No.105 - Autumn 1998

COMMITTEE SMALLS

Bum Competition

For those who like to read their organs from back to front, you will be delighted to read the new "Robin's Ramblings" at the rear of our magazine. The section is already known amongst your Committee as "Robin's Back Side"

The author of ''Smalls'' is determined to overcome this challenge of readership. Which do you prefer - Committee "Smalls" or Robin's Back Side ?

We are pleased that Robin is able to contribute to your magazine through his Back Side. Who knows, Geoff Bambrough may soon deliver his long awaited article on "The Worsborough Banker", promised 18 years ago.

Publishing Moguls Reunite

Readers may be interested to note that Meglamaniac heavyweight publishing moguls Neil Webster and Peter Fox are now working under the same roof.

Our sympathies lie with Pennine member "Bo Bo" Barclay who also has to work with them. His Walkman should prove useful to drown the noise.

Smalls Talk

Overheard at a recent Pennine committee meeting: "If Robin fell Into the River Don, that would be misfortune. If anybody pulled him out, that would be a calamity',.
Lording It

Platform 5 Publishing's worker Bobo Barclay says he can visit Installations others cannot reach. He simply rings up and says The Lord has asked him to visit. It apparently works.

Back To Work

Tony Blair's back to work policy may have achieved the seemingly impossible. Noted recently a clapped out van displaying the sign "Sutties" Window Cleaners - Fully Insured - Tell. 01246 415816,,.

Our Junior Sutties last two major #temporary" forms of employment over a 2 month period In the last 15 years were as a carrier for an eccentric Cornish milkman, and, coincidentally, as a wringer out for a one-armed window cleaner.

Donny On The Up

Saturday 8 August saw the start of the new football season. Ace fan David Bladen tells us that in the local "Green Un" sports paper that evening Doncaster Rovers were lying third in their new environment "The Football Conference", behind Barrow and Cheltenham but above Dover.

What he failed to tell us was that no games had yet been played in that league and placings were determined on alphabetical order. These dizzy heights will not last

Stagecoach To China

Stagecoach has suffered a 36m paper loss on its stake in a Chinese toll road operator. Sad, but true.

Sad

It has come to Smalls attention that Pennine member Stephen Gay has appeared in "The Sun', newspaper where an article described him as "the saddest person in England" for his extremely detailed photographic collection of the former Great Central Railway.

Stephen has also recently been interviewed on BBC Radio Sheffield and is a regular contributor to the letters column in the local "Star" newspaper.

His letters make a refreshing change to the usual drivel# mainly from OAPs thanking someone for returning their lost bus pass. Your Treasurer, incidentally, once sent a spoof letter, which got published, thanking the person who returned a snooker cue that he left on a bus.

Pennine 25th Anniversary

Plans are afoot to celebrate the Pennine's 25th anniversary in 1999, As members may know, the Royal Train Is now available for hire to appropriate groups, to raise much needed revenue for the Family. Your Committee will write to Buckingham Palace to ask Her Majesty for details of charges and dates of availability. Her response will be reported to members.

Up The Junction

Our southern correspondent who for obvious reasons must remain nameless tells us that special services are on offer at the fitness centre under platform 2 at London's Vauxhall station. Calling cards read "Massage" - Unhurried. Open all day. Treat yourself with being pampered by the lovely Natalie - Vauxhall station#,.

South Worst Trains Is responsible for the station's tenants. At least It brings a new meaning to coming late.

Tickets Please

A sale has raised 80,000 when a 70 year old collection of tickets, timetables, handbills and traffic notices went under the hammer. Bachelor H.J."Pat" Patterson-Rutherford (yes, really) who died recently aged
 73 had filled his Victorian semi in Broadstairs with 20,000 tickets collected between the 1920's and 1997, 5000 photos, 3000 Ordnance Survey Maps and other memorabilia.

Tipped Out

Our Treasurer Is struggling to find suitable watering holes in Sheffield, Following the destruction of The Globe "It's A Tip", a former popular meeting place for enthusiasts, his lunchtime refuelling point "The West Street Hotel" has been "refurbished", renamed "Flares", a revival 70's theme bar, painted on the outside in a style resembling a doll's house, and a price increase of 10p per pint to boot. Needless to say, that venue is now off the list. Who employs these half-wits to destroy public houses ?

