and lettering. Several mysteries arise. What happened to the coaches between their withdrawal from the Lambourn line in 1904 and their reappearance at Brighton works six years later? And were they really tested on the K&ESR before delivery to the HM&ST?

The now traditional centre spread of photos features three rare colour shots taken on the Shropshire & Montgomeryshire in the 1950s, one of which shows the ex-LSWR royal saloon in faded blue livery.  This year's Christmas cards are also featured - 5 different designs this time, a bargain at £5 a pack of five, complete with envelopes.

Reminiscences are always a popular feature of 'The Colonel'. The second instalment of OH Prosser's notes of his visit to the KESR in 1947 will be no exception: "About twenty people joined at Junction Road Halt where tickets are inspected. Hundreds of hop pickers were at work along the lines ..."   We must be grateful that Mr. Prosser and other enthusiasts took the trouble to visit the Colonel's line and record their experiences. The railmotors favoured by the Colonel always generate fascination. Brian Janes contributes some notes and photos on the various radiators sported by the Ford versions. The Rother Valley's planning application for the reinstatement of the line between Robertsberidge and Junction Road has now gone in. A copy of our chairman's letter in support of the application is reproduced in full. The result is expected in October.

 All this and the regular features:

 ** Society News 

 ** News & Events

 ** Modelling Notes

 ** Museum Developments

 ** Test Les & Brian

 ** Blasts from the Past

 ** Book Reviews

 ** Despatches

Last but by no means least subscription renewal forms are included. Complete it and return it to ensure receipt of the next issue!

Colonel 115 Summer 2014

Colonel 114 Spring 2014

Have you ever been on a three-centre holiday? Well about 40 members enjoyed a three-centre Members' Weekend in May.

Fully reported in the latest issue of The Colonel, the weekend started on the Friday with a guided walk at the newly-named

Robertsbridge Junction. Mark Yonge took us along the recently-laid track and explained the next steps. All

this is reported by Graham Lager, who included some reminiscences of childhood escapades at Hodson's Mill involving

the P class tank now resident on the K&ESR. The Society has never made a formal visit to the East Kent Railway, so this year's

trip on the line in their class 101 DMU to Eythorne and a little way beyond was eagerly awaited. This, and the shuttle coach to our AGM venue at Crabble corn mill,

the tour of the remains of the rest of the EKR in a restored East Kent Road Car Co. double decker bus are all recorded by John Simmonds, a one-time resident of the area. The final day of the weekend, fully reported by Joe Whicher, started in the former Maidstone bus station, now acting at the station refreshment rooms at Tenterden (have you noticed the bus theme of this weekend. Colin Smith,

one of our guides, remarked on how knowledgeable our members are about buses!). Joe reports on the visits to the Carriage & Wagon Dept, the tour round the station site

with Brian Janes and, of course, the tour of the museum. The final event of the weekend was a ploughman's lunch on the train to Bodiam followed by a ride in the SECR birdcage coach

included in the train especially for us. A nice selection of colour photos taken during the weekend appears in the centre spread. 

Members will know that this is the first issue with new editor Albyn Austin at the helm. Not content with editing the contributions of others, he has included a fascinating illustrated piece on

ex-North London passenger brake van hanging on by the skin of its teeth at Appleby Station Heritage Centre. Similar vehicles were used on both the KESR and EKR.

A much earlier visit to the East Kent, in 1947, was recorded by the late O H Prosser, reproduced in this issue, courtesy of the Welsh Highland Heritage Group. Prosser included a brief description of

gravity shunting at Wingham (Canterbury Road). In an extended 'Test Les & Brian' feature, the use (or non-use0 of brake vans is fully discussed prompted by an enquiry by Alan Cliff.

All this is supplemented by regular features:

* Press Digest

* Blasts from the Past

*Jackson's Jottings

* Museum Notes

Contributions from Howard Carey are always treasured. This issue contains a valuable piece responding to the article by the late Pearce Higgins on the last day on the WC&PR. It ncludes a lot of fascinating details.

Howard also identifies the location of the mysterious sign donated to the Museum by Kerry Baylis. He has even made a super little drawing to explain its position.

Members' Weekend this year is based at three venues; Robertsbridge, Shepherdswell and Tenterden.

The full itinerary is in this issue and a booking form is enclosed with the copy sent to members.

It needs to completed and returned by 12th April.

The agenda for the Society's AGM, to be held at Crabble Corn Mill, River, Dover, on Saturday 10th May, is in this issue.

Dave Harris recalls the early days of the struggles to restore the East Kent Railway; we shall see how they are getting on when we visit.

The main feature is 'Travels in the land of the Red Dragon', a personal account of a series of visits to the Welsh Highland by

Steve Bennion. The centre spread features 'before and after' colour photos of iconic places on the line.

David Powell finds a Stephens look-alike light railway in operation in Suffolk. Richard Barton tells the story of a Sharp Stewart

locomotive that ran on the WC&PR, while Brian Janes reports on his research at the NRM into notes made by Selwyn Pearce-Higgins

on the last days of the railway.

The latest edition of 'Test Les (and Brian)' explains how stock was moved between the various railways managed by the Colonel.

Our regular peep behind the scenes at the CS Museum at Tenterden reveals that a RVR notice of Christmas services in 1901

has been discovered stuffed up a house chimney! You'll be able to see it if you take part in the Members' Weekend in May.

Another recent acquisition on view will be a sign from Clevedon on the WC&PR announcing 'The Station'.

It was retrieved by our very own Kerry Baylis from a man who was downsizing his collection.

Elsewhere there is news of the Sheppey Light Railway possibly re-opening as a footpath, new buffer stops arriving at

Colin Shutt's railway, the return to steam of the WHHR's 'Russell', an obituary of John Snell, railway preservation pioneer,

and the good news that the new bridges at Robertsbridge survived the winter floods unscathed.

Our regular columns,  Blasts from the Past, Press Digest, Dispatches and Jackson's Jottings round off this issue.

Finally, there's piece that seems to escaped from an April 1st issue in the railway press which suggested that Holman Hunt ran the EKR!