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

17 April
Railway Archaeology
           Mark Casson

15 May
History of White Waltham Airfield
           Richard Poad

Richard who himself was a pilot tells us the history of this local airfield.

19 June
'No Need to ask a Policeman'
           John Soer

The posters, official postcards and maps of the Underground finishing with a brief survey of the rolling stock.

Sunday 1 July 6:00pm
Annual Church Service

17 July
The Southern through the ages from Waterloo to Southampton. (part one)
           Paul Joyce

Lots of coloured Bullieds at speed and much more etc.

Monthly Review

Steve Bacon, our speaker on 20th February, moved north from his talk last year on the Wilts & Berks canal to tell us about the canal network in what was England's industrial heartland in a talk, 'A Black Country Odyssey'.  People I know in Birmingham are adamant that Birmingham was not part of the Black Country which is strictly comprised of Dudley, Sandwell, Walsall and Wolverhampton whereas the American, Elihu Burritt, put it 'The fires of the forges and furnaces render the sky red by night and black by day'.

It is often claimed that Birmingham has a greater length of canals than Venice.  At its peak the Birmingham Canal Navigations (BCN) contained about 160 miles of canal of which about 100 miles are still navigable.

Steve told us something of the history of the canals in the West Midlands, including the various amalgamations, from the eighteenth century onwards.  The BCN was built largely on three levels: the Birmingham, the Wolverhampton, and the Dudley, linked by series of locks. The whole of the BCN is connected to the English canal system at a number of junctions.  Beneath Spaghetti Junction on the M6 is the meeting point of three canals.

A journey along the main branches of the system showed that the main use of the canals is now for leisure and residential narrow boats.  What were heavily industrialised areas are now pleasant green spaces.  Then in the centre of Birmingham, the smart coffee bars and the upmarket Mailbox development are not what one might expect to find in somewhere called Gas Street Basin.  All of this was a fascinating look at how part of our industrial past has been preserved to meet the needs of today's society.

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On 17th April Professor Mark Casson of Reading University returns to talk this time on 'Railway Archaeology'.  Those who have seen Professor Casson's previous presentations will know that it will be a stimulating and very interesting evening.  All are welcome.

John Soer

Annual Review for the calendar year 2017

Shak 001Thanks to the efforts of Jim Dunning, we have a enjoyed a most interesting and varied programme of meetings, ranging from the Wilts and Berks Canal, Smiths Coaches of Reading to the Metro Systems of Europe.  The talk by Tom Pierpoint, Regional Development Manager of GWR aroused considerable interest.  Although we have lost several members in the course of the year, the average attendance has been about 36, probably greater than many similar clubs.

Our Annual Service was conducted this year by our President, Rev Catherine Bowstead, and consisted of a thought provoking look at the Book of Jonah.

In addition to these meetings we have held a Social Evening in the form of a fish & chips supper.

DSCN1547WWe 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, jig-saw puzzles and books has during the year has enabled us to send £140 to the Railway Children Charity.  We have made a donation of £600 to the Church.

John Soer