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 40 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 November AGM and Members evening
Bring up to 20 pictures (Powerpoint or JPEG) to share
21 January '20 The Railway Mission
Rev. John Roe

Monthly Report

On 17th September our meeting was devoted to a selection of prose and verse on transport themes arranged by Paul Hammond.  Many people will, no doubt, be familiar with the 1936 documentary film ‘Night Mail’ with its well-known poem accompanied Benjamin Britten’s music.  Paul’s reading brought out well the rhythm of a train in motion.  This was followed by ‘Request Stops’ – an extract from ‘Tiny Stations’ by Dixie Wells.  ‘Eleven Minutes Late’ was an extract from a book of the same name by Matthew Engel.

The Chairman then stepped forward to read ‘In Partibus’ by Rudyard Kipling.  The title of this poem is an abbreviation of ‘In Partibus Infidelium’, which translates as ‘in the land of the unbelievers’, and is almost certainly a pun on the word ‘omnibus’.  Although many critics state that this work is reflective of Kipling’s sombre frame of mind when he settled in London after living in India, it strikes me as having been written with ‘tongue in cheek’.

IMG 3270WA London bus route seems an unlikely topic for a poem, but ‘244’ by the writer Anna Maconochie who lives in London is exactly that.  To me it seems a rather wistful and affectionate piece.  The route 244 actually exists, running between a hospital in Greenwich and Abbey Wood, but, surprisingly for London, it is not operated by double-deckers (see illustration).

The death of the American train-driver Casey Jones has been the subject of a number of songs.  He was killed in 1900 when the train he was driving collided with a stalled freight train.  By staying on the footplate to reduce the speed of the train, he ensured that he was the only casualty.

In the second half of the programme John Briault read extracts from ‘Finest Work in England’ by John Betjamen.  Although this work was written in 1966, it was not published until 2019.  The chosen extracts were: ‘Thames Tunnel’, ‘Clifton Suspension Bridge’, ‘Maidenhead Railway Bridge’ and ‘Brunel’s Ships’.

Our thanks to Paul for arranging a varied and interesting programme.

On 19th November we hold our AGM.  This will be followed by a members’ evening in which members are asked to bring along up to 20 pictures (preferably in Powerpoint or JPEG format) they would like to share.  The Chairman hopes that there will be so many volunteers that there will not be time for him to show anything.

On 21st January 2020 our speaker will be Rev. John Roe, Chaplain to the Railway Industry and British Transport Police, who will tell us about his work for the Railway Mission.  This will give an insight to the work of a most valuable service, and we hope that many who have no interest in trains will come along for what will surely be a most interesting evening.

John Soer

Annual Report (February 2019)

London Underground 1922We have again enjoyed a very varied and interesting programme ranging through paddle steamers, canals, an airfield and the London Underground to the architectural heritage of the railways.

Our average attendance has dropped to about 29 each month, caused by the ill-health and increasing age of our members.

This year our annual service was conducted by Mike Bowstead who based a very stimulating service on the theme of 'Bridges', in which he emphasized that we should 'Build Bridges, not Walls'

A significant number of those at our meeting are not church members, so we provide an opportunity to meet and talk to others with similar interests.  Also as part of our outreach, the sale of magazines etc. has raised £140 for the Railway Children Charity.

John Soer