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Reports

Event Reports

Harwich Mayflower Railway and Shipping Museum Opening - 15 April 2018

 

 

 

The B17 Publicity Stand at Harwich Railway and Shipping Museum 

The opening of the Harwich Mayflower Railway and Shipping Museum at Harwich Town station on Sunday 15 April coincided with the arrival of special train organised by Charity Railtours top and tailed by Class 37 diesel 37669 and Class 47 diesel 47506. The tour travelled up the GE mainline to travel rarely used lines to Sizewell Power station and to Ipswich Griffin Docks before running via Manningtree Junction to Harwich behind 47506. B1 61306 Mayflower originally scheduled to haul the train had been withdrawn after Network Rail gauging checks showed that it could not pass through Woodbridge station.

B17 SLT were represented on both the special train and at Harwich Town station. On the train, Richard Taylor co-hosted a train raffle with Stratford 47 Group. This raised a magnificent £777 which was split equally between the two train groups and MacMillan Cancer Support, the headline charity of the day. At Harwich the B17 stand (pictured) had been erected by the entrance to the museum and was manned by Geoff Starns and Eddie Savage enabling interested visitors to find out more about the B17 SLT project.

The museum was formally opened shortly after the arrival of the train by the Chair of Essex County Council and the Harwich Mayor. Also present were Tony Elliston, chairman of the Mayflower Heritage Trust, the Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Essex, the leader of Tendring Council and the Harwich town crier who opened the proceedings.

The museum is located in the previously derelict Harwich Town station buildings which have been leased to the Harwich Mayflower Heritage Centre for 25 years. The buildings have undergone a massive transformation; they have been designed to show the GER station at Harwich Town as it would have looked internally about 1924. The collection itself comprises some of the extensive and unique collection of railway artefacts and memorabilia amassed by local rail enthusiast and former railwayman Bob Clow over a period of some 50 years. His grandfather was an engine driver based at Parkeston shed who was allocated 2803 Framlingham which was his regular engine from 1928 to 1939. Further rooms in the South Wing of the station will be opened up in the coming months. Initially the museum will be only open on Saturdays whilst they train up additional volunteers to allow more extensive opening times.

It is hoped that there might be opportunities for B17 SLT to work with the Harwich Mayflower Heritage Centre in the future.

Severn Valley Railway Spring Gala 16 -18th  March

This three-day gala had a terrific line up of locomotives that included Tornado, King Edward II / B12 8572 / 7F 53808 / Standard 4MT 80072 and a couple of GWR panniers.

Richard Taylor and Richard Allsop arrived at Bewdley station on the Thursday to offload the stand items in readiness for starting the following day. On the Friday, the forecasted Beast from the East Mark 2 began to make itself known as the temperature plunged so both Richards took precautionary action and each quickly bought and mobilised a B17 beanie. The stand was located on platform 2, so was very close to the frequent arrivals and departures. The event proved very popular with standing room only in a number of trains. Good interest was shown in the B17 stand.

On Day 2 Brian Hall replaced Richard Allsopp who had to get back home. A wise move as the weather was on a turn for the worse and the day was punctuated by heavy snow showers and a bitingly cold wind. Having heard the forecast, the volunteers manning the adjacent Betton Grange stand had decided not to stay on and had departed the previous evening so your intrepid duo found themselves on their own. This was when a few layers, a B17 fleece and thermal long johns were order of the day. Still plenty of action on the tracks with heavy passenger numbers, so we were kept busy enough on the stand.

Come Day 3 on the Sunday we awoke to a 5 inch carpet of snow. The SVR Facebook page confirmed that a service would be running so we made our way along snow packed roads to Bewdley. Having seen 80072 arrive with a lightly occupied train, it was decided that conditions did not warrant mobilising the stand.  A few minutes later the B12 steamed in with the rake of Gresley teak coaches, so we boarded the train to Bridgnorth and took the opportunity to walk the train and hand out a good number of B17 tri-folds. After a short stopover in Bridgnorth, which included a look at progress on new build 82045 with B17 SLT member Gerry Bennett (who had frequently dropped by the stand), we returned to Bewdley behind the B12 before making tracks for home. For Richard Taylor, this meant being driven back to Essex in a Green Flag rescue transporter, as his vehicle had decided the cold weather was all too much!

