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Quainton News archive - Quainton News No. 35 - Summer 1978
The Ninth Annual General Meeting
This year's AGM on 15th April was held at the Village Hall, Quainton in the parish, so to speak. The meeting took a somewhat different form from previous years as the Executive Committee's 1977 Report (reproduced in full at the end of this article) was followed by presentations of reports giving details of the activities of the sub-committees. Each report was followed by questions from members and this format made the meeting interesting and lively.
Frank Boait told the locomotive story and said that we had more steamings last year than ever before, the work being shared equally between the three vacuum fitted Society engines and Del Etheridge's Peckett tank. By a narrow margin the veteran Beattie scored maximum with 19 days in traffic and 216 hours in steam. The vintage Barclay, Swanscombe also saw action on 13 days and our thanks were due to the owner. It was good news to learn that we had engaged the services of a group of BR boilersmiths from Derby who will undertake repairs to the copper fireboxes on the Pannier tank, 7715, and on the Beattie, 0314. He warned that a more major job would be required on 0314's firebox in two or three years time which would necessitate the removal of the boiler. Priority now was the retubing of our popular North British 0-6-0T, Coventry No. 1 and this is in hand and has taken precedence over the restoration of the 0-4-4T, L44. For the Carriage and Wagon sub-committee, John Parsons spoke of an eventful year with the arrival of the QRS Mk 1 coaches which he hoped to see in use in the not too-distant future in the up yard for passenger carrying duties. He also commended the excellence of Mike Gordon's work on restoring the LNWR kitchen-dining car and the steady progress being made on the Gresley corridor second brake coach. John was very concerned, (we should all be!), with the importance of seeing our vintage train of four and six wheeled carriages kept under cover and he looked forward to the completion of the Wembley building to house them. He thought we should also give serious thought to the saturation point reached on the busiest Open Days when only one train is operated in the down yard. At question time Dick Scott asked when the vintage train would be retired and he was told the policy was to have a vintage train in the down yard and soon, we trust, modern vehicles forming a train operating in the up yard, perhaps with L44 or an Ivatt as motive power!
Turning the attention of members to the Depot sub-committee Ray Hedley acknowledged that Dick Scott and his merry (JCS) men had done a great job on the many depot tasks and has stolen much of his section's thunder. Ray referred to the fact that the roof of the restoration building had been damaged during a winter gale and he said we had almost lost Guy Heap while carrying out repairs! Rather modestly Ray mentioned his long haul installing electrical wiring, equipment and lighting in the restoration building and the adjoining premises, a project nearly completed. (Many thanks to Ray, say all of us). More help is still required by Ray for repair work on the station building and to keep the loos in good order.
Permanent Way's very busy year was reported to members by Neville Royce. The experimental use of concrete pot 'sleepers' from the up yard headshunt for relaying No 4 road in the down yard where loco fires are dropped was interesting but undoubtedly the major task in the summer of 1977 was the start of the track move on the up yard headshunt to give 15ft clearance with the BR main line to allow the fence to be erected between the lines. Neville reminded us of the big job his team tackled when they carefully dismantled the double slip which at one time had controlled the throat of the up yard. But the really major exercise started in November which was the realignment of the running line between the Permanent Way cabin and the site formerly known as Quainton South. (This was shown on the drawing in 'Quainton News No. 33). This job was finished by the Easter weekend and has proved a complete success.
Trevor Chalmers said that 1977 had been rather a static year for Signals with passenger trains continuing to run on the one-engine-in-steam principle without any operating signals. As some compensation for the absence of signals in use Tim Stevens had organised the excellent signalling display over the August Bank Holidays which had attracted much favourable comment from the public. Trevor also reported on the installation of a 30-extension switchboard purchased from the Post Office and this had been in use for the Easter Open Days.
The work of the Open Days sub-committee was given by David Glennie. He explained their philosophy in providing everything to keep people 'happy' on their visits to Quainton, not only steam trains, (although they play their part!), but other entertainment for the whole family. The value of publicity was emphasised and discussion hinged around the choice of Sundays for steaming and the desirability of levelling the attendances over Open weekends by special attractions on the Saturdays and Sundays.
