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

7 July (Sunday, 6:00pm)
Anniversary Service
           Revd Catherine Bowstead

16 July
African Adventure
           David Brace

14 September (Saturday)
Visit to Amberley Chalk Pits Museum
           Booking Required

17 September
Literary Evening
           Organiser: Paul Hammond

15 October
Parliamentary Trains and other Railway oddities
           David Tinker

19 November
AGM and Members evening
           Bring up to 20 pictures (Powerpoint or JPEG) to share

Monthly Review

On 21st May we welcomed back Professor Mark Casson for a further presentation of 'Railway Archaeology and Artefacts'.  Mark began in South Wales, in particular the city of Cardiff, with its network of lines serving the docks.  The main station is a fine example of 1930s Art Deco style. Next came a visit to the Penydarren Tramway where Richard Trevithick's experimental locomotive was the first to pull a load (10 tons of iron).  There is a very ornate memorial to Trevithick.  There was an air of dereliction about Barry station with a very short train in a very long platform.  However, the buildings are well preserved.  The turbines at Talybont were originally built in the 1930s, decommissioned in the 1950s, and then restored to generate electricity from a renewable source of energy for the National Grid.  Although the site of the Aberdulais waterwheel has been used for many years, the present wheel is a modern structure, having been built by apprentices of British Steel at Port Talbot. It is the largest waterwheel generating electricity in Europe.  There are still significant traces of an original wagonway to be seen in the Aberdulais area.

Next came a tour of Dorset with visits to places such as the restored railway at Swanage and Weymouth. Over the county border in Devon, three miles of the branch line to Seaton which closed in 1966 is now the site of the Seaton tramway.

2008 Fawley Court 10WIn the second half of his talk, Mark looked at railway infrastructure such as bridges, viaducts and signal boxes. The Wharncliffe viaduct at Hanwell will be familiar to those who travel into Paddington.  Other viaducts of note were those at Gunnislake, Meldon and Ribblehead.  The last of these formed one of a series of slides of the structures on the Settle and Carlisle line.  Signal boxes are fast disappearing from the national railway (Wokingham will be one of the last to disappear.) but there are many to be found on the preserved railways, such as those at Butterley and Wansford.

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On Sunday, 7th July our President, Revd Catherine Bowstead will conduct our annual service at 6 pm.

Our speaker on 16th July will be David Brace who will describe his experiences on a tour of six countries in Southern Africa.  All are welcome to come along and enjoy what promises to be a most interesting presentation.


Visit to the Amberley Chalk Pits Museum

On Saturday 14th September there will be an outing to the Amberley Museum who will be holding their steam weekend.  There is a wide range of things to be seen at the museum which consists of over 40 exhibits covering topics such as the history of transport and communications with a narrow-gauge railway and historic buses.  There is an emphasis on traditional crafts such as a blacksmith, pottery, woodturning and broom-making as well as a print shop.  Those who wish to do so will be able to visit Arundel with its castle and shops.  The total cost of coach and entrance to the museum will be £30. If you would like to join us, please contact Cecily Amos.

John Soer

Annual Review (February 2019)

London Underground 1922WWe 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