Further to our last newsletter, and the promised relaxation of lockdown after the 21st June, we have been in contact with the church. We are now looking to reopen the club on Wednesday 23rd June subject to the Indian variant and Boris. We will maintain a register of attendees, provide a sanitising station and some helpful reminders of the rules we need to follow. We assume the majority of you will by then have had your second covid jab. However, members may wish to continue wearing masks and maintaining some form of social distancing.
In the meantime, we have another newsletter which I am sure you will all enjoy reading.
Keep safe
Phil and Nigel

PS As we are now getting very short of new material, if you have anything to sell or would like to share an interesting story or pictures please send them to us.




Please email all submissions to  or





Part 4


Tuesday 30th May

Today after breakfast we walked to Wernigerode locomotive works for a private guided tour at 9.00. The works maintains all of the Harz locos and also other narrow gauge loco from various railways. It is well equipped and able to perform just about any required task. New apprentices are employed and trained by the older members of the work force ensuring that vital knowledge is passed on.



Wernigerode loco works

We were presented with a Harz orange high visibility jacket which was ours to keep. Mine is hanging in the model railway room, unlikely to ever be worn again. After the tour we joined a train at the adjacent station ready to storm the Brocken.


Map of the Broken showing how the line circles round the summit to gain height


The Brocken, also sometimes referred to as the Blocksberg, is the highest peak of the Harz mountain range and also the highest peak of Northern Germany; it is located near Schierke in the German state of Saxony-Anhalt between the rivers Weser and Elbe. Although its elevation of 1,141 metres (3,743 ft) is below alpine dimensions, its microclimate resembles that of mountains of about 2,000 m (6,600 ft). The peak above the tree line tends to have a snow cover from September to May, and mists and fogs shroud it up to 300 days of the year. The mean annual temperature is only 2.9 °C (37.2 °F). It is the easternmost mountain in northern Germany; travelling east in a straight line, the next prominent elevation would be in the Ural Mountains in Russia.

Today the Brocken is part of the Harz National Park The railway, the climbs to the railway station at the top on 1,125 m (3,691 ft).

FM-radio and television broadcasting make major use of the Brocken. The old television tower is now used as hotel and restaurant. It also has an observation deck, open to tourists.


99-7239-9 at Broken Summit


Ascent, construction and use

The railway was opened on 27 March 1899.Brocken station is one of the highest railway stations in Germany lying at a height of 1,125 m above NN (3,691 ft). In 1935 the Deutsche Reickspost made the first television broadcast from the Brocken using a mobile transmitter and, in the following year, the first television tower in the world was built on the mountain; carrying the first live television broadcast of the Summer Olympics in Berlin. The tower continued functioning until September 1939, when the authorities suspended broadcasting on the outbreak of World War 2.


During an air attack by the United States Air Force on 17 April 1945 the Brocken Hotel and the weather station were destroyed by bombing. The television tower, however, survived. From 1945 until April 1947, the Brocken was occupied by US troops. As part of the exchange of territorial (specified at the Yalta Conference) the mountain was transferred to the Soviet occupation zone. Before the Americans left the Brocken in 1947, however, they disabled the rebuilt weather station and the television tower.

The ruins of the Brocken Hotel were blown up in 1949. From 1948 to 1959 part of the Brocken was reopened to tourists. Although a pass was required, these were freely issued. From August 1961 the Brocken, which lay in East Germany’s border zone, immediately adjacent to West Germany, was declared a military exclusion zone and was therefore no longer open to public access. Extensive military installations were built on and around the summit. The security of the area was the responsibility of the border guards of the 7th Schierke Border Company, which was stationed in platoon strength on the summit. For accommodation, they used the Brocken railway station. The Soviet Red Army also used a large portion of territory. In 1987, the goods traffic on the Brocken Railway ceased due to poor track conditions.

