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

20 February
Canals in the Black Country
           Steve Bacon

Moving north from the Wilts and Berks Steve will tell us about the canal network in Britain's industrial heartland.

20 March
The Life and Work of Branch Line Photographer Maurice Deane
           Mike Fenton

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

Our meeting on 16th January was surely the first that has been on the subject of paddle steamers.  Steve Bacon began his presentation by outlining the history of this type of vessel.  The earliest known mention comes from the 5th century when the Romans used oxen to provide the power for turning the paddles.  In 1802 the first commercial vessel, the Charlotte Dundas, was used to tow barges on the Clyde.  The first passenger carrying paddle steamer was built five years later in New York.  It was 1838 before the first trans-Atlantic crossing was made by a paddle steamer.  The royal yacht, Victoria and Albert, was not only the first HMY to be a paddle steamer; it was also the first to be powered by steam.

Steve then went on to look at examples of paddle steamers still being used around the world.  Most of these are for tourists.  The Goethe which sails on the Rhine is the largest paddle steamer in the world, though it is now powered by diesel engines.

In the second part of his talk John told us about the activities of the Paddle Steamer Preservation Society.  In particular, the restoration and running of the Waverley which was built for the LNER in 1946, and was withdrawn in 1973 as it was too costly to operate.  The PSPS bought it for a nominal £1.  It was eventually rebuilt between 2003 and 2005. We saw film of the superbly maintained machinery as well as the vessel sailing at a variety of places around the British Isles, including the lower part of the Thames.


Photo courtesy of PSPS

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On 20th February, Steve Bacon returns with a presentation, 'Black Country Odyssey' in which he will tell us about the canal network in England's industrial heartland.  All are welcome to come and enjoy what promises to be a fascinating talk.

On 20th March our speaker will be the author and railway historian Mike Fenton, who will talk on 'The Life and Work of Branch Line Photographer Maurice Dean'.  Mike knew Maurice (1911 – 2003) and has access to the vast Deane collection of photographs and slides.  This promises to be a fascinating evening and all will be made very 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