The Colonel 120
The Colonel 119
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,
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.
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
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
* 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!