The Brocken was extensively used for surveillance and espionage purposes. On the summit were two large and powerful listening stations, which could capture radio traffic in almost all of Western Europe. One belonged to Soviet military intelligence, the GRU and was also the westernmost outpost of the Soviets in Germany; the other was Department III of the Ministry for State Security in the GDR. The listening posts were codenamed "Yenisei" and "Urian". Between 1973 and 1976 a new modern television tower was built for the second channel of the GDR-TV. Today it is used by the public Zweites Deutsches Fernsehen (ZDF) television network. The Stasi (East German secret police) used the old tower until 1985, when they moved to a new building – now a museum. To seal the area, the entire Brocken plateau was then surrounded by a concrete wall, built from 2,318 sections, each one 2.4 tonnes (2.6 short tons) in weight and 3.60 metres (11.8 ft) high. The whole area was not publicly accessible until 3 December 1989. The wall has since been dismantled, as have the Russian barracks and the domes of their listening posts. Today the old tower beside the lodge again is home to a weather station of the Deutscher Wetterdienst.

Following the fall of the Berlin Wall beginning on 3 December 1989 the Brocken was again open to the public during a demonstration walk. With German reunification there was a gradual reduction in border security facilities and military installations from 1990. The last Russian soldier left the Brocken on 30 March 1994. The Brocken summit was re naturalised at a cost of millions of euros. It is now a popular tourist destination for visitors to the Harz.

(courtesy of Wikipedia)

The line from Wenigerode climbs up to the junction at Drei Annen Hohne. From here it starts to climb more steeply on an almost continuous gradient to the summit. There is a passing loop at Schierke and further on there is another passing point which is of some interest. There is no loop only a siding into which descending trains run. This is more or less on the level so is somewhat higher than the main line. An ascending train runs straight past after which the descending train reverses back out of the siding and continues it’s descent. (interesting model perhaps?).


99-7247-2 at Goethwig. Our train is in the siding from where the photo was taken


Arrival at the summit was just past 12 midday. Time for lunch and a visit to the museum before returning to Drei Annan Hohne on the 2.00 train. Arrival at Drei Annan Hohne was at 14.50 and a pleasant hour was then spent watching and photographing trains arriving and departing. Not all trains up the Broken start from Wernigerode. Those terminating at Drei Annan Hohne connect with trains from Wernigerode to Eisfelder Talmuhle but even some of those swap locos with those on the Brocken to allow for servicing at Wernigerode. All in all a miniature version of Clapham Junction!


99 7237-3 at Drei Annan Hohne                    99 247-2 at Drei Annan Hohne


Returning on the 15.50 arrival at Wernigerode was at 16.30. After dinner we found another bar opposite the railway station which has a ‘G’ gauge railway running around the tables delivering the beers. An interesting end to another interesting day.


99 5902-4 and 99 5901 at Wernigerode        99 7247-2 at Wernigerode







Stranger on a Train

Can the spirits of the dead sometimes return to the aid of the living? There are stories of occasions when some disaster has been averted by the timely intervention of someone not of this world, and one of the most dramatic events of this kind which happened on a train passing through Hertfordshire, was reported in the Hertfordshire Express on 17th March 1894.

This is the Great Northern Railway driver's own account of what happened on a day he would never forget.

  'Three years ago I was driving the 8.30 train to the North, and left King's Cross four minutes behind time. I can't tell you what it was, but I never felt nervousness but once on an engine, and that was on the night I'm talking about. I don't know nothing about ghosts or spirits, or apparitions - call 'em what you like - but I'm ready to swear before any judge today that I saw something of the kind that night, and no amount of argument will change my belief.

  'It was just when we were passing through Hatfield when, I would take my oath for all I am worth, a man stepped from the platform to the footplate, just as easily as though we weren't travelling about 55 miles an hour. Aye, I can see his face and dress to this day. It was the saddest face I ever come across. The eyes seemed to look you through and through, and when on top of that I saw he was all in black, I never was so afraid in my life. 

  'The curious thing is that Dick, my fireman, saw nothing of it. He coaled up for the hill by Welwyn just as natural as though all was fair sailing, and when I tried to shout to him I felt a great lump in my throat, and not a word could I speak.

