Dear Members.

I am sure you have all welcomed the relaxation of some lockdown rules. Many of you will now be able to meet up with family and friends. In the meantime, this weeks newsletter has a complete variety of stories and articles to enjoy. You may also like to look at the latest July Hornby Magazine which features our own Middleton layout, superb photos and an excellent article written by Mike Worsley.

Phil and Nigel

Please email all submissions to  or




This delightful re-creation of the old Saunders Orchid farm building in Camp Road, St Albans, provided a trip down memory lane for visitors to a models exhibition.
It was made by 65-year old Denis Moore (pictured above) so long ago he can hardly remember when, although he does recall that it took months of painstaking effort and patience to complete and forms part of a giant model railway layout. The farm buildings stood on what is now the site of St Albans and Stephen RC School.
“Before the buildings were demolished to make way for the new school I measured them and took photographs to get the windows right. Then I just got on with it” said Denis, of Valerie Close, St Albans.
As a founder member of the de Havilland Model Railway Club and president of the Chiltern Model Railway Association, he has this advice for budding model makers - “You don’t have to be mad, but obviously it helps.”  
Denis’s creation and many other model treasures were on show at St Albans City Hall at the weekend in the St Albans Model Railway Exhibition. Thousands of people attended, establishing it as a major show in the world of model-making.
In its second year at the City Hall, the exhibition went international featuring model railways from France and Germany and attracting visitors from as far as Ireland.
Organised by four local clubs, including de Havilland MRS and Mimram Modellers from Welwyn, 4,500 people viewed more than 20 layouts plus demonstrations and static exhibits.
Exhibition manager Jim Armstrong said: “It went fantastically, we were full the whole time and were absolutely shocked at the response. We were a little bit apprehensive about having it on both days but it went well beyond our wildest dreams.”
Exhibits included a church complete with crypt and organ and a flying snowman. “It was quality work and a top quality exhibition. I have heard nothing but glowing reports about it,” said Jim, a lecturer at de Havilland College, from Moorside, Welwyn Garden City.
“This is already a big event in this area but it’s spreading like wildfire across the country. The show can only go from strength to strength.”


The above article appeared in The Welwyn, Hatfield Times in early 1970 or late 1969. It was the second year of the St. Albans Model Railway Exhibition. Can anyone confirm the date?





A few years ago, a friend of mine told me this little salutary tale:

I decided to visit my sister who was living in France. I
assumed that most French would speak English. I found that many people spoke
only their own language and this included the ticket inspector on the train.
He punched my ticket, then chatted cordially for a bit, making several
expansive gestures. I simply nodded from time to time to show him that I was

When he had gone, an American tourist, also on the train, leaned forward and
asked if I spoke French.

'No', I admitted.

'Then that explains', she said, 'why you didn't bat an eyelid when he told
you that you were on the wrong train.'




Get your copy whilst stocks last.





Early Memories of Railways


Malcolm Olver


As some of you will know I was born and brought up in Northern Ireland, so my early railway memories are rather different from most club members. We did visit family on the mainland, which is how your bit of the UK is described there, so I also have recollections of British Railways in steam days. In between there were the rather old ferry boats such as the Ulster Prince and the docks at Belfast and Liverpool, which were also a fascinating sight in the early 1960s. Horse drawn drays and steam tugs, and cars being craned on board the ferries.



GNR S Class 171 “Slieve Gullion” at Great Victoria Street, Belfast, May 2001


My earliest memories of railways were meeting my grandparents off the Dublin to Belfast train at Great Victoria Street Station around 1960. In those days the platform ends were almost on the street and we were able to park our car right outside the station. The locomotives were in Great Northern blue, 4-4-0s most likely of the V, S or VS classes. Nearer home our local line was Belfast to Londonderry, formerly the Midland Railway Northern Counties Committee, then running as the Ulster Transport Authority. Steam locos were mostly the W class 2-6-0s and WT 2-6-4T with some earlier survivors from the Castle Class 4-4-0s. These were a version of the Midland 2P and one, Dunluce Castle, is preserved in the Belfast Transport Museum. I can remember standing on the footplate of a 2-6-0 at our local station and the firemen demonstrating how he sprayed water on the coal to keep the dust down.
Steam slowly disappeared leaving summer Saturday Sunday School excursions to Portrush and Orangemen’s specials as the mainstay of steam hauled passenger operation. The carriages were a motley collection used almost solely for excursion traffic, painted in UTA dark green. Diesel railcars of a variety of types provided most of the services. Belfast-Dublin trains were shared between UTA and CIE, the latter loco hauled carriages offering superior accommodation to the UTA ex GNR AEC and BUT railcars.



Ex LMS NCC WT Class No. 4 at Bangor with 1930s and 40s stock, May 2001.


The final steam operations in Ulster were the regular stone trains carrying spoil from a large quarry at Magheramorne near Larne, along Belfast Lough to where the M2 motorway was being built on reclaimed land on the seaward side of the railway. These trains of 20 specially built side discharging hopper wagons were headed and tailed by WT tanks and ran several times a day six days a week for many years. I used to see the trains in the distance at the discharge point from my bus to school.






The Trials of a Heritage Railway Cleaner


Saturday 21st December 2002.

Another Santa Special day with a 5am start. Duncan was the fireman who I have met before and Paul, a new name, was the driver. We set about lighting up etc. and I started cleaning in the dark at about 7.15. A quick clean that actually looked quite good. We were off shed at about 8.10 to start steam heating the coaches. Having just coupled up the powers that be decided to add another coach using the diesel shunter so we uncoupled again taking the chance to take more water. Waiting to come back on to the stock we found that the dolly (ground disc signal) had stuck and a call was made to the signalman to ask him to waggle the leaver.

