Saturday 4th August
50 YEARS SINCE THE END OF STEAM
It was more of a celebration and a sharing of memories than it was a wake, but so many people came to Kidderminster station on 4th August 2018 to join in the party with the main guests 45110 and 48773. It was of course the 50th Anniversary of the end of steam traction on British Railways and our two engines had played such a part on those two last weekends – 48773 hauling a special train from Blackburn to Carnforth on 4th August 1968 and 45110 hauling, from Liverpool to Manchester and back, the first and last legs of the Fifteen Guinea Special a week later. And that was it, or so we thought.
We managed to find some of the railwaymen who fifty years ago had worked with the two engines, including the last man to drop the fire of 45110 after its historic trip. These men, from Lostock Hall and Rose Grove sheds, came all the way from the north west for the day to be re-united with the locomotives and be our very special guests. Also re-united were members of the Master Neverers Association, a group of photographers seeking that elusive ‘master shot’ and who had cleaned the engines the night before their epic journeys. Master shot meant a clean engine (and in the last days of steam they were rarely that without the attention of the MNA), and an instruction to the driver to create a lot of steam and smoke at the location where they would all be gathered. What better then than 50 years later to get the members of the MNA to show the crowds at Kidderminster their prowess in cleaning engines, and they entered into the spirit of the day cleaning 45110 for the benefit of other people’s cameras in the traditional way using paraffin and oil. Excuses such as poor paintwork, the wrong paraffin and oil and the heat of the day were heard – perhaps it was just that they needed more practice during those intervening fifty years, but I am not sure that it would have passed their exacting standards of 1968!
Both our main guests were open to visitors and all day the footplates of 45110 and 48773 were full of people either re-living fifty years ago or for most experiencing what a footplate is like for the first time. Remember the excitement all those years ago of ‘cabbing’ an engine! On the station concourse were many society stands gaining publicity and sales. We had 26 vintage cars on display, cars which would have been around in the 1960s, and all of this set to 1960s music which brought back a lot of memories. Whilst soaking all this atmosphere up, you could also drink a special beer called Last Days of Steam, with a commemorative label on featuring 45110 at Manchester Victoria on the Fifteen Guinea Special. There are a few bottles left should anyone feel the need for a souvenir.
In the evening we ran our own version of the Fifteen Guinea Special, with a lot of imagination required. It ran a week early, it did not run from Liverpool to Carlisle, it was not hauled by a Black 5, but it did have BR Mark 1 coaches. Some 71 people managed to brave the food which was a facsimile of the original High Tea from 1968! All the proceeds of this train by the way have been put towards the proposed museum extension at Kidderminster – more of which later.
We were also blessed with a visit from David Porter, who had saved 45110 from the cutter’s torch, and Colin Gifford, the man whose camera showed another side to railway photography in the 1960s. He was due to sign copies of his new book ‘Transition’. Sadly the book did not arrive on time, but nevertheless he was kept busy the whole day talking to people who had collected all his books but not met him. And that was the order of the day – so many people just talking and re-living those days when steam was an everyday thing, and none of us thought it was going to go. It was a mix of people on the day who worked on steam, who photographed steam, who travelled behind it, who never knew it but wanted to know more about it, but on the day there were so many smiles on faces that we are all looking forward to fifty years from now to celebrate the 2018 event!
It was a great 'do'.
Saturday 25th August (from 2.00pm on the first day) to Sunday September 30th
RAILART 2018 An exhibition of paintings by members of the Guild of Railway Artists
An exhibition of paintings by the Guild of Railway Artists is back at Kidderminster in 2018. The selection of the paintings was done on the 18th August and they include works by such top artists as John Austin, Phil Hawkins, Gerald Broom, Laurence Roche, David French, Michael Flanders, Eric Bottomley, Julie West, David Halliwell and Emma Safe. There will be 52 paintings on display and nearly all of them will be for sale. They range from watercolours, to acrylics, oils and charcoal and provide a really good mix of painting media, styles and sizes. If you have space on your wall there will be something for you to choose from! Admission is free, catalogues will be chargeable, but only pence. This is the 39th year of the Guild of Railway Artists and next year we will be hosting them again, with special plans for their 40th birthday. Watch this space, but in the meantime come and appreciate what can be done with a paint brush or piece of charcoal!
The new season of film shows will start in October. More details nearer the time.
Museum photos on the road
For future dates, please see our separate page or click here
For more information about these events, please contact
Kidderminster Railway Museum at email@example.com or ring