  'I soon noticed that the strange-comer never went to any other part of the footplate except to the spot whereon I stood, and he even hedged up so close to me that I went cold all over and my feet were like lumps of ice.

  'I think I must have acted mechanically, for I watched the man put his hand upon the regulator, and put mine on with him. The touch of it was like the touch of snow, but I couldn't loose it, and before I knew what I'd done, the steam was cut off and the train was slowing.

  'Dick, I know, thought I was mad. He'd been away on the tender, breaking up the coal, but he came down and craned his neck when steam was off, and he saw, as I saw, that the distant signal was off, and after that the home signal stood for line clear.

  'You won't believe, perhaps, but its Gospel truth, that although I knew the way was right, I was compelled to stop the express, and stop her I did outside Hitchin Station.

  'For nothing you say? Well, Heaven alone knows how, but it proved to be for a great deal. There were two trucks across the main line, and although the signals were off, the way was blocked, so that me and the passengers behind me wouldn't be living to tell the story if I hadn't been compelled to pull up as I did.'

Hertfordshire has one other railway story concerning the time the new railway line to the north was being made by the LNER Company in the mid-19th century. Near Watford, the construction workers were obliged to bore a tunnel through an old churchyard with gruesome results as broken coffins and bones came to light and sometimes fell down on to the workmen. But the work had to go on, and eventually the steam locomotives were roaring through on their way to the north.

  But all was not well. It happened that the boilers usually needed firing as they reached the tunnel, and the locomotive plate men found that at this particular place there would be a dangerous 'blow-back' and a number of engine drivers were seriously injured by the flames.

  When the problem was investigated it was found that the trouble always happened as the engine passed below the old graveyard and , not surprisingly, it was superstitiously believed that the spirits of the dead were expressing their anger at the disturbance they had suffered.

Reprinted from Ghosts of Hertfordshire by Betty Puttick






Stock storage ideas

1 free and a more expensive option.

Like most of us stock storage is always an issue. Balancing the space it takes with ease of finding things, protection of the stock, appearance, practicality and transportation.
My first option is the free one I’ve used for years. These are cardboard fruit trays thrown out by supermarkets, they come in varying depths and construction but if you keep your eyes open you can pick up all the same type in different depths which stack together. They go in a car easily and can be clearly labelled.



The cat just thought he ought to get in the picture!

The second is the one that costs a bit of money but is a reasonable looking piece of furniture and allows nice display of your models, though not transportable. This is a map or plan chest approximately 1m by 0.7m by 0.7m, with metal reinforced draws. Each draw is about 4” high so good for 00 stock, laid on their side you get around three dozen coaches per draw but standing up you could increase that to around 60. My chest cost £200 second hand off eBay. Then I added the blue foam liner for an extra £40 to protect the stock and make it look nice!









Oliver Bulleid



Oliver Vaughan Snell Bulleid CBE (19 September 1882 – 25 April 1970) was a British railway and mechanical engineer best known as the Chief Mechanical Engineer (CME) of the Southern Railway between 1937 and the 1948 nationalisation, developing many well-known locomotives.

Early life and Great Northern Railway

He was born in Invercargill, New Zealand, to William Bulleid and his wife Marian Pugh, both British immigrants. On the death of his father in 1889, his mother returned to Llanfyllin, Wales, where the family home had been. In 1901, after a technical education at Accrington Grammar School, he joined the Great Northern Railway (GNR) at Doncaster at the age of 18, as an apprentice under H. A. Ivatt, the Chief Mechanical Engineer (CME). After a four-year apprenticeship, he became the assistant to the Locomotive Running Superintendent, and a year later, the Doncaster Works manager. In 1908, he left to work in Paris with the French division of Westinghouse Electric Corporation as a Test Engineer, and was soon promoted to Assistant Works Manager and Chief Draughtsman. Later that year, he married Marjorie Ivatt, Henry Ivatt's youngest daughter.

