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Quainton News Archive - Quainton News No. 63 - Summer 1987

Steam Heritage Awards


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Photo:
The Bucks Herald - British Coal Marketing Director Malcolm Edwards making his speech at the Steam Heritage Awards Ceremony on 2nd April. On his left are QRS Chairman Andrew Bratton and Robert Adley MP.


An Invitation to the Steam Heritage Awards
Thursday 2nd April 1987 with John Fairman

It was an offer I deeply appreciated; a sort of thank you for those years of producing Quainton News for the Society! I had been invited to join the special guests for the trip to Bucks on 2nd April.

The prospect was for a steam hauled special train from Marylebone to Princes Risborough thence diesel hauled to Quainton Road with all those distinguished persons and guests attending the British Coal Steam Heritage Awards 1986.

I made an early start from home, near Southampton, and at 9.15 at the former Great Central terminus found 4472 already on its seven coach train, gleaming in the sunshine and graced by its owner, Bill McAlpine, for a photocall. Locomotive and owner both looked splendid! At the buffer stops 47521 of Gateshead depot was standing quietly. It had brought in the stock. Many familiar faces in the enthusiast world, the railway press and, of course, British Coal arrived and took their seats and we were delighted to have with the Quainton party our President, Judge Verney.


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Photo:
The Bucks Herald - LNER A3 Pacific No. 4472 Flying Scotsman arrives at Princes Risborough with the Steam Heritage Awards Dining Car Special from Marylebone.


Soon we were steaming away on the interesting and familiar route past Neasden and Northolt, with that lovely Gresley roar at our head and the shriek of the whistle occasionally heard over the buzz of conversation and clink of coffee cups.

Before long we were at Princes Risborough, where the Pacific was replaced by 47559 Sir Joshua Reynolds for the final 13¼ miles to Quainton via Aylesbury. (Note: Sir Joshua painted a famous portrait of Sarah Siddons! Very subtle rostering to appeal to Met buffs?) Everyone detrained at Quainton and a very smart Sandy Wornham issued each guide with a red carnation. The visitors were all thrilled to see Metropolitan No. 1, our award winner, looking lovely and crimson and warm in steam at the platform , Coventry sizzling in the yard, glowing in fresh blue livery and sporting its NCB identity, and the hopper wagon also appropriately lettered. This was showing our Centre to fine advantage. Then came the first shock!

The inside of the Restoration Building had been transformed! The big doors had been shut and, as you entered the side door by the museum, you saw that the front half of the building had been cleared of stock, the track boarded over and covered with red carpet, rows of chairs laid out and, on the far side, a top table for the award presentations. The walls had been freshly painted and potted plants and flowers completed the illusion that Quainton had become Queen's Hall!


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Photo:
The Bucks Herald - The invited guests gathered inside the main restoration building for the ceremony


Now to the proceedings. They started with Andrew Bratton, our Chairman, welcoming all the guests to the Buckinghamshire Railway Centre - and he said the Society was honoured to be recommended by the Transport Trust and chosen as the venue for the event. He then introduced Malcolm Edwards, the Commercial Director of British Coal.

Mr Edwards explained in a breezy manner why British Coal supported the Heritage and was soon enthusing about the quality, reliability, competitive cost and value of coal and the advantages of the new coal burning appliances available. (Orders would be taken!) He also declared that coal had played a most important role in the country's industrial and railway heritage. "Today", he said, "I am pleased to celebrate these past achievements and to record the new profitability and enthusiasm in the industry". He then passed the microphone to David Morgan, Chairman of the Transport Trust, who announced that the Premier Award for Outstanding Technological Contribution had been won by the 71000 Steam Locomotive Trust - a cheque, a certificate and a Miner's lamp. Well deserved applause greeted the presentation made by Mr Edwards.

The Road category was won by W M G Hedges & Sons for their restoration of a Ruston Proctor showman's steam tractor. (The engine, a portable, was in steam in the yard and was beautiful.) This was followed by the Rail Special Merit Award presented to the Railway Preservation Society of Ireland; the Marine category was won by the Highland Steamboat Holidays Ltd. for their restoration of their Clyde Puffer; and the Static Engine Award category to the Mill Meads Pumping Station Preservation Trust. All the awards were presented by Mr Edwards with great humour and were accompanied by warm congratulations and applause.


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Photo:
The Bucks Herald - The astonished gathering look on in amazement as Met No. 1 makes its surprise entrance. Only the gathering of press photographers and key operating staff were aware that the award ceremony would have such a dramatic climax.


Finally, David Morgan announced the winner of the Steam Heritage Award in the Rail category. It was, of course, US for our restoration of Metropolitan No. 1. The Project Manager, John Carter, was invited to the rostrum to receive the award from Malcolm Edwards on behalf of the Centre. Then it all happened! A familiar whistle sounded outside the building, the double doors were flung open and then, to the amazement of all, especially the platform party, Met No. l, driven by Trevor Page and with Rebecca Bradbury as fireman, steamed gently in to the building, whistle tooting in triumph. Cheers and clapping greeted the superbly timed entrance. Malcolm Edwards observed that he was relieved the brakes had been restored; the locomotive had stopped just short of the rostrum! The presentation was made and John then returned the compliment to Mr Edwards with a Society membership certificate. Met. No. 1 then gracefully withdrew with appropriate whistling, the double doors closed and everyone was left wondering how to follow the brilliant staging of such a well earned restoration award.

The MP for Christchurch and Bournemouth, Robert Adley, then delighted the gathering with a short address of great humour. He observed that, to him, King Arthur was nothing to do with coal strikes, but was always a Southern Railway 4-6-0! He also observed with much pleasure that Flying Scotsman and her colleagues had helped to revitalise Marylebone station, to ensure its future and to thwart the road lobby's plans to convert it into a bus garage. He then referred to Steam town, Carnforth, and the work of Bernard Staite and Bill McAlpine and he congratulated them on the superb condition of 4472. A trophy was then presented to Bernard, who accepted it with thanks on behalf of his team.

The indoor proceedings were closed with votes of thanks given by David Morgan and the tour guides then showed the visitors round the site and offered trips in the LNWR twelve-wheeled diner behind the prizewinner, Met No. 1. Unfortunately, time was all too short and, reluctantly, the train had to leave for London at 1.30 pm (47559 had been to Calvert to run round during the award ceremony). 4472 also had been turned to avoid tender first running with the train and had been back to Marylebone. However, all was well. The dining car staff worked wonders and served a splendid luncheon on the return trip. The more energetic emerged at High Wycombe to witness the A3 take over from Sir Joshua and one train-timing enthusiast declared a maximum of 67mph before West Ruislip.

Arrival at Marylebone was at ten to four. Folk drifted away to their various destinations all over the country. Everyone was convinced that British Coal and steam make a great partnership!


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Photo:
Times Newspapers Ltd - Rebecca Bradbury and Met No. 1 pose proudly for Tim Bishop of The Times before the guests arrive. This photograph appeared on page 3 of The Times on 3rd April.


Notes:
The text in this Quainton Railway Society publication was written in 1987 and so does not reflect events in the 30+ years since publication. The text and photographs are repeated verbatim from the original publication, with only a few minor grammar changes but some clarifying notes are added if deemed necessary. The photos from the original publication are provided as scans in this internet version of this long out of print publication.

Reference:
Steam Heritage Awards - Quainton News No. 63 - Summer 1987


Text © Quainton Railway Society / Photographs © Quainton Railway Society or referenced photographer
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