Railway & Transport Club

We meet at 7:45 pm on the 3rd Tuesday of each month, except August and December.  Contact: John Soer.

The Club has over 50 members and enables men and women of all ages to share their common interest.

We meet in the Bradbury Community Centre of the Methodist Church, in Rose Street, where members enjoy a wide range of good quality presentations on transport related subjects, with the opportunity for refreshments and time for a chat.

Future Programme

19 September
A Sixth Colour-Rail Journey
           Paul Chancellor

The emphasis is on BR steam but there as a small amount of 'modern traction' in each section to reflect the impact of modernisation on each 'railcentre' around the UK

Saturday 30 September depart 8:30am
Outing to the Epping & Ongar Railway in Essex
Booking required £30 (coach and railway)

17 October
Trams and Metro systems in Europe
           Steve Ollive

Steve, who spoke on Switzerland in 2015, returns

21 November
Annual General Meeting
followed by: NOXious or Not
           Jim Dunning

Jim illustrates 200 years of alternatives to diesel propulsion

Monthly Review

The Monmouthshire Canal & Railway Company's Eastern Valley Line, which ran from Newport Docks to Ebbw Vale, was the topic of our speaker, Paul Joyce, in April.  The canal, which along with its associated tramways opened in 1796, carried coal for export from the eastern valleys to the docks. With the coming of the railways, this traffic was threatened by other companies seeking to build lines. So, as to prevent this, the canal company sought, and gained, permission to build a railway.  The history of this company is represented in a number of murals in a pedestrian subway near Newport Castle.

Paul told us of the history of the docks in Newport which gradually expanded to cope with the large increase in the amount of coal which was exported. We saw photographs of the remains of the original wooden staithes used to transfer the coal.

Although not part of the railway, the transporter bridge at Newport is of particular note. This is the largest and oldest of the three such bridges remaining in Britain. This type of bridge was used as the river banks at that point are too low to permit the building of a bridge high enough for ships to pass underneath.

2555g Crumlin Viaduct with P.T. to Pontypool Rd. 8.58WThe journey up the line to Ebbw Vale took us through places such as Bedwas, Risca, and Cross Keys. Of particular note was the viaduct at Crumlin. This structure, which opened in 1857 and was demolished in 1965, was at 200ft the highest railway viaduct in this country. The contrast between photographs of places in the 1950s and the 1980s showed how much heavy industry has been lost. Paul treated us to a thoroughly enjoyable and informative talk on the transport and industrial history of a part of South Wales.

Photo: Crumlin Viaduct - Paul Joyce

~ ~ ~

On Saturday, 30th September there will be an outing to the Epping & Ongar Railway in Essex. The coach will leave Rose Street at 8.30 a.m. and the cost of coach and railway will be £30 per person. It is possible, by using the vintage buses of the railway, to visit the museum at North Weald airfield. It is hoped to arrange a group visit to St Andrews Church, Greensted, the oldest 'Stave Built' timber building in Europe.

John Soer

Annual Review for the calendar year 2016

Again we have enjoyed a varied and interesting programme ranging from Professor William Powrie's talk on the research being carried into railway track engineering, Paul Whittle on the railways of Siberia, the Somerset & Dorset Railway with David Brace to various aeronautical museums in the USA and Canada in the company of Colin Wells.  An innovation was the anthology of poetry and prose with a railway theme organised by Paul Hammond.

Our Annual Service was conducted this year by our President, Rev Catherine Bowstead.

In addition to these meetings we have held a Social Evening in the form of a fish & chips supper, and visited the Spa Valley Railway in Tunbridge Wells.

DSCN7697wPicture taken at Eridge Station on the Spa Valley Railway

We do reach out into the wider community in that a significant number of those attending our meetings are not members of our Church.  For these, as well as our own members, we provide an interesting evening in welcoming company.

The sale of second-hand magazines and books has during the year has enabled us to send £100 to the Railway Children Charity.  We have made a donation of a little over £500 to our Church.

John Soer