Heroism at Liss station prior to WW1

Petersfield Post 28th November 2018 Nostalgia Section recalls an act of heroism by the booking clerk, Percy Norwood,  at Liss Railway Station on November 27th 1913 for which he received the Edward Medal*- a forerunner of the George Medal.

He saved the life of a local blacksmith who was driving a cart approaching the railway crossing. The pony pulling the cart bolted and dashed into the level crossing gates throwing Harry Rasell into the path of an approaching train. Norwood just succeeded in getting Rasell clear, but the engine which had been thrown into reverse by the engine driver, still struck Norwood on the head causing him  serious injuries – fractured skull amongst others.  After recovery he returned to work on the London & South Western Railway. He died in 1972 aged 79.

Percy Norwood came from Eastleigh and in 1977 a primary school was named after him. The school holds an annual event to remember his heroism.

*Edward Medal instituted in the reign of Edward VII for miners, quarry men and industrial workers who had risked their lives for fellow workers. In 1971 holders of this medal were given the option of converting their award to the George Cross. This was introduced in 1940 for acts of great courage not in the face of an enemy and is the highest bravery award that can be given to civilians. One of the most famous recipients of the GC was the people of Malta for their courage in the siege of that island  by the Italian and German forces during WW 2

A new “addition” to the History of Liphook Station-crime

Following a fascinating article on crimes on the LSWR, in the latest issue of the South Western Circular, I have added a small piece on the attack perpetrated by an Army Colonel. He joined  a London bound train at Liphook, just over 142 years to the day and indecently assaulted a lady passenger  as the train travelled at speed between Woking and Esher.

Network South East

This British Railways Sector was formed on this day in 1986 under the leadership of Chris Green. It comprised the following area, replacing in its area the BR Regions that had existed since Nationalisation in 1948

 It absorbed the entire London suburban network as well as Kent, Surrey, Sussex, Hampshire and beyond to Weymouth, Salisbury and Exeter, plus the Isle of Wight; north to Bedford, Northampton and Banbury; west to Bedwyn; east to Kings Lynn, Harwich, Clacton and Shoeburyness In terms of BR regions, it encompassed the entire Southern (re-branded as Southeast, Central and Southwest), plus parts of the Western, Midland and Eastern (re-branded West, North and East – West subsequently became Thames & Chiltern and East became Anglia). 
There was a “tube style” system map across the network; red platform lamp posts and a NSE logo and livery on rolling stock and station signage. Electronic clocks on all platforms and more staff.
It lasted until 1994 when the whole system was prepared for privatisation by the creation of line management the precursor to the  letting of private franchises
For much more info see the Network South East Society site http://www.nsers.org/what-was-nse.html  

Southern Nouveau & the Lineside

Just received my copy of this book from Irwell Press and for devotees of all things Southern what a a book.

I have had only the briefest of looks but it is a feast of all the items that made the Southern have such a distinctive “house style”. Buildings, lamp standards, signage- it all appears to be here in this book, which was definitely a labour of love for all those who were involved over many years and there were many- all listed on the first pages.

Well done all- many hours of armchair reading awaits plus also hopefully lots more fine Southern layouts in all scales.


Recent Anniversaries

Yesterday- 14th May

Railway preservation- The first operating railway company in the world to be taken over by a volunteer preservation society- Talyllyn 1951

Today- 15th May

Birth of Frank Hornby in Liverpool 1863

Inventor of Meccano construction “toy” and founder of the company of the same name, who’s products included Hornby Trains, Dinky Toys & Hornby Dublo

Southern pre-cast concrete footbridges remembered

An interesting article in the Southern Railway’s Group Notebook just received today, reminded me that these structures, which were prefabricated to a standard design and such a feature of Southern Railway stations, were nearly coincidental with the formation of the company in 1923.

The first such example was designed by W.H Shortt M Inst CE, the L&SWR later SR Divisional Engineer at Exeter,  in whose patch the Exmouth Concrete Works, where they were made, had been established in 1913, and was erected in 1924. This first installation took 13 hours and the design was described thus by the designer in a report published in The Railway Engineer- “No bolts or tie rods are anywhere used to hold the various parts of the bridge together, all being designed to be mutually self-supporting when once fitted together; further, no reinforcement is anywhere exposed for the purpose of joint making..”

The design continued to be used well into British Railway days and spread far & wide, in many cases well beyond SR or BR(S) territory. I have seen one at Towyn (North Wales)- now demolished. Hornby Dublo produced a die-cast metal model version in OO which probably means there was one within easy travelling distance of the Meccano works in Binns Road, Liverpool 3!

There are plenty still around, which for a 94 year old design ain’t bad!

South West Trains- Sorry to see you go

So one of the best run rail franchises over the past 21 years, South West Trains (Stagecoach) has lost its franchise  to First.

Sorry to see them go- obviously running it well for 21 years doesn’t count much with the Department against Transport.

First- you’ve got a great act to follow and based on your performance elsewhere  we could all be in for a rough ride!

Another railway themed interest?

I was recently given a GWR  1d Prepaid Newspaper Parcel stamp by a neighbour of ours who is a serious philatelist.

I must admit I had never heard of these before.

After a bit of research it appears that all British railway companies were allowed to carry letters  after an 1891 Act- the Railway Letter Act, which  laid down the conditions for this trade, which preserved the Post Office monopoly on carrying letters. All Railway Letters had to carry a normal postage stamp plus a railway letter stamp the colour and size of which, together with the price was covered by the legislation.

In simplistic terms the surcharge for the railway letter was fixed at twice the price of the postage stamp.

However there never was any monopoly on the carriage of parcels and therefore the stamp I was given, was not part of any Government legislation, but merely a means of collecting revenue on parcels.

Unlike the railway letter I assume the Newspaper parcel was not delivered by the GPO, but had to be collected by the recipient from their local station.

It being Britain there is of course a group who covers the railway aspects of philately called the Railway Philatelic Group which has over 200 members

Another railway themed interest for winter nights?

Carter Paterson

Last Sunday I picked up  from Wessex Wagons stand at the Uckfield Show some OO wagons and an O gauge coal wagon.

The OO wagons included a Carter Paterson container on an SR flat.

It is quite amazing how few models of CP’s fleet you see on model railways set up to the 40’s & 50’s. Their lorries were seen on every street delivering & collecting goods & parcels- I believe they were THE parcel carrier in those days & had been owned by the “big four” railway companies from 1933, although the company dated back to 1860. For most of their existence they acted as parcel agents for  railway companies.

After the railways and road transport nationalisation in 1948, they were progressively absorbed into British Road Services.

They were also associated closely with a breed of dog- the Jack Russell terrier. To cut down on pilfering from the rear of their delivery/collection lorries they had a large number of these canine “employees”. The dogs spent their working lives bedded down with the parcels in the rear area of the covered lorry. Wobetide any light fingered opportunist who placed his hand inside this area. The breed are very territorial & have extremely sharp teeth. The company gave proper provision for their welfare & feeding & were probably lodged with the drivers family when not working!

I have personal knowledge of the breed- they are the most loyal & active dogs imaginable and in the past were used to flush out or kill fox cubs in their lair  or hunt rats. They do however make wonderful house dogs and are great characters full of spirit!

Would make a wonderful High Street scene on a layout, with the open back lorry- often just a canvas curtain and a little terrier looking out.