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Quainton News Archive - Quainton News No. 100 - October 2008

Past Times at Quainton - Tony Lyster

A review of past editions of Quainton News and other Society Journals.

Austin Harland has provided this article for many years, but has now decided, due to ill health, to hand over the reins. We thank Austin for his valuable contribution, not just to qn, but in many other activities at the Centre. Tony Lyster has kindly volunteered to take on the article commencing this edition of qn.

10 years ago - events of the first half of 1999

The summer 1999 edition of qn was a bumper 48 page issue to celebrate our 30th Anniversary. With Phil Marsh in the Editor's chair and 6024 King Edward 1, on the cover, apparently steaming into Quainton's platform 1 from Calvert (a former Quainton engine, it had arrived from Aylesbury) hauling the Aylesbury Centenary Express, there is strangely no mention of this inside the covers.

Inside are an abundance of photos from the first early years at Quainton as well as some from those before; articles from those early days highlighted the trials and tribulations of acquiring fast vanishing railway relics, as well as the first open days at the new home. Photos of Sir Thomas, Beattie, Juno and No.3 in steam are joined by pre-preservation shots of 6989, 41298 and Met 1.

On the locomotive front Keith and Sheila Lobley had just purchased Swanscombe, Pete Bradbury is seen precariously working on a backhead fitting on Gibraltar's out-of-frames boiler, news of the Beattie's overhaul and of Sydenham's imminent steaming, are matched with articles on Met 1's 'Steam on the Met' escapades and some of her earlier tour history.

The really big news was the start of the rebuild at Quainton of a certain station building from Oxford. Our President, Sir William McAlpine, is seen turning the first sod and later surrounded by some of the many parts in store. A 9 sheet set of plans for Rewley Road were kindly presented by Railtrack Great Western.

VAMES are not forgotten as they had spent the winter remodelling their main station, Golding Springs Central, to provide a through running line and, later, the now familiar overall canopy. Janice Uphill recounts her women's day at Tenterden and a new arrival in the form of the 3 wheel velocipede is announced.

There is a photo of Anthea Hanscomb speaking, that sticks in my mind, doubtless at length, from the floor at the AGM. Just behind her, is the raised Executive Committee table with the Chairman about to use his gavel, but the position of the photographer makes it look as if she is about to be hit on the head mid-sentence!

25 years ago, events of the first half of 1984

What I find so terrifying about reviewing the qn of winter 1984 is that I can remember it all so well! Issue 51 was the first to have colour, albeit limited to a green border on the cover, and the internal layout was rearranged, too. As the late John Fairman reminded us in his editorial, he took over the role more than 40 issues back and then he promised more changes in the next issue.

There was news from the Executive of the possibility of running our own regular steam trains to Aylesbury and, in preparation for this, the centre would now be open every Sunday from March to October with steam train rides available. We were then marketed as the Quainton Railway Centre.

The centre pages summed up the activities of 1983 - the foundations were dug for the ex Harlington signal box, with the late Simon Field on the digger, a hole was dug on the station forecourt (probably chasing yet another water leak) by Ray Horsley, Alan Sturrock and someone's backside (his head is in the hole!). The Laporte fireless loco is seen piloting David Potter's Peckett Hornpipe on the vintage train and a British Rail special is seen passing though.

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Trevor Paice - The Laporte Fireless locomotive undergoing the final stages of restoration in September 81

Three new engines had arrived. A Mr Peter Bradbury had just purchased Gibraltar, Roger and Sandy Wornham bought a Hunslet Austerity and Esso donated a Baguley diesel. Locomotive failures for Coventry and Peckett Hornpipe left only 7715 serviceable, but ultrasonic testing and subsequent welding returned Coventry to service in 3 weeks. The LSWR Milk Van, which had arrived in 1971, was purchased from RVP and the collection of GCR bogie coaches, which had changed ownership, left the Up Yard for storage near Banbury.

The big news was of the wanderings to the Lakeside & Haverthwaite Railway and Carnforth of Frank Boait's diminutive Peckett, the Flying Bufferbeam. Pictured on various passenger trains and next to Flying Scotsman, highlighted its lack of height - Scotsman's driving wheels are taller! At stages through this issue are mentions of the very useful weekend use of inmates from Springhill Open Prison. One phrase caught my eye - "The help we get from this source is of great value as many of the inhabitants of Springhill are skilled craftsmen." The author doesn't give their skills! Needless to say the scheme came to an abrupt end when at least one went back intoxicated!

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Trevor Paice - The Flying Bufferbeam June 81

The text in this Quainton Railway Society publication was written in 2008 and so does not reflect events in the 6+ years since publication. The text and photographs are repeated verbatim from the original publication, with only a few minor grammar changes but some clarifying notes are added if deemed necessary. The photos from the original publication are provided as scans in this internet version of this long out of print publication.

Past Times at Quainton - Tony Lyster - Quainton News No. 100 - October 2008

Text © Quainton Railway Society / Photographs © Quainton Railway Society or referenced photographer
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