The first train was at 10am and left a bit late, something that progressed through the day. By the way the engine was 75006 as expected. (The Swedish B class 4-6-0 was still under repair but the smoke box looked very nearly complete). The first trip was basically uneventful with 75006 blowing off on the way to Peterborough and struggling a bit on the way back to Wansford. (Remember that on the way to Peterborough the diesel is pulling and on the return 75006 is pulling).



Having taken water Duncan offered me the chance to fire on the 11.20. On the way to Peterborough it was a bit difficult to stop blowing off and with the boiler full priming occurred (the carry over of water from the boiler into the cylinders) a couple of times under Duncan’s instructions. On the way back it was a struggle to raise steam and the pressure dropped to 80 psi at one stage.

Back at Wansford we took water again and Duncan fired on the third trip at 12.40. Again pressure dropped on the way back to Wansford. Having taken water the signal man forgot us and we couldn’t back onto the stock! On the fourth trip at 2pm I fired again with a little more success this time.

Duncan cleaned the fire at Wansford as there was by now quite a lot of clinker forming and then rebuilt the fire. This time even on the way to Peterborough the pressure was only about 130psi. I explained this to the diesel driver during the token change at Peterborough (unbeknown to Duncan). Pressure was by now down to 70-80psi on the return journey (nice to know it wasn’t just me!). By now we were nearly half an hour late which had accumulated through the day.

Finally on shed at 5pm we found that the ash pan was totally full which probably contributed to the poor steaming. It was well gone 6pm before I finally left. It had been a long day started and finished in the dark and was quite cold particularly late on.






Many of you have been asking to see Phil's shed , so here is the outside. You may have to wait a little longer to see inside.






What started me on trains
by Phil Bicknell



When I was young; My friend across the road had a wonderful Hornby train set and finally Father Christmas brought me a Hornby-Dublo 2 rail  2-8-0- freight set with the usual oval of track. This progressed to a classic table top layout on a 6’ x 4’ board hinged to the wall above my bed. Around 1962 Ross next door who was a couple of years older than me took me train spotting! It would take over half an hour to walk to Southall station. We would stay all day sitting on the footbridge watching the steam and exciting new diesel locos thundering through the station. We would often bunk round the shed that is still in use today. Our other neighbour was a fitter at the shed and sometimes he would give us a cab ride up and down the yard in one of the DMUs.



With Richard one of my school friends we used to buy a Twin Rover (I think it was 10 shillings) at Hounslow West Piccadilly Line Station. On my back I had the obligatory duffel bag containing sandwiches, bottle of drink, notebook and pen, plus my Ian Allen spotters books and of course the pac-a-mac just in case!
( duffel bag a specific style of cylindrical, top-entry bag, usually made of canvas and with a drawstring top closure).



We would spend all day going round the London termini and sheds and further afield. I went to Swindon works and saw the Westerns being built. When my parents took me to see my aunt and uncle in Newton Le Willows a visit to the Vulcan factory was arranged and  the class 86 electric locos were under construction. I had also taken up bus and plane spotting (the 140 bus ride to Heathrow) from the end of my road. Utopia was Gatwick airport you could spot trains, planes and buses!  I had a great time, but this all came to an end when I was 14 as I got a Saturday job (and all the school holidays) working at the new C & A’s in Hounslow with Richard.






Have you heard of the Leyland Man?. 
Those of you who have been to Shuttleworth recently will undoubtedly have seen some of his work. His name is Mike Sutcliffe and he is an accountant. His passion is old buses and his skills in restoration are second to none.



All his buses were restored at his home, a 17th century thatched cottage in Totternhoe, near Dunstable, Beds, although some vehicles are on loan to museums, e.g. British Commercial Vehicle Museum at Leyland, and Manchester Museum of Transport and more recently some have been sold to the Shuttleworth Collection. Over the years he has restored 20 vehicles, dating from 1908 to 1934, mainly early Leyland buses, but also including a 1910 York tram. The buses are some of the oldest in preservation, many on solid tyres, and include the oldest restored British-built motorbus, a 1908 Leyland double-decker. The collection also includes a 1914 ‘Torpedo’ char-a-banc, the only surviving example, and a White Rose 40-seat Leyland SG7 of 1923.



I was lucky enough to visit his collection in 2007 with my car club, the Bed and Herts Vintage and Classic Car Club, BHVCCC for short. At the time of our visit he was still working on one of his final projects.



There is also a book called ‘The Leyland Man’ – The history, rediscovery and resurrection of the early Leyland omnibus - written by Mike and published by The Crowood Press in 2003 featuring most of the buses and showing the restoration process. I have this book if anyone would like to borrow it.





See a few more pictures of Mike's buses by clicking HERE.







If you have missed one of our Newsletters you can find them on our website



Answers next week.


All the following are parts of the human body.
e.g. Question - Canal path           Answer -Toe

1. Instrument
2. Flower
3. Student
4. Tree
5. Place of worship
6. To mend
7. Have it with bacon
8. An animal
9. Young deer
10. Fish
11. Red ships
12. They need a hammer
13. Fit for a king
14. Find it in a shoe
15. An adhesive
16. Offal
17. A shark
18. Measurement
19. Party
20. Conceited



Answers to last weeks quiz.



1.  Cannon Street

2.  30th April 1972

3.  4-4-0  1757  Beatrice

4.  Charing Cross

5.  Crewe North

6.  Russia

7.  1893

8.  11.11.1830  on the Liverpool & Manchester Railway

9.  Lancashire & Yorkshire, 23 at Grouping plus 4 joint with the London North Western

10. After the fall of France it became impossible to get the paper rolls

11. Georgemas Junction

12. Chelpham Viaduct