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Today marks 75 years since Victory in Europe Day or VE Day.
VE Day is the day on which Allied forces formally announced the surrender of Germany, which brought the Second World War to a close in Europe. The military surrender was first signed on May 7, but a slightly modified document with the final terms was signed on May 8 in Berlin. Celebrations immediately erupted throughout Britain and more than one million people celebrated in the streets. In London, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth appeared on the balcony alongside Prime Minister Winston Churchill.

Too late for printing in many diaries / calendars, in more normal times today was announced as being a Bank Holiday by moving the traditional May Day Bank Holiday Monday to today, although many at the moment must be wondering what is the difference?
Many celebrations and events were planned to mark the 75th Anniversary today, but the current Covid-19 lockdown (stay safe, stay at home and thank the NHS) has changed those plans.
Her Majesty the Queen will address the nation at 9pm, the exact time the Queen’s father, King George VI, made a radio announcement declaring the end of the war on the continent in May 1945, and I hope you will join the 2 minutes silence at 11 am this morning as we remember the sacrifices made by all.

The cover of the May 1945 Southern Railway Magazine. Note that it includes an image of 21C11 General Steam Navigation. (click the menu link above to find out more about the Restoration Society and it’s aim to restore 35011 back to this original condition)

By its obvious geographical nature the Southern Railway paid a vital part in the entire war effort. The dedication and efforts of the railway workers that worked tirelessly, in all too often difficult and life threatening conditions themselves, indeed many did also fall, should be remembered along with the military personnel.

In this post I provide details in numbers* of the efforts made under wartime conditions to put things into to perspective. Many will be familiar with some of the major events in which the railway played such a large part such as Operation Dynamo, the mass moving of personnel from Dunkirk 80 years ago at the end of this month, and of course Operation Overlord, the planning, logistics for the moment of men and machines to support D-Day in June 1944. For the Southern Railway it wasn’t just these two events but a continued effort for the duration.

Although the overall number of Southern Railway staff when compared between 1939 (67,680) and 1945 (67,570) didn’t change that much the number of women employed increased from 1,861 to 9,167. The company managed to maintain an operational workforce despite 10,956 men and 212 women being enlisted to active service during the same period.

The Southern Railway was to suffer severe damage, disproportionate to that of its three rivals. From July 1940 to March 1945, the LNER suffered 1737 incidents of enemy damage; the LMS experienced 1939 and the GWR fell victim to 1202. But in the same time the Southern Railway, covering a much smaller route mileage than the others, recorded 3637 incidents of damage through enemy action. This amounts to 170 incidents per 100 miles.

Between 1939 and VE Day the Southern Railway had moved 9,367,886 military personnel on 30,890 special troop trains, an additional 6,269,160 on duty service staff were carried on ordinary trains. 1,797 Ambulance trains carried 408,051 wounded. An additional 35,360 military freight trains were run.
At the outbreak of war the Southern Railway had 1,819 locomotives, 61 were built during the war comprising of: 1 Q Class 0-6-0, 40 Q1 class 0-6-0, 20 Merchant Navy Class 4-6-2 and 4 West Country Class 4-6-2. Whilst only 1 locomotive was destroyed by enemy action, 189 were damaged. A further 130 locomotives were built for other railway companies.
153 Carriages were destroyed by enemy action (Steam 49, Electric 93 and 11 NPCS), whilst 4,040 were damaged (Steam 1,806, Electric 1,784 and 450 NPCS).
An amazing 13,820 wagons were constructed: 7,500 for SR, 1,755 for LMS, 2,230 for LNER, 650 for GWR and 1,885 for Government WD of which 1,600 went overseas. 169 wagons were destroyed by enemy action, along with 69 Private Owner wagons, those damaged amounted to 1,355 along with 800 PO wagons.

At 11am this morning we should remember the 387 Southern Railway staff killed whilst on active service and 170 killed whilst on railway duty. A further 687 men and 59 women were injured by enemy action on duty.

I hope this post allows a pause for thought and reflection on the immense efforts and sacrifices made at the time.

*Source: War on the line: The Southern Railway in wartime, Bernard Darwin, published 1946

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This months picture…

A Drummond T14 4-6-0 “Paddlebox” 461 a NuCast kit is turned whilst 21C14 “Nederland Line” a Series 2 Merchant Navy Pacific, a Millholme kit, heads towards London with the ‘UP’ Devon Belle.