A new reporting committee was the 6989 Wightwick Hall group and it was encouraging to learn that the work to date included the removal of the boiler cleating and lagging, the stripping of the sanding gear and all the steam pipes and blast pipe from the smokebox and the preparation of the boiler for further inspection. A safety valve is being made at Swindon, also two clack valves. Great stuff! - but obviously no dates yet for steaming! Thank you Rod Thomas and your group of enthusiastic workers. More good news followed; from, wait for it, our Treasurer! Andrew Bratton told the meeting that our financial status is quite sound. 'We are, believe it or not, one of the most profitable preservation societies in the country and provided we do not overstretch ourselves, we should remain profitable, in my opinion.' These were Andrew's actual words; good news indeed, but Andrew also pointed out the rather poor response to the appeal for the bookshop and catering fund building and he warned against taking a further bank loan requiring interest charges and with pay back in three years; an intolerable burden. The Job Creation Project, welcome as it has been, has made a steady drain on our finances for materials, in fact £6,434 was spent on buildings in 1977. Following discussion on funds for retubing Sir Thomas, the possibility of another diesel shunter for Quainton and the profit / loss on the Bank Holiday charter DMU, the adoption of the report was carried.
Then came the Election of Members to the Executive Committee and this has been dealt with in this issue's Editorial. The welcome tea break was taken while votes were counted.
The meeting then considered the first resolution. It was proposed by Dave Potter and seconded by Robin Waywell and was, 'The membership express their dissatisfaction with the lack of progress made in respect of the new bookshop / catering building and instruct the Executive, (1) To obtain planning permission as a matter of urgency; (2) To use the existing monies in the fund to commence work on the foundations, etc; (3) To keep the fund open until the building is complete. Much discussion followed and there was a lot of sound common sense from Andrew on the financial implications of starting on a project costing an estimated £10,000 for the building and £2,000 for fitting out. Should one invest say, £2,000 in foundations when the rest of the building might be years away? Two other ideas were put forward. What about a Portacabin costing, say, £2,600, and seeing how this would fill the bill for five or six years? Or what about a full brake parcels van in the up yard dock? This might cost about £1,200. Ah, yes, this seemed to be quite an idea. So, after more debate it was proposed, seconded and carried, 'That a full brake be purchased' and, with grateful thanks John Carter and Steve Knapman undertook to take over the project and see it through. Please note that the fund is still open and John Parsons will be looking out for a suitable vehicle; preferably a bogie van with a sound steel roof.
The second resolution was then put before the meeting and this was proposed by Anthea Hanscomb and seconded by Peter Hanscomb. It was as follows: ( 1) That the present project to signal the down yard for two train running is not of sufficient attraction to the public to justify the cost and manpower involved, so should be deferred for the present in favour of one train working in both yards. (2) That the Signalling Department be asked to study the feasibility of setting up, for the 1979 Open Days, working equipment which the Society already owns, and can be worked by the public. (3) That other Departments be asked to study the feasibility of setting up in their departments displays or demonstrations of interest to the public.
Again we had a lively discussion which persuaded the members that we had (almost) an obligation to proceed with the up yard signalling and not enough pairs of willing hands to do too many things at the same time. Consequently there was an amendment to the resolution. 'That we go ahead immediately with the installation of a mechanical signalling system in the down yard, followed perhaps by a display in the up yard.' This was proposed by Trevor Chalmers, seconded by Rod Thomas and carried.
In describing this AGM in some detail I hope members who couldn't attend and visitors alike will capture some of the atmosphere, depth of subject matter, and the personal enthusiasms of those who are devoting so much time and effort voluntarily to the worthwhile plans for a working railway museum at Quainton. And if you can help just pick the type of work you would like to do and write to the Committee member representing your interest. There is one thing we are really short of and that is willing hands. Come on! Have a go!
Text © Quainton Railway Society / Photographs © Quainton Railway Society or referenced photographer
Page Updated: 17 November 2017