Taken from the Mercian July – August 1966 Vol.5 No.4
The Officers’ Reports
Some time has elapsed since I was privileged to attend the last ARPS meeting which was held at the HQ of the Kent & East Sussex Railway Preservation Society, at Tenterden. I was able to sit in at the meeting and to make notes and it is these which form the basis of the editorial this month. The main point made by all the delegates of the various societies which attended was that great patience must be exercised when dealing with British Railways for the acquisition of relics – particularly if the opportunity arose whereby the major societies were given an opportunity to be custodians of some of the as yet unrestored relics at present in store up and down the country.
Under general business there was an overwhelming vote in favour of admitting the Vintage Carriage Trust and the Cadeby Trust into the Association. Another enlightening factor was the reports submitted by the delegates on the individual progress of their society, I was most grateful the Dave Ives was able to give an excellent report on our progress, particularly the heavy slogging at Chasewater which certainly raised a few eyebrows. The main bellyache seemed to be money, another theme about which there were many comments and also a few ideas propounded on how to make it. We were informed the ‘Forum’ was in the red and an appeal for help in the form of advertising revenue from the members of the Association was urgently solicited.
Another point which seemed to crop up was the real need to stop duplicating too many relics. In some cases where local conditions govern the type of stock which could be used there might be a legitimate reason for this, hence the glut of ’Terriers’ preserved. This was not quite so in the case of certain other types of stock, as up until recently there had not been the fervour in the preservation of coaching stock – hence a lot of real quality stuff had quickly and quietly disappeared. There were, it was stated by one of the delegates, a considerable number of real vintage models on the Longmoor Military Railway which were being put on the scrap market. It was decided at the meeting that a sub-committee be appointed to negotiate for all the disposable stock and that member societies be offered the items most applicable to them in order of merit on a first refusal basis.Longmoor Downs Station – Photo: movcon, flickr
The meeting concluded with the usual reiterations of the needs for member societies to co-operate with each other and the meeting accepted the offer of the Festiniog delegate to hold the next meeting at their HQ in October.GWR Railcar at Coleford – P.B.Whitehouse
The delegates then left the ex-GWR railcar in which the meeting had been held and entrained on the two coach special headed by a ‘Terrier’ for the journey down to Robertsbridge where most of them were to catch trains home. We trundled off at regulation speed along the line with its archways of Willow trees – my nickname being ‘The Pussy-Willow –Line’ – passing the site of Wittersham Road Station where we suddenly jolted to a halt as the brake leaked on. Here we paused for five minutes whilst the train crew were busy trying to release the brakes. Having succeeded we picked up again and trundled on over the road crossing into Newenden. The line winds through very low-lying marshland and in parts lush pastureland, the whole lot criss-crossed with hundreds of small drains and clumps of Willow trees. Soon we could see the turrets of historic Bodiam Castle on our right and as the train drew nearer we had a magnificent view of this fine turreted and moated structure. Then we passed through Bodiam and soon arrived at Junction Road Halt where we were treated to a view of ‘Pride of Sussex’ an ex SECR P1 0-6-0T which now belongs to the local Paper Mill.
P Class Loco – Lewis Nodes
From here it was a short pull into Robertsbridge where we detrained and said goodbye to most of the delegates. In the yard at Robertsbridge we had a look at some more rolling stock belonging to the society including the H Class 0-4-4T and some coaching stock, while our train was remarshalled ready for the return journey.H Class – Richard Salmon
Some twenty minutes later we climbed aboard and were soon bowling along back to our starting point, where ended a most enjoyable and informative day, with an insight into some of the problems that we ourselves will have to face in due course at Chasewater.
More about the Kent & East Sussex Railway in another post soon.
From the Secretary’s Report.
Members will be pleased to hear that we have moved the Barclay saddletank to the Hixon yard of our friend Jake Bacon. (I’ve not read anything about this loco in the magazines until now. It’s now known as Colin McAndrew! There’s a photo of it at Hixon.)
Barclay Loco Colin McAndrew at Hixon – Rob Duffill’s Collection.
Renovation work is in progress until such time as she can be moved to the safety of the Chasewater building. It is hoped that the two Pecketts will join her in the very near future, and I would like to express thanks to all those who have responded to the call for cash to cover the removal expenses.
Progress at Chasewater has been maintained steadily by the faithful few and the line is now in up to the site of the building. The other track here has been left for the time being to enable the contractors to work in the confines of the trackbed. A start has been made at the causeway end of the line in re0laying a length taken out by the demolition people and then work will centre on track tidying, moving a considerable amount of shale and spoil to strengthen the embankment near the small overbridge and other remedial works. We shall still need plenty of help so please come.
From the Treasurer’s Report
Finance is reasonable at the moment but Chasewater is a big drain on resources and we must try to stem the flow as much as possible without jeopardising the project. (Given the state of Chasewater water level at the moment, the wording seems very prophetic!)
Late Round Up – Hon. Editor
I must apologise most profusely for the lateness of this edition due to personal circumstances beyond my control. The next edition will reach you on time, and will contain news of the AGM. I hope you will bear with me this time as I do like to have the mag. out on time. (Considering the fact that this was the fourth magazine of the year members nowadays would certainly bear with him!)