Sacked

Superfan of beleaguered Doncaster Rovers, David Bladen, tells us that following the withdrawal of prestige sponsors "East Riding Sacks", the club were the only one in the football league last season without a shirt sponsor.

It Is rumoured that the goalkeeper received an individual sponsorship from Quicksave last year, but after 113 goals were conceded In league matches alone, and the signing of a 40 year old keeper this season, it is unlikely this will be renewed.

No Relief

on 26 August the 10.41 Portsmouth-Liverpool ran without toilet facilities for the entire 260 mile journey. It was not until Reading that a relief stop was made. A Virgin Rail spokesperson said technical problems caused the toilet closure on the Virgin Rail 158 service.

Conductor Misses Train

Rail bosses have sent a crew warning letter after a journey became
 a farce. The conductor ran out of change and as the train pulled into a station he went to fetch some from the booking office. But a passenger who works for a rival firm gave the driver the "go" signal ant the train set off. A taxi was hired to pick him up but no one could pay the 38 fare and the cabbie was given an IOU. The train then drove through every stop to make up lost tine.
 
 A spokesman for the Connex service between Ramsgate and London said measures had been introduced to stop this happening again.

Aircraft Mown Off Course

Recently a Britannia Airways flight from Malaga could not land at Cardiff International Airport because grass alongside the runway had been cut to stop birds nesting and had blown out of bias and on to the tarmac. There was a serious risk of the grass cuttings getting into the jet turbines so the flight was diverted to Bristol. The grass was cleared and the 300 passengers flown the 60 miles back to Cardiff, adding two hours to their journey.

Heavy Breather

On a Pennine visit some years ago Robin had cause to dial directory enquiries. Heavy breathing sounds came from the phone box. He was then heard to say "I haven't got a pen so I'm steaming up the window to write the number on"

Misery Line

Thousands of commuters on a privatised "misery line" line are to get a week's free travel by order of the franchising director. Owners of Chiltern Lines which run services from Marylebone to Aylesbury and Birmingham have to offer free trips to annual and quarterly season ticket holders and a travel-for-nothing week will be available when season tickets expire. One in ten of its trains fail to arrive on time.

Chiltern also has to give full-fare refunds if trains are more than an hour late and half the fare back If services are held up by more than
 30 minutes. Refunds must be in cash, not travel vouchers.

The Mid-Cheshire Rail Users Association said their line from Manchester to Northwich and Chester operated by North Western Trains was so poor that it should be handed back to the former state-owned British Rail which still exists in a truncated form.

Research has shown that the rail companies are now worth
 
10 billion more than when they were sold off in 1996 by the Tories. Rail operations sold out of state ownership for 4.4billion now have a market value of around 14.5billion.

Punctuality has declined on 48 routes and improved on only 16 since privatisation and reliability for the 25 train operators decreased on
 
33 routes, Improved on 21 and remained the same on 9.

Thames Trains, Great Western, Chiltern and Anglia's Ipswich-Cambridge service all suffered major drops in time keeping.
 

Fleas Stop Train
 
 on Sunday 6 September the 09.59 Eastbourne-Ashford service was terminated at Hastings. our southern correspondent, Robin Skinner tells us the woman driver refused to take the train further due to an infestation of fleas In the driver's cab. The Connex spokesman says they were mystery fleas and he had no idea where they came from.
 
 Stagecoach Profits
 

 Stagecoach owned South West Trains which operates from Waterloo made 21.1m In the last financial year. Their Porterbrook company which leases out rolling stock made profits of' 133m against 79m the previous year. The Stagecoach empire was founded by the two children of a Glasgow bus driver 18 years ago.
 Confusion Over Virgin's True Colours
 

 Confusion is deepening over the use of the InterCity name on Virgin Rail's mainline passenger services. Virgin has repainted some of Its carriages in InterCity livery even though it says its long-term aim is to eliminate the brand from its routes.
 