All in all, a great event. Though unseasonal, it was a bonus for those that liked snowscape photographic opportunities! Thanks to the Bewdley station team under Stationmaster James Pearson who could not have been more helpful.

 

Railway – Autumn Steam Gala 13-15th October 2017 

 'Along South Western Lines' 

The above event featured visiting Locomotives Sir Keith Park (Rebuilt Battle of Britain) and GWR 2-8-0 No 2807. Other locos running included a Standard Class 4MT Tank and a Great Western Prairie together with a GW Pannier Tank which had been out on Charter to the Epping and Ongar Railway all summer. A full programme was run on all three days for the enjoyment of the visitors. 

The B17 Stand was on Platform 1 under the Canopy although the weather was generally fine, with limited showers and a breeze developing on the Sunday. The number of visitors picked up slowly on the Friday and we were very busy on the Saturday. Sunday morning was quiet but the afternoon produced a strong spurt of interest. In all a good three days realising significant funds for the Trust.                  

Over the weekend our Chairman, Brian Hall, was able to conduct four Guided Tours of the Workshop enabling visitors to see all the new build activity including 'Spirit of Sandringham'. These tours were appreciated by the visitors and realised significant donations for the Llangollen Railway. It was also satisfying for us to be able to assist our 'Host' Railway in this fashion as we are grateful for their support with our Chassis.       

Altogether a successful event and we look forward to our next visit to the Llangollen Railway. 

 

East Anglian 80th Anninversary – September 2017          

The 27th September 2017 saw the 80th Anniversary of the East Anglian named train from London to Norwich and return. This luxury service was introduced in 1937 to try to compete with road travel before the war. The train was hauled by 2 streamlined B17 locomotives which looked very similar to an A4 and the trains consisted of new 6 carriage sets providing restaurant service at every seat. A taste of luxury targetted at a new generation of discerning travellers.

 In order to mark this anniversary including the role played by B17 locomotives, the Trust decided to stage the biggest event yet. This involved a 3 day display Stand on Norwich, Ipswich and London (Liverpool Street) Stations simultaineosly. The planning for this event involved getting permission from Network Rail and Transport for London as well as providing enough volunteers for all 3 Stands. This was a remarkable effort, never mind the production of all 3 stands. As part of this Brian hall produced an 8 page Booklet to commemorate the Event. This was printed on glossy paper and was well received  by everyone including the public at large who were allowed to take a copy

Whilst we were allowed to collect donations from the public in Norwich and Ipswich, we were not allowed to do so in London because of the restrictions imposed by Transport for London. However the Stands were  generally open from 7am to 7pm each day requiring considerable volunteer effort. We were fortunate enough to meet a wide range of people, many of whom would not have come into contact with the Trust before. Thus we gained considerable new exposure to the Public and , hopefully, we may see an increase in Membership over the coming weeks/months.

We received considerable attention from the media including Radio Norfolk, Radio Suffolk, and the Network Rail twitter feed. The event also allowed us to make contact with some people of particular interest to the Trust like Driver Mace's daughter ( he was one of the Drivers on the first day of the service). Another example was Tony Alston who owns the land on which the Mid Suffolk Light Railway runs and we were fortunate enough to have an extensive conversation with him. In all, many interesting people including one elderly Member who decided that the best way to celebrate the Anniversary  was to retrace the journey undertaken by the original train. This he did in one day visiting all 3 stands at the same time.

No account of this activity would be complete without thanking all the Staff at the 3 Stations who went out of their way to be helpful and made the whole  undertaking so much more effective. I am afraid that Security is always paramount in public places and the Staff were extremely helpful in allowing us to access their systems and procedures.

Altogether a very successful event and showed that the Trust could organise a sizeable and effective promotional celebration. We look forward to repeating the exercise at some time in the future. This is a precis of the full Report which will be distributed to all Members with a copy of the 8 page booklet produced for the event and this 'send' will occur after the next Newsletter. The full Report contains details from all 3 locations together with information on contacts made.

Finally, many thanks to everyone who manned our Stands including at least one new Member attending  a B17 Stand for the first time!

