Secretary's Report 1998-1999

This year we held a total of 16 meetings, featuring 13 speakers.

Michaelmas Term

We began the year with a club formal hall at Magdalene, followed by a members' slide evening in the junior treasurer's room. The first speaker meeting was addressed by David Tandy, engineering director of Thrall Europa, who spoke on "the Resurrection of York works", and the bright future of wagon building in Britain. Due to a sudden serious illness our next speaker was had to cancel at the last minute (eight o'clock on the night of the meeting...), and club member Andrew Paton stepped into the breach to give us a history of his railway career. We went further back into history for our next meeting, as Brian Crowther of the H&BR Stock Fund spoke on the Hull, Barnsley and West Riding Junction Railway and Dock Company. Travelling from the distant past to the future in a week, the sixth meeting was with Malcolm Dobell, of London Underground, speaking on "The Space Train design concept", providing us with a run down of the past, present and future of sub-surface and tube stock, including radical new plans for overhead electric stock. Our final meeting of the term was with David Burton, managing director of WAGN. This became a very informal question-and-answer style session, before Mr Burton ran off to catch his company's last train from Cambridge.

Lent Term

The first meeting of Lent term was addressed by Brian Carter, when the planned Midland Metro speaker had to pull out with only a week's notice. Brian spoke on personal experiences of "Europe 1998". In the next meeting life member Andrew Hellawell, assistant editor of Railway Gazette International spoke to us on the subject of "Is privatisation working?", looking at how privatisation has been approached both here and abroad. Our third meeting saw Richard Crane, of the Bedford to Bletchley Rail Users' Association, talk about the past - and possible future - of the line from Cambridge to the home of Britain's third best university . Following on from this, our next speaker was Charles Belcher, Managing Director of Silverlink TOC, giving the company's views on the Bedford to Bletchley line, class 31s, St Alban's dieselisation and other issues. The annual photographic competition was judged by David Brown, of "Traction" magazine (the winner are listed elsewhere). The final meeting of term was with Paul Davison, Managing Director of Northern Spirit TOC, who gave an excellent talk on his company, and made a most generous donation to the club's finances.

Easter Term

Member Bill Fraser spoke to us on the Great North of Scotland Railway for our first meeting of Easter term, and Chris Elliott, Engineering Director of Midland Metro, was our final speaker of the year, with a high-tec PowerPoint presentation. He spoke on the problems that have delayed the Metro (and caused him to cancel his attendance on the previous occasion!).

The annual dinner, held in the Old Library, Pembroke College, was a success, with David Morgan of the Heritage Railway Association as our guest. Graham James gave the life members speech. Unfortunately we were only able to get one speaker, as many of those invited could not make it on that date. 23 people attended the dinner, including the speaker.

We have had one visit this year, to March South and East mechanical signal boxes, attended by about 15 people, many of us even travelling there and back by train!

The mean attendance at meetings was 12 people, with the maximum of 17 seen at the Other-Place to Cambridge talk. We have been quite successful at recruiting this year, with an increased number of first years joining the Club. We have also had an increased number of "town" members attending, along with University staff members.

Three of the first years have agreed to join next year's committee. They are Peter Wightman, Junior Treasurer, a geographer from Sidney Sussex; Martin Williams, Visits Secretary, a mathmo from Christ's; and Andrew Elms, Secretary, a Peterhouse engineer. I will be staying on as President, as I am around for another year as a fourth-year-NatSci.

It remains for me to wish the new committee members luck for next year, and to thank you all for supporting the Club this year, especially Brian Carter, Chris Brooks, Nick Pyper and Bill Fraser, the last year's committee. I hope to see you again in October!

Andrew Grantham.
Pembroke College, Cambridge, CB2 1RF. - last updated 17/08/99