September 2013

Southport Model Railway Show

Posted by Robert Hampton on 23rd September 2013 at 7:46 pm

Once again, the group will be exhibiting at the Southport Model Railway Show. This year’s event takes place over the weekend of 28/29 September 2013 at Birkdale High School in Windy Harbour Road, Southport. The venue will be open from 10am to 5pm on both days.

We will be one of the many societies exhibiting at the venue. If you have any questions about the group, our members will be available to chat on both days. We will have a selection of merchandise on sale, and our famous “cash for sweeties” donation tin will also be in operation!

As usual, the Friends of the 502 Group will hold their annual AGM at the show. This year the meeting will be at 2.30pm on the Saturday afternoon. New and existing members are welcome to attend for updates from the Committee and the chance to discuss the group’s direction over the coming year.

There is ample car parking at the school. For those arriving by public transport, the nearest station is Ainsdale, on the Liverpool-Southport line. The Merseyside Transport Trust will be running a heritage shuttle bus service from the station to the show venue, running every 30 minutes.

For more information on the event, including times for the bus shuttle service, please see the Exhibition Page on the Southport MRS web site. We look forward to seeing you there!

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Obituary – Alexander Macdonald

Posted by Robert Hampton on 18th September 2013 at 7:49 pm

All of us at the group were saddened to hear of the recent passing of Alexander Macdonald during the summer. He was a career railwayman for over 30 years, and continued to be active in the preservation movement following his retirement from British Rail. He was one of the earliest members of the Friends of the 502 Group and regularly attended group events.

The obituary below was prepared by a friend of Alex’s and we are grateful to Tony Kuivala for providing it to us.

“Alexander, Alex or Mac to his friends was born in Lydiate but shortly afterwards moved to nearby Maghull, where his younger years were spent.

“At the age of 14 in 1944 he embarked on a journey that would carry him on a lifetime hobby, he joined the railways, the London Midland & Scottish Railway as a trainee fitter at Bank Hall motive power depot at Liverpool, he would travel to Crewe works to enhance his skills but returning to his parent depot at weekends. As he progressed through the fitting grade at Bank Hall he could sometimes be seen at the former C.L.C. depot of Walton on the Hill “we would cover them when they were stuck” he would say, but his favourite locos were the 5Xs the Jubilees, especially 45698 Mars and 45717 Dauntless.

“In the mid 1950’s he applied for a shedmaster’s post, as in those days this title was taken from the fitting grade, he was successful and got the post at Lees, Oldham shedcode 26E, from there he was posted to North Wales, doing spells at Bangor and Rhyl depots before finally being posted to Derby Road at Southport. He was the last shedmaster at this motive power depot seeing it close its doors on the 13th June 1966. This coincided with the grade of shedmaster being phased out, so Alex was given the grade of running shift foreman at Speke Junction M.P.D. at Garston, albeit retaining his first class travelling facilities.

“He moved on from there to Mollington Street MPD at Birkenhead in the same grade and that is the first time that I met him, me being in the footplate grade there, and have been good friends ever since. In the late 1970’s he now transferred to Liverpool Lime street again in the same grade but now he was much troubled with his back and being offered the choice to retire he accepted.

“Although now in retirement his days were full, live steam locos were his first love, models and the real thing, he could be seen at the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway with his 4F Society friends as he was a founder member of that society, purchasing the loco on withdrawal.

“His funeral took place at the Southport Crematorium on the afternoon of the 22nd July 2013, the chapel was packed to the rafters as the saying goes, and true to form it was different, with a rendering of I’ve Got a Thing About Trains by Johnny Cash, and the strains of the 4F on full chat leaving Keighley bound for Oxenhope.”

Alex Macdonald

30th JULY 1930 – 10th JULY 2013

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