Event Details


All Talks and Meetings will commence at 2.30 pm and be held in the Chichester Room, Field Place, Worthing; unless another venue or time is indicated.

Visitors are welcome to attend all meetings; there is a charge for non members of £3 which includes tea/coffee and biscuits, members pay £2. To become a member see Membership under About Us.

Timings for visits and outings will be as printed in the detailed description of the activity.

Coffee mornings take place at 10.30am on the 3rd and last Thursdays of the month. Click here for full details…

Date Event Description Venue
Tues 19th
AGM and Talk Working on the Construction of Britain’s Motorways 1960-1990
Frank Duggan RCEA
The talk will describe Frank’s experience of design and construction of Motorways from 1963 to 1990. It will cover interesting aspects his time as a site engineer, from the construction of Brent Cross Flyover in North London; design engineer on the M4 in south Wales; contractor’s agent on the construction of London Bridge, sections of the M1 and M11 motorways, the A30, A470, and A6; to Project Manager on the construction of the M25/M40 Interchange. In addition to the technical aspects of the work, reference will be made to construction failures, the delays caused by environmental lobbyists, the oil crisis, three day week, and union unrest, and how the industry is now moving away from heavy construction to computer controlled ‘smart motorways’.
Field Place
Tues 10th
Talk The Coast of West Sussex – Past, Present and Future
Uwe Dornbusch, Senior Specialist – Coast, Environment Agency
The talk will give an introduction into past, present and future issues faced by the coast, illustrated with examples from West Sussex. The later part will provide a critical perspective on what sea level rise will mean for the future of shingle beaches that provide the primary coastal defence along most of Southeast England. Is there a future for shingle beaches and what will they have to look like, or is the future one “with only the sea breeze to enjoy from the concrete promenade”?
Field Place
Tues 14th November Talk Cooch Memorial lecture: Don’t buy an electric car!
Profs Averil MacDonald and Alun Vaughan, Southampton University
Everyone seems to think that electric cars are an excellent way to reduce pollution and our reliance on fossil fuels. But it’s not that simple. Averil will explain the serious difficulties and threats that electric cars could bring, and consider the choices and life style changes that we will all have to adopt to move to a totally green electric world while Alun will describe the huge technological challenges in generating and transmitting the electricity we will demand and the current research being undertaken to achieve this.
The Pavilion
Field Place
Weds 6th December Lunch R.C.E.A. Christmas Lunch at Windsor Hotel, Worthing Worthing
Tues 12th
Talk ‘Operation Chastise’, No 617 Squadron, The Dambusters
Dudley Hooley, Director, Tangmere Military Aviation Museum.
The story of the genius of Barnes Wallis and the skill and heroism of Wg Commander Guy Gibson VC and the men of No 617 Squadron given the task of attacking three major dams that contributed water and power to the Ruhr industrial region in Germany; the Mohne, Eder and Sorpe, in an operation code named ‘Operation Chastise’.
Field Place
Tues 9th
Talk Steel – from Bessemer to today
Dr Tim Smith, Consulting Editor, Steel and Aluminium
In 2016, 1.62 billion tonnes of steel were made worldwide of which half was made in China.
Quality of product and efficiency in production has rapidly improved there largely thanks to the adoption of western supplied technologies.
Nearly three-quarters (74.2%) of steel today is made in the basic oxygen converter (BOC), the remainder mainly in electric arc furnaces. The BOC is an evolution of the Bessemer process introduced in 1856. In the BOC, pure oxygen is blown into molten blast furnace iron at supersonic speed to reduce the carbon content from 4.3% to near zero. The same principle was applied by Bessemer but he did not have tonnage oxygen or supersonic lances so blew air through the base of the vessel which caused porosity in the steel because of its high nitrogen content. With help and perseverance, this, and other problems, were overcome.
The talk will follow the development of steelmaking into the 21st century.
Field Place
Tues 13th
Talk Bring Energy to Life
Tianyu Luo from National Grid
As Great Britain’s electricity system operator, National Grid takes the responsibility to plan and operate the electricity system to comply with the Security and Quality of Supply Standard. The presentation introduces the National Grid’s roles in the Great Britain’s electricity market and daily electricity system operational actions including energy balancing, managing uncertainty, demand forecasting, and system constraints. An update of future electricity network and relevant ongoing projects will be discussed followed by the Q&A section at the end.
Field Place
Tues 13th
Talk Across India by train
Colin Boocock retired railway mechnical engineer, and an active railway author and photographer
Colin and his wife spent two weeks travelling by train across northern India from Shimla in the Himalayan foothills to Delhi, Agra and the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway. They finished up with a tram ride through old Kolkata (formerly Calcutta). This talk mixes diverse railway interest and spectacular scenery with insights into the teeming cities, architectural treasures, the people and even visits to organisations that help destitute children. Be surprised at the modern India!
Field Place
Weds 18th April Lunch Spring Lunch at Northbrook College
This occasion is not only an opportunity for new and existing members to meet socially, but also provides ‘work experience’ to chefs and waiters studying at the college. There will be a bar for pre-lunch drinks, the cost to be settled individually by members and guests. The cost of the three course meal is £15 per head including a tip, which in the past has proved to be very good value. Applications should be made by 1st April 2018. Should the numbers exceed the maximum seating allowed there will be a waiting list, as in previous years, so please book early to avoid disappointment. The committee look forward to seeing you there.
Tues 24th April Visit AMEX Stadium Tour
The tour of the stadium, which will be of interest to both members and guests, lasts approximately 1 hour and 45 minutes and will commence at 11.00am.
You will visit the hospitality lounges, trophy room, press area, changing rooms and the museum. On arrival at the stadium, you will be directed where to park and the meeting point.
Although the tour is booked for Tuesday 24th April, the stadium maintains the right to change this date if anything unforeseen occurs. You will of course be notified of any change well in advance.
Thurs 3rd May Visit
Ford Research and Development Centre – Dunton, Essex.
We have been able to arrange a return visit to Dunton where we will be able to view the equipment and techniques used to ensure that Ford cars of the future meet specific worldwide regulations, performance and durability targets, marketing and customer requirements etc. The equipment includes many engine and emission dynamometers (at least one with atmospheric control), environmental wind tunnel, test tracks, styling studios, machine shops, many durability rigs for body and chassis components etc. Exactly what we will be shown will depend on the confidentiality of the vehicles being tested but I have requested the areas highlighted above. Cameras will not be permitted. Only 15 places are available, so we will have to award places and reserves according to the time we receive the reply slips. RCEA members will have priority over guests. Unfortunately travel time will be longer than normal visits (approximately 100 miles via the M25) and attendees will be responsible for their own travel arrangements. Members may wish to car share. The tour starts at 13:15pm. There are a few eating places within easy reach of Dunton and suggest that we meet at around 12 o’clock at one of them (to be selected nearer the time).