 Virgin is 49% owned by fellow operator Stagecoach and the case has been considered for dropping the Virgin name in favour of rebranding the service Stagecoach InterCity. However Virgin has rebranded 50 trains in its own bright red colours hoping to emphasise Virgin as a quality brand. 

Oldest

The world's longest-running named train is The Irish Mail. It was launched in 1848 and recently celebrated its 150th anniversary. In 1848 Stephenson's tubular Britannia bridge over the Menai Strait was still unfinished so passengers and mail had to transfer to a coach to cross Telford's suspension bridge.

Upgrade for East Coast

Railtrack has unveiled plans to upgrade the ECML to take longer, faster and more frequent trains...suggestions include removing bottlenecks at Welwyn and Hitchin, and flyovers could be built at Doncaster, Newark and Peterborough to eliminate flat crossings and remove congestion at junctions. Freight trains could be re-routed via Lincoln and Sleaford and on to the mothballed Leamside branch line.

More Turbostars

Central Trains is to take delivery of a further 20 Adtranz Turbostars costing 48m, in addition to the 13 It ordered earlier in the year.

The trains which will be leased from Porterbrook are to cater for growth in passenger traffic. The first of the 13 two-car trains ordered this year are due for delivery next year. The latest order, for 10 two-car and 10 three-car trains is due to be delivered in early 2000. They will be built in Derby and be used on longer distance services such as Liverpool-Stansted Airport, Liverpool-Norwich, Nottingham-Cardiff and Birmingham-Aberystwyth. They will be painted in Central's new livery but the colours are remaining secret until the trains are delivered. Bet The Lord will find out first, perhaps by his messenger Bobo Barclay.
 

Going For Green
 

 Freightliner has launched its new Class 57 locomotive and a new corporate identity. The first of its 6 re-engined locos was rolled-out from the Brush Traction works at Loughborough. It has been created from a standard Class 47. It has been repowered with a General Motors 2500hp diesel engine. The concept gives a 20 year life extension, and the company has an option to rebuild all of its core fleet of 50 Class 47s.
 
 The first loco, 57001 has been named Freightliner Pioneer". It carries a green livery, different to but inspired by the original BR colour scheme. The Freightliner name Is in large yellow lettering, with the company's red triangle flash as a finishing touch. A Class 86 electric loco demonstrated the new colours at a staff event at Crewe on 17 August.
 
 Rules
 

 You may be interested to know that while the Champions of the football Conference league gain promotion to the football league proper, subject to suitability of ground facilities, there is relegation out of the Conference for the bottom three clubs. Should the impossible happen to Doncaster Rovers, they will disappear into the Unibond Premier League, featuring clubs such as Worksop, Frickley Colliery, Accrington Stanley and Leigh Miners Welfare.
 
 GNER
 

 Congratulations to GNER on their generous sponsorship at the recent St Leger Festival at Doncaster Racecourse.
 
 However, on another note, why did Railtrack choose the day of the St Leger race to undertake engineering work between Scunthorpe and Doncaster, with buses replacing the rail service?
 
 Down the Drain
 

 Unconnected to the first item on this page, the Waterloo & City underground railway, the Drain, celebrated its 100th birthday on 8 August, a month after the main station's 150th anniversary.
 
 It was the only Tube line built and run by a mainline railway - the London & South Western - but is now part of London Underground. It is also the Tube's shortest line with just two stations, Waterloo and Bank,
 
 The 1.6 mile trip under the Thames takes five minutes. Twelve million passengers a year use It, mostly commuting to and from the City of London.
 
 In the early 1990's the future of the Drain was reviewed and it was decided to revamp the line and renew the fleet. The new trains were only the third set of stock in the line's history - the originals were replaced in 1940 - and differed only in detail from a new fleet for London Underground's Central Line.
 
 In 1994, as one of the first moves in the privatisation process, BR sold the line to London Underground for one pound.
 
 Tram Extension
 

 Glenda Jackson the transport minister and actress# ceremonially laid one of the first sections of the tram track for the extension of Manchester's Metrolink to Salford Quays and Eccles on 6 August.
 