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I am far from being a ‘vlogger’ or a ‘youTuber’ and you will never get to watch me ‘unbox’ anything but I have often added video clips to illustrate posts throughout the site, I have now added a new page where I have collated some of these videos on one page with links where appropriate to the original post.

The new page can be found either here or by clicking on the video menu button above.

I have also added a Gallery of some of my favourite pictures from through my blog which can be found either here or by clicking on the Gallery menu button above.

As many of us currently have a little extra time on our hands, enjoy the content, relax and stay safe!

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As I posted earlier this week I usually attend and assist with the running of, the RM Web South West Area Group members day held nr. Taunton.

This year we are unable to do so but this has not deterred the organisers from marking the event but this year it will be in a ‘virtual’ form on RMweb. with pictures, video and chat from participants past and present to raise money for the NHS Charities Together Covid-19 Appeal who are working with NHS England and their member NHS Charities on a nationally coordinated response to the difficulties affecting us all.

The event is taking place this weekend and is hosted on RMweb. At the time of posting over £6000 has already been raised or the NHS Charities Together Covid-19 Appeal!

I have already posted content about Canute Road Quay in the layouts section, with a few new videos, including the one below, the full post, pictures and videos can seen here.

I’ve also posted about Fisherton Sarum with some pictures and a video here. So two layouts at the same show, that’s unusual…

So come along and join in if you are not already a member of the RM Web community,  simply sign up its free!

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#onthisday 25th April 1970 Oliver Vaughan Snell Bulleid died, aged 87. He was the Southern Railway Chief Mechanical Engineer between 1937 and nationalisation in 1948.

A line up of Bulleid Pacific’s outside Fisherton Sarum shed. 

He is best celebrated for the development, under wartime conditions, of his Merchant Navy Pacifics which incorporated a host of novel ideas including the enclosed oil bath for the novel chain-driven valve gear, clasp brakes, his own Bulleid-Firth-Brown version of the Box-Pok cast wheels and Air Smoothed casing.
His other designs also included the smaller but similar West Country and Battle of Britain classes; the outstanding austerity Q1 0-6-0 and the novel Leader 0-6-6-0T as well as diesel and electric designs.
After nationalisation he moved to Ireland becoming CME of CIE where he promoted dieselisation of the Irish national railway system as well as trialling a peat-burning steam locomotive similar to his SR Leader in concept.
British Railways rebuilt all of the Merchant Navy and most of the smaller WC and BB Pacifics to more conventional appearance.

The ‘Times’ obituary described Bulleid as the ‘last truly progressive mechanical engineer of the steam locomotive era’.RIP

Bullied is very much my own engineering idol and s such I am involved with a number of his locomotives as below and further support of these Societies would always be welcome.

T

35011 at her new home on the Swindon & Cricklade Railway

he 35011 General Steam Navigation Locomotive Restoration Society are aiming to return 21C121 / 35011 to his original inspired condition including the enclosed oil bath for the chain-driven valve gear and air smoothed casing. I am proud and honoured to be a be Trustee of the Locomotive Restoration Society and a Director of the owning CIC. More details on how to support this project can be found here.

No.6 runs round at Cheltenham Racecourse

The 35006 Locomotive Society have restored Peninsular & Oriental S. N. Co.to working order and she has been in action on the Gloucestershire and Warwickshire Steam Railway since May 2016. She has proved extremely popular and has always been turned out in immaculate condition Further details on how to support the 35006 locomotive Society can be found here.

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Regular readers will know that this time of year I usually attend and assist with the running of, the RM Web South West Area Group members day held nr. Taunton. This year we are unable to do so but this has not deterred the organisers from marking the event but this year it will be in a ‘virtual’ form on RMweb. with pictures, video and chat from participants past and present to raise money for the NHS Charities Together Covid-19 Appeal who are working with NHS England and their member NHS Charities on a nationally coordinated response to the difficulties affecting us all.

The event will take place in virtual form on Sunday 26th April and will be hosted on RMweb.

Layout organiser, and friend, Stu Hilton of Truro, said “It’s a shame we cannot bring everyone together in our usual way this year but we are trying to do the next best thing and bring modellers together online and capture some of the atmosphere and great modelling that would have been on show”.

I look forward to posting content myself during the day about Fisherton Sarum and Canute Road Quay, both layouts have been exhibited at the event in previous years.

