Railway & Transport Club

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

The Club has over 40 members and enables men and women of all ages to share their common interest.

We meet in the Bradbury Centre of the Methodist Church, in Rose Street (Peach Place), where members enjoy a wide range of good quality presentations on transport topics, including heritage and steam railways, with the opportunity for refreshments and time for a chat.

Future Programme

We resumed ‘normal service’ in the Bradbury Centre in September 2021.

20 September A speaker from the Southern Electric group will tell us about the electric train network developed by the Southern Railway and its successors serving London’s suburbs south of the Thames and a wide area stretching from Ramsgate to Weymouth
18 October to be arranged
15 November AGM and members' presentations

Monthly Report

The subject of our speaker, Graham Bilbe, on 15th March was ‘Trolleybuses’.  Much of Graham’s talk was about the work of the trolleybus museum at Sandtoft, near Doncaster which has the world’s largest collection of preserved trolleybuses (about 60).  We were shown the stages in the restoration of a London trolleybus which had been repatriated from Santander, Spain in 1997.  Among the various exhibits are three former Reading vehicles, one of which, no. 193, was built as late as 1961, but only ran for seven years until the closure of the system on 3rd November 1968.  The collection consists not only vehicles from this country, but also places such as Aachen, Liege, Marseilles and Wellington, New Zealand.  Worthy of note were the adverts carried on the sides of the vehicles such as those for Bisto and Hovis from the 1940s.  The range of different liveries used by various local authorities also provided a very colourful display

Graham also took us to The Black Country Museum in Dudley which also operates some trolleybuses – from Wolverhampton and Walsall – on special occasions.  Throughout, Graham enlivened the presentation with amusing anecdotes, resulting in a very entertaining evening.

~ ~ ~

A journey from ‘Basingstoke to Sicily’ was the title of David Brace’s presentation on 19th April.  If the train from Basingstoke to Waterloo is included his trip involved thirty-three different trains and one ferry.  The seemingly high number of trains is due to the fact that at various points he used trains to make side-trips, and in Sicily itself.  David commented that apart from Eurostar the trip proved to be relatively inexpensive, and he was able book seats and print tickets at home.  In the space available it is not possible to do justice to David’s talk, so I will pick out three highlights.  One was the new high speed line linking Milan, Bologna and Florence where trains travel at 300 km/h.  Then on Sicily itself, the station in Taormina is certainly worth a visit.  The station was built in the Art Nouveau style, and the booking office has a colourful, tiled ceiling while the ticket offices have stained glass windows.  Also on Sicily, the Borgos underground station in Catania is an impressive structure.  David’s talk was of interest not only for the railway aspect but also for views of the scenery and important buildings.

John Soer

Annual Report (March 2022)

During 2021 we held meetings on Zoom up to June and then in the Bradbury Centre from September to November.  The average attendance at the latter was a little over twenty, rather higher than it was for the Zoom meetings.  Clearly members prefer to meet ‘face to face’.  The meetings covered a wide range of topics from ‘Trams and Trolleybuses of the World’ to ‘Railways of Schleswig Holstein’.

John Soer