 

B17 SLT Day Visit to the Llangollen Railway 12th May 2017

Friday 12th May dawned as an overcast morning with drizzle in Llangollen but not to be deterred, 41 Members and friends gathered on the platform at Llangollen station at approximately 10am.(see photo below). Everyone received a personalised programme for the day and the first group departed with Brian Hall, our Chairman, in order to complete the first shed visit. The remainder boarded the train for our first return trip.

The shed visit provided the opportunity to see 'Spirit of Sandringham' for real together with 4 other new build projects. All of these locos are in a different stage of completion and it was greatly encouraging to see the dragbox fitted to the Frames – albeit with temporary fixings. Brian was able to give an update on the current state of progress with regard to the frame stays etc.

During the return train trip we held our raffle (4 prizes including a signed print from Malcolm Root) and this was supported by members, friends and the general public on every one of the 3 return trips that day. As a result the raffle raised a record sum for the Trust. The winning raffle tickets are listed below.

The whole party reunited for the second trip and buffet lunch was served on the train including tea and coffee. This was enjoyed by everyone and was concluded with scones, jam and cream.

The third and final trip of the day was followed by the second shed visit and finally a number of members and friends retired to the Hand Hotel for an evening meal. Everyone agreed that the day had been very interesting, informative and greatly enjoyed by all.

Winning Raffle Ticket Numbers               

1st Prize       Yellow 613  To be claimed!                         2nd Prize      Green 753  Mrs c. Latham

3rd Prize         Pink 651     Mr. C Perceval                       4th Prize        Yellow 635  Mr. M Scott

 

                Some of the Members and Friends at Llangollen

Members and Friends around the frames with Chairman Brian Hall 

 

National Garden Rail Show - Saturday 8th April 2017

This year was the 40th Anniversary of the 16mm Narrow Gauge Modellers Association and the Show was held at the East of England Showground at Peterborough. It was attended by a record number of visitors and Fiddlers Green was exhibited on behalf of the Trust. We werre lucky enough to win one of the Awards and we generated interest in the progress made with 'Spirit of Sandringham'. The Collection tin certainly feels heavy and we are very grateful to all those people who contributed.

Midland Garden Rail Show, Warwickshire Exhibition Centre, 17th - 19th March 2017 

'Fiddlers Green' was invited to appear at the above Show and took along all of the appropriate B17 literature. The Show was well attended with visitors up on previous years. The smell and sound of live steam engines generated a lot of interest increased this year because of the use of R/C Steam whistles. It was interesting to see some of the people we met in Solihull in February and, of course, they were already aware of the B17 message! We hope to continue to spread the message in this way and our next venue is the National Garden Rail Show in April.

Great Central Railway Winter Steam Gala

We are off! First major promotional event for 2017 at the GCR Winter Steam Gala during the final weekend of January. Truly an atmospheric event aided by typical weather conditions for the time of year with the sights and sounds courtesy of 10 engines of which 9 represented the home fleet, the other being Q class No. 30541 from ‘The Bluebell.’ So plenty of action despite the cold winds with visiting members, supporters and sponsors calling by to speak to us - that’s Keith Crawford and Brian Hall during the whole 3 days. Always a worthwhile railway and event to support.

Home Locos operating 6990, 30777, 45305, 46521, 47406, 48624, 70013, 78018 and 92214. 6990 failed on the Friday with collapsed firebars but was repaired overnight and appeared in the line up from the Saturday morning and all day Sunday too.

National Members Day Out - 1st June 2016

The B17 Steam Locomotive Trust held its member’s day out on the North Norfolk Railway on Wednesday 1st June 2016. Members, family and friends had a grand day out once again. The day started at 10am and included lunch aboard one of the two trains we boarded; we also got a tour of the Engine shed!.

We had a wonderful day, the food was excellent, the journeys on the trains were great. We loved the Vintage set as this is where we had our cream scones & I was able to stand on the viewing platform on 'Eileen', & film the journey both ways.

The B17 Steam Locomotive Trust would like to extend its grateful thanks to all at the North Norfolk Railway for giving us a great day out again this year; their hospitality is much appreciated. 

Watch our video of the trains, the steam and experience the train trip there and back for yourself on our You Tube channel.