Some participants will post updates on their preparations ahead of the event and memories of previous days out together on the Saturday before the main event. We will host a railway-themed ‘pub quiz’ on the Saturday evening in lieu of everyone getting together for a pint in a local pub. On the day there will be plenty of content and chat from participants, a virtual ‘bring and buy’ to raise funds and a ‘virtual kitchen’ where readers can purchase virtual versions of the infamous pasties, pies and cake. The event will finish on the Sunday afternoon with a fundraising ‘virtual’ raffle and auction all to raise money for NHS Charities Together.

So join in over the weekend, if you are not already a member of the RM Web community,  simply sign up its free!

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By way of a distraction from the current COVID-19 situation, today is the Spring Equinox so I thought I would celebrate the start of spring and the cheery splash of colour that daffodils bring at this time of year!

Spring time at Fisherton Sarum, T14 class No 461 heads west passing the ‘daffodils’ appearing on the embankment between the main line and 21c159 “Sir Archibald Sinclair” waiting on shed.

In the meantime stay safe, keep in contact (not physical) and if possible assist with any isolating family, friends and neighbours, keep washing your hands, support those key people that can not work from home and are required to keep our services, shops, deliveries and the fantastic NHS running!

Remember that the only things worth panic buying are Southern Model Railway items (click here for help to do this)!

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This month picture…

Maunsell S15 4-6-0 is prepared for her next West of England goods turn. She is built from a DJH white metal kit. Just visible alongside is a Drummond K10 “Small Hopper” 4-4-0

 

PS. Happy Birthday to my Dad on the 16th of this Month…

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This months picture…

21C151 ‘Winston Churchill’ is turned ready for her next duty on the turntable at Fisherton Sarum

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This weekend, 23rd and 24th November,  is the annual, self styled National Model Railway Exhibition at the NEC in Birmingham organised by the Warley Model Railway Club. It has become a major event in the model railway calendar with a large number and wide of layouts along with many associated trade stands, the key manufacturers and model railway press all present.

An Adams B4 shunts past an arriving Andrew Barclay at Canute Road Quay. Picture copyright and courtesy M Wild  / Hornby Magazine

As has become usual the last few years I shall be at the show all weekend with Mike Wild editor of Hornby Magazine on their stand A44. Every year Mike has one of his many layouts on the Hornby Magazine  stand A44, however this year there will be an extra special display with not one but four layouts and they will all be in different gauges too! Two of which will be making their public debut, assuming that Mike manages to actually finish them on time, he does like a deadline…

The first, very much complete layout,  in 00 gauge will be my very own Canute Road Quay and it will be joined on the stand by: in N Gauge Barrenthorpe Shed, in 009 a narrow gauge Lynton and Barnstaple style terminus, and in 0 gauge (the magazines very first 7mm exhibition layout) a diesel depot scene. The latter two are so new they don’t even have a name yet!

Livery sample of the Hornby upcoming LSWR Warner brake van, note the fixed side lamps

One of the items that will no doubt be on show on the Hornby stand (not the Hornby Magazine stand) will be the livery samples of their forthcoming ex LSWR/SR/BR(s) Warner 20 ton goods brake van that was announced as being part of their 2019 range in January.
75 of this type of van were built between 1915 and 1921.

The SR version note lamp irons and different ducket style

They were known to staff as ‘New Vans’ a name which they kept well into the 1950’s! They were up-rated to 24T by the Southern Railway and became SR Diagram 1543.
I was able last month to take a sneaky look at these samples and take a couple of quick snaps of both the LSWR and SR versions on Canute Road Quay.

Six versions will initially be available:

  • R6911 –  No. 9646, in LSWR goods brown livery
  • R6911A – No. 5359, in LSWR goods brown livery
  • R6913 – No. 55062, in SR Pre 1936 goods brown livery
  • R6913A – No. 55009, in SR Pre 1936 goods brown livery
  • R6915 –  No. S55040, in BR unfitted grey livery
  • R6915 –  No. S55032, in BR unfitted grey livery

Although the show is considered by some a bit of a Marmite show (and who does not love Marmite!) I believe it is still well worth a visit and compared to other hobbies / events still a good value for money day out.
It is a chance to see inspirational modelling in every scale and gauge from across the UK and even Europe along with the major manufacturers and traders all under one roof.
If you are coming along at the weekend, please make sure you drop by the Hornby Magazine stand  A44 have a look at Canute Road Quay and a natter. I look forward to seeing you there!

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