Sutton Coldfield Railway Society

1968 was a sad and seminal year in railway history but 50 years on there are reasons to celebrate with many organisations clocking up five decades since their inception in the dying days of steam, and the Sutton Coldfield Railway Society is one of them. Sarah Palmer went to chat to some of its members on one of their track nights.

On my way on the train to meet the lovely chaps, and ladies, at SCRS I had a brief stop at Doncaster station. I’m an East Coast Main Line girl, so cold and grey stops at Doncaster, or Donny, station are something I’ve learned to endure.

However, rather pleasant waiting rooms have been installed and it was while waiting in the tepid warmth (things haven’t improved that much yet!) for the train to Birmingham New Street that I had the pleasure of seeing a small group of railway enthusiasts diesel spotting. I wonder what the collective noun for railway enthusiasts is? Do send in your suggestions.

One member was having lots of fun adding lots of wagons to this very long train.

This little group was busily writing down numbers, bright-eyed and excited, looking for all the world like Last of the Summer Wine extras. It was such a lovely sight. You could almost see the small boys in the grey-haired men before me, eagerly clutching their Ian Allan books while getting covered in soot smuts while noting down a loco number as it steamed past.

Encounters with railway people, who as they talked I could see their childhood selves reflected in their current enthusiasms, was to be a recurrent theme of my trip to Sutton Coldfield, with one member recalling seeing Kings and Castles thundering through his formative years. It was also in evidence on the model railway track as another member was adding as many trucks and tank wagons to his loco as he could. One after another after another. It made me laugh as my little boy does the same thing with his Brio layout and then wonders why it won’t take sharp-radius curves. I did notice later on that the extremely long train did end up being pulled by a Deltic, which did seem to improve performance, but did leave one steam fan a bit miffed!

This year the SCRS is celebrating its golden anniversary and there are two of the original founder members still active within the society – Derek Haywood, who is now a trustee, and Mike Bartleet.

For the full article, see the March edition of Modelling – available now!

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