Thurs 7th June Visit Three Bridges Maintenance Facility
The recently opened Three Bridges train care and maintenance facility is 1.4 miles long and has stabling capacity for 172 carriages. It’s home to the new Siemens Desiro City Class 700 fleet for the Thameslink route, maintained by Siemens and operated by Govia Thameslink Railways.
Siemens has kindly agreed to host a visit for 20 RCEA members and have offered us lunch, with our group arriving by 11.45. A train from Brighton arrives at Three Bridges station at 11.34 for those travelling by rail.
They need to know shoe sizes for anyone who doesn’t have their own safety footwear.
Three Bridges
Thurs 5th July Visit Volk’s Electric Railway.
The visit will commence at 2pm and will include a guided tour of the Visitor Centre & Workshop before stopping at Magnus Volk’s 130 year old office for a private tour and demonstration. After the tours and train ride a special talk on Volk’s Engineering Heritage will take place at the Visitor Centre. The visit will last approx. 2 hours and includes return ticket to Black Rock.
Tues 17th July Visit Case New Holland Tractor Plant, Basildon, Essex
We have been able to arrange a visit to this major tractor production plant – the only tractor factory in the UK. It was built in 1964 by Ford and has built over 1.6 million tractors since then. It has been kept up to date with new processes and equipment and a visitor centre. The plant manages extreme complexity successfully: the facility manufactures 14 tractor ranges, 133 models, 12,000 configurations using 9,680 part numbers. In a year, no two tractors that roll off the line are exactly the same. For your information I have attached a link below showing highlights of a visit by a group last year (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ktFEj-qeq1M).
Only 15 places are available at £7 each, so we will have to award places and reserves according to the time we receive the reply slips. RCEA members will have priority over guests.
If demand is high it should be possible to organise a further trip or add to the existing trip by special arrangement. Unfortunately travel time will be longer than normal visits, and attendees are responsible for their own travel arrangements. Members may wish to car share. Lunch is available at the visitor centre for an extra £10 and teas/coffees for £1.25. Alternatively visitors may wish to eat en-route. The booking form is at the end of this newsletter.
Contact Ivan Farrow 01903 523640, e-mail ivan_farrow@yahoo.com