Member's Page

Obituary - Geoff Eldridge

A keen member since 2014, Geoff passed away on 24th May 2022, losing his battle with Motor Neurone disease. An accomplished photographer, Geoff was skilled with Photoshop, producing, until very recently, the prints we give when somebody joins the 61673 Constructors Club.


Geoff Eldridge

Geoff also helped with recording and working with Tony B on the Trust's collection of historic B17 related photos. The Trust has expressed its sympathy and condolences to his widow and family, whilst also recording our grateful thanks for Geoff's contributions and help to B17 during his membership with us.

A lockdown project.

One member, Joshua Cooper produced this coloured line drawing of 2800 'Sandringham' as his lockdown 3 project.Joshua Cooper Drawing 2

An Online Project Update talk - 10th September

With the Pandemic still restricting actual meetings, the Trust used the Zoom platform to give a project update to interested members. The talk covered the current organisation, progress to date and the plans for the next 2/3 years and the current ad planned fundraising ideas. The talk was well received from the feedback received, and more will be planned. One advantage of this format was the ability to welcome our far flung members in North America to be able to attend.

Memories of a Member - Derek Dorling - August 2020

I've spent all my 72 years living in and near Bury St Edmunds, which is midway on the cross country line connecting Ipswich to Cambridge and Ely. It was also a junction for the Long Melford and Thetford branch lines which are both long gone.
Between 1957 and 1960, as a lad l, discovered train spotting and hours were spent on the platform's at Bury Station with very occasional visits to Ipswich and Cambridge. By this time lots of Sandys had been displaced from mainline duties and many were sent to Cambridge, Ipswich and March Depots to end their days. B12s, occasionally L1s, and of course, these beautiful Green B17 & B2 “Sandys” shared the local passenger work.
I was immediately enthralled by the wonderful names of these locos, most of which are still firmly imprinted in my mind. Unknown to me at the time, l was probably seeing some of them on their final duties before being condemned. I imagine that most of the local Sandy’s visited Bury St Edmunds Station at some point, but names that stick in my memory are as follows:
Footballers Doncaster Rovers, Sunderland, Sheffield United, Nottingham Forest, B2 Norwich City, Darlington and Derby County. West Ham United was seen and cabbed at Ipswich. 
Country Houses  B2 Blickling, Raynham Hall, Woodbastwick Hall, B2 Castle Hedingham, B2 Fallodon, Welbeck Abbey, Clumber, Raby Castle, Naworth Castle, B2 Culford Hall, Serlby Hall, Harlaxton Manor, Somerleyton Hall, Kilverstone Hall and  Kimbolton Castle. Thorpe Hall was seen and cabbed at Ipswich and Gayton Hall at Cambridge. 
My special favourites are firstly Raynham Hall which was the only Sandy I travelled behind. She was a regular for some time on the heavy morning train from up North which terminated at Colchester and was affectionally called “The Colchester”.  She would have taken over the train at March and would arrive at Bury about 9.30am, soon after the Britannia hauled Harwich Continental Boat Train had left Bury in the opposite direction heading North.  One morning with a couple of friends we caught The Colchester as far as Ipswich to spend the day spotting, and can remember still how excited I was when the smoke box number 61611 pulled into the platform. Once under way, I remember hanging out of a window watching the Old Girl slogging her way up the gradient from Bury to Thurston.
Second favourite was Woodbastwick Hall, a regular Camb-Ipswich for some time; I just loved that wonderful name and still make a point of driving through Woodbastwick when up that way.
Third fav was Sunderland when she appeared on a totally unexpected Ipswich bound parcel train late one summer evening just as I was heading home. She was a great cop being a Norwich loco. 
Fourth and finally dear old Blickling. She continued to clank into Bury for some time after the others had disappeared until 1960 when she too was scrapped as the last B2 Sandy. A big regret I have was being unable to spot the Norwich and Yarmouth Sandy’s.
Things were changing fast now and I remember running to tell the crew of an L1 tank that water was leaking from a hole in one of the side tanks. The driver said "don't worry Son she's being scrapped tomorrow, but we're giving her a good final run". I was shocked as it dawned on me what was happening so quickly, with our region receiving the first Railcars, Class 31 and Class 40 Locos. Diesels soon ruled OK by then, leaving me firmly in the Steam Age where I continue to be today. Happy Days.
A Tale of Yorkshire Tea Bags

Last autumn, a member's family went on a holiday to northern India - Assam and Darjeeling (but not with Sandy!). They took with them a supply of 'Yorkshire' tea bags to ensure a good brew! Rather like taking coals to Newcastle! This story was communicated to Taylor's of Harrogate and following an exchange of humourus e-mails, a box with 480 'Yorkshire' tea bags in a sealed bag was sent to support the B17 SLT fund raising efforts. It was intended that these bags should be a 'lot' in the on-train raffle at the Trust's annual day out; unfortunately, due to the Coronavirus health crisis, the day out was cancelled.Yorkshire Tea

So as not to waste these bags, they were subject to an auction among 'Cambs & Fens' group members and supporters. The bidding began at a modest £2.50 and gradually rose to £10 and then £15. Then the serious bidding began with a bid of £60. Not to be outdone a rival offer of £70 was received; these two gentlemen then slugged it out until the final winning bid of £130 being made by Graham Smith of Market Deeping near Peterborough. Through the generosity of Graham and the determination of the under bidder, this has been a magnificent result for the Trust.

Sandy Self Isolating

Back from his adventures in India, He just managed to get out but has had to go into self isolation in deepest Warwickshire.  Here he is, with yet another glass of Chardonnay.

