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Thames Valley Area Group meeting in Newbury – Saturday 19 November

It was good to see so many Lynton & Barnstaple Railway (L&BR) members and non-members gather in Newbury Baptist Church Hall on the afternoon of Saturday 19 November. The attendance register showed that some folk had travelled from as far afield as Bristol, Corby, Hambledon and New Milton, such is the magnetism of the L&B! Newbury has proved to be a good location for these meetings, both for those travelling by car and for those using public transport.

At the start of the meeting the Area Group Leader (Mike Pearce) bade everyone welcome with a special welcome to non-members. He said we were fortunate to have two speakers at the meeting. During the interval everyone would be invited to buy L&BR items from John Crockford and Stuart Wise who were manning the sales table, to buy LYN raffle tickets from Roger Beazer and (for a suitable donation) to obtain light refreshments from Fran Wise.

Our first speaker was Mike Buse, a previous L&BR Company Chairman and the current Chairman of Exmoor Associates (EA). Using photographs supplied by Chris Dadson, Mike told the meeting about land acquired recently by EA ready for the eventual extension of ‘our railway’ from the proposed temporary terminus at Wistlandpound reservoir.

The audience were much impressed by the work which has already been done to improve the appearance of Snapper Halt so that visitors to the site will appreciate this was once a railway station. The new lamp-post and the remedial work to the stone platelayers’ hut were particularly admired. Mike explained the next ‘cosmetic item’ will be a short length of track. This would just be by the platform so that visitors can still walk along the grassy track-bed in both directions and see the various historic artefacts.

During the interval many Christmas cards and calendars were purchased – not surprising at this time of the year! Another item which sold well was the new L&B publication, “The L&B from the Air”. If you haven’t already got a copy then click HERE to purchase a copy online. This really is a great book to browse through on long winter evenings and to dream of things to come!

After the interval Peter Miles addressed the meeting – Peter, the present L&BR Trust and Company Chairman. covered many and varied topics in his talk reflecting the long list of things which need to be dealt with to allow the proposed 4.5 mile extension to Wistlandpound to become reality.

Among the items which Peter mentioned were:

• The recent Members Weekend
• The purchase of Fairview and the associated trackbed
• A progress report on LYN, the new-build L&BR locomotive. More details of that project can be found by clicking HERE
• Other imminent trackbed purchases
• The proposed purchase of the Old Station House Inn at Blackmoor Gate (More detail can be found by clicking HERE )
• The new carriages being built by the Essex Group
• The planning applications

The meeting closed at 4.30 with a vote of thanks to the speakers and to all who had helped to make it such an enjoyable and informative afternoon.

It is anticipated the next TVG meeting will be in April 2017.

Mike Pearce – Leader of L&BR TVG

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