A brief period working for the Board of Trade followed from 1910, arranging exhibitions in Brussels, Paris and Turin. He was able to travel widely in Europe, later including a trip with Nigel Gresley, William Stanier and Frederick Hawksworth, to Belgium, in 1934, to see a metre-gauge bogie locomotive. In December 1912, he rejoined the GNR as Personal Assistant to Nigel Gresley, the new CME. Gresley was only six years Bulleid's senior. The First World War intervened; Bulleid joined the British Army and was assigned to the rail transport arm, rising to the rank of Major. After the war, Bulleid returned to the GNR as the Manager of the Wagon and Carriage Works.

London and North Eastern Railway

The Grouping, in 1923, of Britain's financially troubled railways, saw the GNR subsumed into the new London and North Eastern Railway (LNER), and Gresley was appointed the CME. He brought Bulleid back to Doncaster to be his assistant. During this period, Gresley produced the majority of his famous locomotives and innovations, and Bulleid had a hand in many of them, including the P1 2-8-2 freight locomotive, the U1 2-8-0+0-8-2 Garratt freight locomotive, the P2 2-8-2 express locomotive and the A4 4-6-2 express locomotive.

Southern Railway and British Railways

In 1937, Bulleid accepted the post of CME of the Southern Railway (SR) at an annual salary of £3,000, after Richard Maunsell retired. His first contribution to the SR was to oversee the construction of three 350 hp six-wheeled diesel-electric shunters ordered by Maunsell in 1936; three were built and proved effective, with an order placed for eight more, though this was cancelled owing to the onset of the Second World War. Between 1949 and 1952, a further 26 of Bulleid's amended version of these locomotives were delivered and later became British Rail Class 12.

In 1938, Bulleid gained approval to build the Merchant Navy class of modern 4-6-2 "Pacifics", undoubtedly inspired by Gresley but also drawing on his experiences from across Europe and with all the most modern equipment: a partially welded boiler and firebox rather than traditional rivetted designs, thermic syphons and a high-pressure boiler. It also included chain-driven valve-gear immersed in an oil bath, a feature that was controversial and later caused problems if not maintained properly, which was difficult, due to conditions, after WW2.

Bulleid, like other engineers, had long felt that it was not ideal to have working parts exposed to the elements, where they were subject to all the dirt thrown up from the track. He also thought that steam engines should get nearer to the internal combustion engine, which enclosed the working parts and used pump lubrication to keep it all running smoothly. Another advantage of enclosing the valve gear would be reduced day-to-day maintenance. Unfortunately, there were design errors in the casing used for the oil bath, which led to leaks.

The first Merchant Navy, 21C1 Channel Packet, was built in 1941 and 29 followed, the last being 35030 Elder Dempster Lines. The West Country and Battle of Britain slightly smaller light Pacifics followed in 1945. 110 were built, of which 21C101 Exeter was the first. His other major steam locomotive design, the Q1 "Austerity" 0-6-0 freight engine, appeared in 1942. All steam locomotives designed by Bulleid for the SR had his BFB disc wheels, which gave more even tyre support. This did not eliminate the need for balance weights, but the set-up of the Bulleid valve gear enabled a locomotive with no hammer blow. When the locomotives were rebuilt with Walschaerts valve gear, balance weights were installed in the wheels to reduce hammer blow.

Bulleid played a major role in the electrification of the SR, including infrastructure, electric multiple units and electric locomotives. He designed the bodies for the two electric locomotives CC1 and CC2 in 1941 and 1945. A third example was built by British Railways in 1948 and numbered 20003. Towards the end of his tenure at the SR, he was responsible for the design and construction of Britain's only double-deck passenger trains, the two units of the 4DD class.

His final steam locomotive design for the SR was the unconventional Leader, appearing in 1949, after nationalisation. This had the boiler, coal and water supplies and everything else encased in a smooth double-ended body reminiscent of a diesel locomotive. The drive was through two six-wheel bogies, each with three cylinders. The axles on each bogie were connected by chains. The Leader was innovative but unsuccessful; after Bulleid had left British Railways, the project was cancelled.

