Anniversaries all round, a golden look back to 1963

This is not only my 200th post on this here little part of the interweb blogosphere, but more importantly today marks the 50th and Golden Wedding anniversary of my Mum and Dad.
I offer them my most hearty congratulations and also thanks for sticking with it and coping with bringing up myself and my older Brother. Also of course it was Dad and his upbringing that gave me the interest in all things Southern Railway. I also have to thank them both for regularly assisting me with operating Fisherton Sarum at a number of exhibitions across the country from Wadebridge to Hartlepool.

So in addition to the joining in matrimony of my parents Ken and Wendy, 1963 was a notable year for a number of other things, I wont go into the politics of the time, dreams, or assassinations (as I definitely can’t remember where I was at the time as I didn’t exist!) however the following are railway related:

  • The year started on Monday 1st January when the British Railways Board took over responsibility for the running of the railways from the British Transport Commission’s Railway Executive.
  • On the same day all the Southern Region west of Salisbury, was transferred to the British Railways Western Region for the final time. This was really the first nail in the coffin of the old Southern Railway route to Exeter, North Devon and Cornwall.
  • 1963 also started with the worst winter conditions since 1946/7 and I am sure many of you will have the footage of railway locomotives stuck in the snow across the network. For example on the 8th February snow totally blocked the old Southern main line route at Meldon and no doubt many other place over that period too.
  • The 27th March saw the publication of the infamous Dr Beeching “Reshaping British Railways” Report as I discussed in my post here.
  • On Saturday 31st March the Railway Clearing House (RCH) was disbanded after 120 years and its functions and staff transferred to the Chief Accountant’s Department of the British Railways Board. The RCH had been apportioning railway receipts between the British railway companies since 1842.
  • A more sinister event took place on 8th August with what has become known as the “Great Train Robbery” (although not so great for Jack Mills the driver), I now drive past the farm they used as their initial hide out every day to and from work.
  • Metropolitan Railway Loco No.1, that so successfully returned steam to the UndergrounD this year to celebrate the the Underground’s 150th Anniversary was originally withdrawn from service in 1963 having taken part in the centenary celebrations earlier in that year.
  • In November the Bluebell Railway was just 4 years old when the line from Haywards Heath to Horsted Keynes was closed leaving them without a connection to the British Rail Network right up until earlier this year when the northern extension to East Grinstead was triumphantly reopened.

Finally: The Beatles released their first album “Please please me” and gained their first Number One with “From me to you” and later that year had Number One singles with “She Loves you” and “I want to hold your hand” all perhaps very apt for my parents starting their new stage of life together!

So to Mum and Dad, I say with love, congratulations and many thanks!

To regular readers of this blog, I thank you for your time taken to read my ramblings over the last 200 posts, I hope you found them to be informative and sometimes entertaining. I also thank you for the comments and messages received, I always try to respond to as many of them as I can. Whilst I can not expect you all to read every post it might be worth trying the random post button sometime as you never know where it might lead you…

3 thoughts on “Anniversaries all round, a golden look back to 1963

  1. 1963 was the year of my birth, so I remember very little. My father was the son of a railwayman (Eastern region) and I recall my father’s revulsion at the romantic portrayal of one of the ‘great’ train robbers in the film ‘Buster’ – for him, men who had beaten a railwayman could not be treated as folk heroes.

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