 New Depot

 Britain's first new train maintenance depot since rail privatisation is being built in a joint deal between Railtrack Midlands and Central Trains. The 3m Soho depot, which is being constructed alongside the Birmingham-Wolverhampton line in only 20 weeks, Is one of a series of developments by Central Trains aimed at Increasing train reliability,
 
 It will save more than 300,000 miles of empty stock movements each year and make an extra electric train available for service in the West Midlands every day, When It opens in January Central Trains Class 310 and 323 electric units will no longer have to be sent up to 90 miles every day for maintenance
at Longsight or Bletchley, Other projects Include a new maintenance depot at Nottingham for the new Turbostars on order, and major refurbishment at the diesel maintenance depot at Tyseley.
 

Robin's Review

British Railways Illustrated.

British Railways Illustrated or Brill for short, caters for the Railway enthusiast who lives for the days of pre-nationalisation and perhaps only the first fifteen or so years of British Railways. It's not just steam but it is obviously dominated by it. Brill has articles on the 1930's, the War Years, early Nationalisation and the 1950's and all that it brought,- again it is pure nostalgia. Actually I believe it is more than nostalgia with the glory of steam added !

Brill Vol. 8 No. 1 the October Edition has articles on Britain's New Railway Part One the early years, the first in a series of articles dominated by the 1955 modernisation plan. Thirties File is a series of photographs- this month the frontages of two LNER stations in February 1933 are featured. Norwich and Cambridge War report looks at pictures of Whitby bombed in 1940. In Forum a photo feature illustrates Blaneau Festiniog in 1951 and Glasgow in the early 1960's. The history and operation of the North Cornwall Railway are explored. The smoke which was deposited over Hornsey and the levels of soot in the atmosphere are indicated around the Hornsey loco in the early 1950's.

Brill is primarily about steam however associated aspects of the railway are discussed such as Civil Engineering, Marketing, Wagon Control and many other aspects which contributed to the running of the railways in the thirty or so years around World War Two. It successfully recreates the atmosphere of the bygone age of steam but the is somewhat 'black and white' very much like its slogan 'You'll remember those black and white days'.

Verdict - a good read with some real atmospherics !
British Railways Illustrated is published monthly by The Irwell Press priced at 2.75 Subscriptions are interpretation 16.50 for six issues or 33 for twelve.


Robin's Meetings.

All meetings are held at the Corporation Brewery Taps Cleveland Street, Doncaster commencing at 20.00hrs.

Wednesday October 7th 1998.
Pennine Slide Competition. Judged by Derek Porter. Bring your four best slides - prizes.

Wednesday October 21st 1998.
John Wragg. A friend of the Society from Sheffield will be showing some of his archive material.

Wednesday November 4th 1998.
Peter Gray. Retired local newspaper photographer shows us some gems from his wide slide and film collection.

Wednesday November 18th 1998.
Alan Dolby- yes, he's back again

Wednesday December 2nd 1998.
Members slides and videos.
'Bring along your own 'DIY' night.

Pennine Shield.

Round one-Wednesday December 2nd 1998.
South Yorkshire Photographic Society Club 197 Sheffield University.

Round two-Thursday December 10th 1998
Dore Locomotive Society
Commercial Inn Attercliffe Common Sheffield.
(subject to confirmation)

Final Pennine Railway Society Corporation Brewery Taps 16th December at 20.00hrs.

Grand Film Show

RAILWAYS

REMEMBERED

LINCOLN CENTRAL 150

Introduced by Rob Foxon
Special programme of rare archive films to commemorate the 150th 
Anniversary of the Great Northern Railway in Lincoln
Featuring steam on the East Coast Main Line, the Railways of Lincolnshire and
 

Locomotive building at Ruston's in 1953!

Plus a 60th Anniversary tribute to Mallard, the fastest steam locomotive in the World!

7.30pm Friday 16th October

BISHOP GREAVES THEATRE

Longdales Road, LINCOLN

Tickets from the Tourist Information Office Tel: 01522 579055

Tickets: 4.50 - Concession 3,50

Lincoln City Council - Keeping Lincoln's Railway Heritage Alive!