Bulleid also had responsibility for coaching stock, an area in which he had an active interest. SR coaches, the newest designed by Richard Maunsell, were solid but old-fashioned. Bulleid designs built on the best of the existing designs, while making improvements, and his coaches were known for their comfort and spaciousness. They were popular with the travelling public, and many of the design features such as the size and layout were used by British Railways for their standard Mark I passenger coaches.

Bulleid was briefly the CME of British Railways Southern Region. During this period, his two prototype diesel electric locomotives appeared.

Córas Iompair Éireann

In February 1950, Bulleid was appointed CME of Córas Iompair Éireann (CIE) the nationalised transport authority of the Republic of Ireland, having been a consulting engineer to CIÉ since 1949. He led the first major dieselisation programme, which involved the procurement of diesel multiple units from AEC of Southall (the 2600 class), 94 Crossley-engined diesel locomotives (60 CIE 001 Class and 34 CIE 201 Class) from Metropolitan-Vickers and 12 Sulzer-engined diesel locomotives (CIE 101 Class) from the Birmingham Railway Carriage and Wagon Company. This began a transformation of railway traction in Ireland, although the locomotives proved unreliable until most were re-engined.

Bulleid developed two prototype peat-burning steam locomotives, one a converted coal-fired traditional steam locomotive of 2-6-0 wheel arrangement and the other, CC1, new and fully enclosed, along the lines of the Leader design. CIÉ did not adopt peat-fired traction for widespread use.

Recognition and retirement

Bulleid was elected president of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers for 1946. He was also president of the Institution of Locomotive Engineers and of the Institute of Welding, and was elected to the Smeatonian Society of Civil Engineers.

He was appointed CBE in the 1949 New Year Honours.

Bulleid retired in 1958, moving to Belstone in Devon, then Exmouth. He was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Science by the University of Bath in 1967. Shortly after, he moved to Malta, where he died in 1970 aged 87.

His obituary in The Times described Bulleid as "the last truly original and progressive mechanical engineer of the steam locomotive era in Britain".

British Rail Class 73/1 electro-diesel locomotive No. 73128 is called "O. V. S. Bulleid CBE".







Saturday 10 July 2021

We are very proud to launch what will be our first outing since February 2020, and very much hope you can join us on our return to the rails!

Our maiden voyage runs directly from local stations in Hertfordshire, all with plentiful car parking, or you can board at Finsbury Park which offers good connections via the Picadilly and Victoria Lines. Our outward journey takes us around London by way of Camden, Willesden Junction and Kew, and on via Virginia Water, Basingstoke and Winchester. On reaching Southampton there are views of the Docks, after which we roll through the tranquil New Forest to reach our destinations, with around four hours to spend at your choice.

For more information click HERE.






Good evening PHIL and Nigel,
Well, another two weeks has flown by and we are getting ever closer to freedom hopefully. 
Chris and I had our second jabs today so another step closer to the end hopefully.
Hope you are both well and didn't have and side effects from the second dose.




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Answers in the next issue.


  1. How many stripes are there on the US flag?
  2. What’s the capital of Canada?
  3. Which language has the most words (according to dictionary entries)?
  4. Who invented the World Wide Web, and when?
  5. What city do The Beatles come from?
  6. Which football team is known as ‘The Red Devils’?
  7. What was the most-watched series on Netflix in 2019?
  8. What’s the national animal of Australia?
  9. Name the largest (not highest) mountain range in the world?
  10. Which famous graffiti artist comes from Bristol?






  1. How many time zones are there in Russia? (11)
  2. What country has the most islands in the world? (Sweden, over 220,000!)
  3. What is the slang name for New York City, used by locals? (Gotham)
  4. When did they open the London underground? (1863)
  5. Where is Billie Eilish from? (Los Angeles)
  6. Where was the first modern Olympic Games held? (Athens, 1896)
  7. When was Netflix founded? (1997)
  8. What’s the national flower of Japan? (Cherry blossom)
  9. What’s the smallest country in the world? (The Vatican)
  10. Name the best-selling book series of the 21st century? (Harry Potter, J. K. Rowling)