Sandy self isolating

Obituary - Frank Roberts

Our good friend and fellow member Frank Roberts sadly passed away on Friday 13th March 2020 at his home in Cambridge after his battle against cancer. Frank lived all of his life in the city and was a fervent railway enthusiast with a passion for steam. He was renowned for sharing his lifelong memories with his friends and strangers alike where his recall of explicit details from past and present were consistently sharp and to the point. Frank always supported our promotional events held throughout East Anglia including the meetings held in Stevenage, with his words of encouragement and a promise that he would visit us again at the next local event on the calendar. (This was Frank - just checking!) We will certainly miss this cheerful character. He was an instant friend to us all and particularly so to our Essex based members with whom a special camaraderie had grown up over the years. Details of Frank’s funeral service are not known at present but prevailing (health) restrictions already limit attendance to close family members only. In memory of Frank – a good friend indeed!

Obituary - Chris Hazlehurst

Christopher Hazlehurst, a good friend and a fellow member, known to us as ‘Chris’ passed away on Saturday 9th November 2019 in Boston hospital following a sudden illness. He was a native of Colchester, where he spent many hours as a youngster taking in the local railway scene and with his mates would also visit the renowned Bob Todd at his home in Edmonton. Here Chris, with the other boys, would watch cine film with soundtrack of the steam era made by Bob Todd himself and also admire the many locomotive nameplates on permanent display. By the early 1970s, Chris became one of the founder members of The Stour Valley Railway at Chappel and Wakes Colne. He went on to work as a volunteer with a number of other heritage lines in those early years, with The Bluebell and The Great Western Society prominent. In later years Chris also supported various steam and diesel locomotive preservation groups. He was involved with the establishment of The B17 Steam Locomotive Trust from its earliest days becoming an early member upon its formation to continue as a staunch supporter to the B17 project. The funeral service for Chris was held at Boston Crematorium on Thursday 19th December 2019.  

Sandy's Holidays in India  

India 1 Sandy has just returned from an extended tour abroard, visiting some fasinating places. Here's his first photo with his friend Sahil - where is he?
Sandy went to visit new friends on his holiday, but he took some old friends with him. He was not sure that they suited the local dress fashion though - can you recognise Sandy's old friend? India 2

On leaving Amritsar, Sandy took the Kangra Valley Railway which runs for 162Km from Amritsar up into the foothills of the Himalayas. The Railway was built by the British in order to transport construction materials for a hydro-elecric Power station. It is now used as transport for the local population. Sandy got off the train at Kangra for a brief rest and also to meet some more new friends.

At Kangra Station, Sandy met an 85 year old lady who sells refreshments from her front porch. She has been doing this for 70 years and has appeared in a documentary film shown in the UK. Sandy helped out for a bit and promised to keep in touch.
Sandy then asked the Station Master if he could have a go at being the signalman before catching the next train.
India 4 India 5 India 6

After a break and looking round Kangra, Sandy got the early afternoon train to head further up the line. Sandy decided to travel to the top of the line which is in the foothills of the Himalayas. (Photo below). Sandy always likes to make new friends, so he waited outside the Station Masters Office until the Station Master was free. Unfortunately, it was too late in the day for Sandy to try his hand at anything however, he had enjoyed his day! 

India 7 India 8 India 9
Sandy's next stop was a visit to the Kalka Shimla Railway - this is a narrow gauge railway that runs from Kalka (on the plains outside Delhi) up to Shimla in the mountains. The journey of 60km takes 6 hours because of the gradient. It is a popular tourist railway as Shimla was the summer base for the Colonial Government. After arrival by car in Shimla, Sandy waited patiently to see the Station Master and ask what he could do to help.
Sandy was shown to the only remaining steam engine on the line - No 520 - and asked to start cleaning. Sandy was amazed to see where the locomotive was built and had his work cut out to clean the cab ready for use. Sandy was told that if he did a good job he might get a trip up the line.
India11 India12 India13 India14
Gerry Bennett - Obituary
Our good friend and fellow member ‘Gerry’ Bennett sadly passed away on Tuesday 22nd October 2019 in hospital after a serious fall. He will certainly be missed by the many of his friends who shared the common interest of railways and the ‘old days'. A genuine character indeed, who always joined in conversations with anyone and everyone he came into contact with. He was an instant friend to us all and was keen to share his memories with us. Gerry’s funeral service was be held at the Cheltenham Crematorium (Prestbury) GL52 5JT.

More B17 nameplates at Mangapps

A member has sent me a photo of the latest acquisition by the Mangapps Railway Museum of another B17 nameplate - I think that's John Jolly's 5th or 6th, but certainly the best display of B17 nameplates anywhere. The Trust, of course, has 2.

somerleyton hall

Streamlined Model!

For those interested in the B17/5 variants, one member has sent me pictures of his working OO model of 2870 'City of London'. It was created by Roy Mears using a resin casting from Dean Sidings (currently the kit is off the market, but hopefully back one day). The kit was designed for a chassis from a Hornby B17, but modified to take a motorised chassis under the loco body. The painting, by a third party, is superb.

B17 5 OO resin model reduced B17 5 OO finished model reduced

Rochford Garden Railways Group Day Out – 15thAugust 2018

Four B17 members usually found in gardens somewhere in Essex running either 16mm live steam, 00 or 10mm narrow gauge, saw a change of venue in Burnham-on-Crouch visiting the Mangapps Railway Museum for the day. Truly a wonderful experience, with a large collection of locomotives (including the largest collection of 03 diesels in the UK), coaches, wagons and a huge number of railway memorabilia, most of which are related to the East Anglia area.

Amongst the museum items we found three B17 nameplates – these are displayed here. 


Our thanks to John Jolly, owner of the Mangapps Railway Museum, for permission to photograph these nameplates and reproduce them on the website.


Also, thanks to another member, Joshua Cooper, who on the day we found volunteers at Mangapps, was guarding for the day and who showed us around areas of the museum not normally open to the public.