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Quainton News Archive - Quainton News No. 64 - Winter 1987 / 88

VAMES - by John Clarke

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Bucks and Herts Newspapers - Ajax and Sir Nigel Gresley, assisted by John Clarke, entertain the children at Aylesbury station open day on 20 June 1987.

Very often at Quainton the question is heard: When, if ever, will one of the resident locomotives be seen steaming into Aylesbury BR station? Well, to let the cat out of the bag, it happened on Saturday 20 June, at the Network SouthEast open day. Admittedly, the three locomotives concerned were moved to Aylesbury in car boots, but (as the picture shows) we did steam in the presence of very distinguished company - none other than Sir Nigel Gresley himself (the A4 Pacific of course, we're not into reincarnation).

This illustrates one of the activities outside Buckinghamshire Railway Centre that the members of VAMES are involved in. The main summertime occupation is the operation of our portable miniature track at various functions - usually of a charitable nature. In 1987 this enabled the donation of substantial contributions to national and local charities. These have included Aylesbury Hospice, the Iain Rennie Hospice and the Hungerford Massacre Fund. In previous years we have also supported the Stone and Manor House Hospital Fetes - but, as these have now been discontinued, it has been decided that, on two Sundays every year, our takings from the miniature railway should be presented to selected charities.

Continuing the theme of activities away from the Centre, some of our members have visited other miniature railways during the year. The most memorable was undoubtedly to the Witney and Oxford Model Engineering Society track at Blenheim Palace, which has now, unfortunately, been dismantled. The members are to build a new track in Oxford - but, in the meantime, it is hoped that some of them may be able to take up the offer of running facilities at Quainton as our guests.

Visits to our track were made by Bournemouth MES on 5 July and by the Ascot Loco Society on 16 August. The selection of different locomotives included such varied machines as a 7¼ inch narrow gauge slate quarry locomotive, which distinguished itself by pulling every passenger car we have, fully loaded; down to a number of 3½ inch gauge express locomotives. It is hoped to include photographs of these in later articles.

During the winter, our activities have or will include the operation of our portable track and an exhibition stand at the annual Aylesbury Railex Exhibition, held at Aylesbury Civic Centre, on 3 October - plus portable track operation at Buckinghamshire Railway Centre, inside the restoration building, during the Santa Steaming open days.

In addition, we hold monthly evening meetings at Southcourt Community Centre, Aylesbury, on the first Friday of each month, at 7.30 pm. The activities vary, but often we have visiting speakers on a variety of subjects of interest to steam or railway enthusiasts. Any QRS members who are interested would be very welcome to attend.

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John Clarke - Our Jack

The text in this Quainton Railway Society publication was written in 1987 and so does not reflect events in the 27+ 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.

VAMES - by John Clarke - Quainton News No. 64 - Winter 1987 / 88

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