Dear Members


Your committee met on the 16th June to discuss how we can safely return to our clubroom on Wednesday 21st July. This still depends on restrictions being lifted on the 19th. If this happens, and In order to keep safe, we will all need to comply with the government Covid guidelines, the church and club risk assessment and now even our own insurance cover.

The Covid rules for the club will be emailed to you all individually and will also appear in our next newsletter.

Finally, on a different note, having reached our 50th edition we have no articles in reserve for your newsletter. It would be good if all those members who we have not heard from could send in something. You do not need to be a paperback writer (apologies to the Beatles) send a picture of your layout at home, a favourite loco etc,etc,etc note to self must stop these quotes!!

Once again keep safe, enjoy the newsletter and we look forward to hearing from you?



Keep safe
Phil and Nigel




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Part 1


Early in 2018 Malcolm mentioned to Phil that he was planning to go on an Irish Railtour in May. As some of you may know Malcolm has been on several of these in the past and wondered if Phil would like to go. Phil mentioned it to me and so it was that the three of us agreed to go.

Malcolm, having had the experience of these in the past, kindly offered to book the tour, flights and hotels. All Phil and I had to do was to pay him!

I am sure that Malcolm could probably tell the story of the tour better than I and if I make any mistakes I can only apologise in advance.

The main tour which was the Cork and Kerry started from Dublin on the Saturday but there was a positioning train from Whitehead to Dublin on the Thursday and an optional tour, The Second Strand Diesel Rail Tour, on the Friday. As neither Phil or I had been to Ireland before we were keen to see as much as possible so it was agreed that we would start on the Thursday. There was also an add on tour, The Renaissance Railtour, on the following Tuesday which we also opted to join thus making six days altogether.

Thursday 10th May

So it was that early on the Thursday morning we found ourselves at Luton airport for a 7.30 Easy Jet flight to Belfast arriving at 8.25. We could have possibly joined the train at Belfast but decided the time was a little tight. We therefore opted to get a taxi from the airport to Lisburn. This gave us time to to find a cafe for breakfast before the train arrived at 10.15.


Left: DMU 3022 ARRIVING AT LISBURN                     




Here the loco, 4-4-0 No.85 Merlin, took water before the train left at 10.55. Malcolm had thoughtfully booked seats in the buffet car, which of course had suitable liquid refreshments available, and so a pleasant journey was made to Dublin Connolly arriving at 2.30. The train arrived at one of the through platforms and as soon as everyone had alighted moved the train out of the way for the frequent local services.


Left: CLASS V 4-4-0 NO. 85 MERLIN  AT DUBLIN CONNOLLY                              


Having found the hotel and booked in we had plenty of time to explore. The trams seemed a good option and we rode on some of the route ending up at Dublin Heuston station for a look around before returning to the docks area. After a walk along the river side we found a suitable pub for dinner and a few beers before returning to the hotel.


Left: TRAM 5019 AT DUNDRUM,  DUBLIN                 


Tomorrow, as explained above, we were booked on the Second Strand Railtour which I will talk about in part two.





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Nigel Gresley

Sir Herbert Nigel Gresley CBE (19 June 1876 – 5 April 1941) was a British railway engineer. He was one of Britain's most famous steam locomotive engineers, who rose to become Chief Mechanical Engineer (CME) of the London and North Eastern Railway (LNER). He was the designer of some of the most famous steam locomotives in Britain, including the LNER Class A1 and LNER Class A4 4-6-2 Pacific engines. An A1 Pacific, Flying Scotsman, was the first steam locomotive officially recorded over 100 mph in passenger service, and an A4, number 4468 Mallard, still holds the record for being the fastest steam locomotive in the world (126 mph).
Gresley's engines were considered elegant, both aesthetically and mechanically. His invention of a three-cylinder design with only two sets of Walschaerts valve gear, the Gresley conjugated valve gear, produced smooth running and power at lower cost than would have been achieved with a more conventional three sets of Walschaerts gear.

Gresley was born in Edinburgh during his mother's visit there to see a gynaecologist, but was raised in Netherseal, Derbyshire, a member of a cadet branch of a family long seated at Gresley, Derbyshire. After attending school in Sussex and at Marlborough College, Gresley served his apprenticeship at the Crewe works of the London and North Western Railway, afterwards becoming a pupil under John Aspinall at Horwich of the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway (L&YR). After several minor appointments with the L&YR he was made Outdoor Assistant in the Carriage and Wagon Department in 1901; in 1902 he was appointed Assistant Works Manager at Newton Heath depot, and Works Manager the following year.

