Club Trip to the Salop Area 14th-16th April 2018

Club Trip to the Salop Area, 14th-16th April 2018

by Des and Ethel Ransom (edited by Mike Brett).
Photos by Noel Meeke of the Hereford Waterworks Museum.

Day 1 – Saturday April 14th 2018

Our pick-up point was Crediton at 6:10 am. It was a very foggy, chilly morning with two more pick-ups at Cadbury & Sampford Peverell where we arrived on time at 7 o’clock. With a full coach we headed up the M5. Our driver Kelvin had to stop at Sedgemoor Services for his compulsory 40 min rest, so there was time for breakfast if required. We crossed the Severn bridge still in thick fog, although this cleared as we neared Hereford.

Our first visit was the Hereford Waterworks Museum. Arriving there we were met by members of the volunteer staff who gave us an introductory talk with tea & biscuits supplied, which was very good of them. There were some very old engines, machinery and instruments on display; most impressive was the massive triple expansion steam engine. All too soon it was time to leave. I think the works was opened especially for our party.
At 12 noon we departed the Water Works for our final visit of the day, the Severn Valley Railway. We were all booked in for a rail trip from Kidderminster to Bridgenorth. On arrival our trip was delayed due to technical problems with an engine, so there was time to enjoy the small rail memorabilia museum there. Embarked and ready to go, our steam engine 0-6-0 number 7714 was a pannier tank engine similar to the Tivvy Bumper used on the Exe Valley line many years ago. We disembarked at Highley to visit the large engine museum, housing main line engines, which was very interesting. The coach had been driven on to pick us up at Bridgnorth. Our train was now pulled by a main line steamer, the GWR 7802 ‘Bradley Manor’. At Bridgnorth, sadly time was running out and we had no time to visit the funicular railway.
With most of us on the coach and ready to go, we were three people short. They had missed the train due to an over-zealous station guard, who would not let them on the departing train. The train manager admitted they were at fault, and so arranged a taxi from Highley to our hotel at Telford, at their expense. Michael stayed behind to make sure this happened.
Our coach driver’s driving time was running out, so reluctantly we had to leave, arriving with minutes to spare at our hotel the Buckatree Hall Hotel, near Telford, very close to the Wrekin. The evening meal was scheduled for 6:30 pm, so with no time to freshen up, it was ‘cases to our room’, which by the way had not been serviced (so a grumble there) and down to the meal.

Day 2

After a restful night and a full breakfast, we headed for the Black Country Living Museum and Dudley Canal Tunnel Trust. This was a full day’s visit with more than 65 places to explore. Our first thing was a 45 minute cavern & mine trip on a canal boat, with tunnels, which was fascinating. It was now time to eat, and we headed to Hobbs & Sons for traditional Fish & Chips, which was cooked the old way with beef dripping. What a lovely taste! A few more places to see and then on to the coach for a 4:30 departure at the end of day 2.

Day 3

We checked out, and with cases loaded we departed the hotel for a short visit to RAF Cosford, arriving by the 10 am opening time. We had one and a half hours to see as much as possible. A highlight of this visit was the Avro Lincoln, a later update of the Lancaster. The latter carried out attacks on the German Dams with the bouncing bombs, and had an enormous bomb bay capable of carrying the 10 ton Grand Slam, and Tall Boy, the earth quake bombs. Also worth a mention was the De Havilland Mosquito, one of the fastest fighter-bombers of its day with 4000 HP up front. I think RAF Cosford must still be operational as we saw four Jaguar ground strike fighters there.
Leaving Cosford our final visit was the British Motor Museum Gaydon, previously R A F Gaydon, base for the V Bomber force. The museum is a modern multi-million pound building with in excess of 400 cars and car-related items on display. Some Ethel had learnt to drive in.
All too soon it was time to depart for home. A very interesting three day break. Many thanks to Keith & Michael, and to Kelvin our driver, and to Blakes Coaches for making the trip very pleasant.