Railway & Transport Club

We meet at 7:30 pm (new time from January 2023) 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

Note meetings are at 7.30pm in the Bradbury Centre.

16 April ‘The Lynton and Barnstaple Railway’ - Mike Pearce
In the first half Mike will tell us something of the history of the original line.  The second half will focus on the 'new' L&BR which now has one mile of operational track, new-build replica of the Baldwyn locomotive LYN, five rebuilt heritage coaches, and much more.
21 May ‘The West Somerset Railway’ - Keith Smith
This month we move along the coast to Minehead and the West Somerset Railway. It is noted as being one of the longest standard gauge heritage railways. Keith hopes to be really up to date and bring some new material of the Spring Steam Gala which is held in early May.
18 June ‘Eastleigh- from Railway Junction to Railway Centre’ - Gordon Adams
Balancing our earlier event on the GWR we now turn to the LSWR and its successors who built the railway centre at Eastleigh.
17 September ‘Thomas Brassey (1805-1870)’ - Charlie Pritchard
Chester’s unsung hero. Farmer’s son to Railway Magnate.
15 October  
19 November Annual General Meeting - followed by Members Evening
Bring a selection of up to 20 pictures (preferably in powerpoint format or JPEG) you would like to share.

Meeting Reports

On 21st November we held our Annual General Meeting with our president, Rev. Catherine Bowstead chairing the meeting.  After the usual formalities John Soer gave the Chairman’s report in which he outlined the events of the year and thanked all those who had contributed in any way to the running of the club.  He added that the sale of magazines etc. had raised £80 for the Railway Children.  In her Treasurer’s report Cecily Amos said that there had been in a slight increase in the numbers attending meetings, and that after a donation to the Church there was an excess of income over expenditure.  Our Secretary, Jim Dunning, outlined the programme for the first six months of 2024.

WinterAfter the AGM, we moved onto short displays by some members.  Jim Dunning kicked off with a series of slides on the theme of ‘Winter’.  This consisted of railway scenes from around the country when everything did not close down when there was a few mm of snow.  This was followed by Laurence Heath showing scenes from the railways of Mongolia.  Ralph Phillips took us on a trip across country from East Anglia to North Wales via Hexham with its unusual signal box.  Some of the ways in which the mail was carried was the topic chosen by John Soer.  The evening ended with a wide-ranging display taking in among other things Reading Buses, Blackpool trams and the Sandtoft trolley bus museum.

~ ~ ~

We were privileged to have Barry Young as our speaker on 16th January with a talk ‘My Life with Trains’.  He described his early trainspotting days first in Northwest London and then Hanwell, “on a proper railway – the GWR”.  Ealing Broadway and the various London termini were his usual haunts.  His interests not only included collecting engine numbers but also the technical details of the rolling stock and the meaning of the names given to many of the engines.

Barry then went on to describe his various trips abroad, visiting countries such as Austria, Portugal and Germany, commenting that it was possible to take a long weekend in the last two for £19 and £25 respectively.  He then described his career with British Railway in which he, unlike most, sat across the finance/engineering divide.  His last position was as an assistant to Chris Green in running Network South East, with particular responsibility for the North London Line.  He described this as a very exciting time. After a brief look at the privatised railway Barry decided to take early retirement, though he had thoroughly enjoyed his 39 years on the railways.

The second part of Barry’s talk consisted of film of the various trips he had mentioned earlier.  Of particular note was the Wuppertal Schwebahn overhead railway in Germany.  The warmth of the applause at the end showed how much Barry’s talk had been enjoyed.

John Soer

Annual Report (March 2024)

During 2023 we held ten meetings covering a wide range of transport topics.  Our meetings, at which the average attendance was slightly greater than that in 2022, attract a number of people who are not members of the church.  A number of our speakers do ask for a donation to a particular charity as a fee.  In addition, we have been able to donate £80 to the Railway Children Charity through the sale of magazines etc.

John Soer