This rapid rise in his career was maintained, for he became Assistant Superintendent of the Carriage and Wagon Department of the L&YR in 1904. A year later, he moved to the Great Northern Railway (GNR) as Carriage and Wagon Superintendent. He succeeded Henry A. Ivatt as CME of the GNR on 1 October 1911. At the 1923 Grouping, he was appointed CME of the newly formed LNER (the post had originally been offered to the ageing John G. Robinson; Robinson declined and suggested the much younger Gresley). In 1936, Gresley was awarded an honorary DSc by Manchester University and a knighthood by King Edward VIII; also in that year he presided over the IMechE.




Salisbury Hall, Gresley's home during the 1930s


During the 1930s, Sir Nigel Gresley lived at Salisbury Hall, near St. Albans in Hertfordshire. Gresley developed an interest in breeding wild birds and ducks in the moat; intriguingly, among the species were Mallard ducks. The Hall still exists today as a private residence and is adjacent to the de Havilland Aircraft Heritage Centre, with its links to the design of the famous Mosquito aircraft during World War II.

In 1936, Gresley designed the 1,500 V DC locomotives for the proposed electrification of the Woodhead Line between Manchester and Sheffield. The Second World War forced the postponement of the project, which was completed in the early 1950s. Edgar Claxton was Gresley's assistant throughout this project, working on power supply, equipment and systems, besides carrying out the trials.

Gresley was appointed CBE in 1920 and was knighted in the 1936 Birthday Honours.
Gresley died on 5 April 1941, after a short illness, and was buried in St Peter's Church, Netherseal, Derbyshire.
He was succeeded as the LNER CME by Edward Thompson.




Memorial plaque to Gresley's achievements displayed in the main hall of Edinburgh's Waverley railway station


A memorial plaque to Gresley's achievements was unveiled at Edinburgh Waverley railway station in 2001. It was created by the Gresley Society and incorporates line drawings of his Flying Scotsman and Mallard locomotives.

Following the redevelopment of the site previously home to Doncaster College, the square outside the new Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council Offices and Cast Theatre was named Sir Nigel Gresley Square, in honour of the designer of some of the most famous steam locomotives built at Doncaster Plant Works following a public poll of Doncaster residents hosted by the Doncaster Free Press. Sir Nigel Gresley Square was opened to the public as part of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee celebrations, by the Mayor of Doncaster Mr. Peter Davies and two of Nigel Gresley's grandsons, in May 2012.

LNER Class A4 4498 Sir Nigel Gresley is named after its designer.

A statue of Gresley was unveiled at King's Cross station in London on 5 April 2016, the 75th anniversary of his death. Sculptor Hazel Reeves originally included a duck alongside Gresley in reference to his hobby of breeding water fowl and his bird-themed locomotive names such as Mallard, but this was removed from the final design when two of Gresley's grandsons complained it was "demeaning".




 Bicknell's Blogg 


Lockdown has had some perks, hope you enjoy some more photos of my layout showing progress to the station and bridge, background scenery added and some major works to the town redevelopment

















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Answers in the next issue.


1. What is the most common colour of toilet paper in France?

2. If you dug a hole through the centre of the earth starting from Wellington in New Zealand, which European country would you end up in?

3. Henry VIII introduced which tax in England in 1535?

4. What is the correct term for a question mark immediately followed by an exclamation mark?

5. The average person does what thirteen times a day?

6. Coprastastaphobia is the fear of what?

7. What were the first ice hockey pucks made out of?

8. It's illegal in Texas to put what on your neighbour’s Cow?

9. Which bird is nicknamed The Laughing Jackass?

10. Who entered a contest to find his own look-alike and came 3rd?





1. Which of the following empires had no written language: Incan, Aztec, Egyptian, Roman?Answer: Incan
2. Which artist painted the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in Rome? Answer: Michelangelo
3. When was the first issue of Vogue published: 1892, 1960, 2000? Answer: 1892
4. How many keys does a classic piano have? Answer: 88
5. What was the clothing company Nike originally called? Answer: Blue Ribbon Sports
6. What is the name of the coffee shop in the sitcom Friends? Answer: Central Perk
7. Until 1923, what was the Turkish city of Istanbul called? Answer: Constantinople
8. Which famous American pop band was originally called ‘Kara’s Flowers’? Answer: Maroon 5
9. Name Disney’s first film? Answer: Snow White, 1937
10. What is the most-streamed album on Spotify in 2019?Answer: When We Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? Billie Eilish