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

18 September
Mail Rail
           Chris Taft

Chris is Head of Collections at the Postal Museum

16 October
Sixties steam with a brownie 127- take 2
           Mike Coulson

20 November
Annual General Meeting
Followed by: More films with Steven Smith


Monthly Review

'No Need to Ask a Policeman' was the unusual title, for a transport topic, of the talk given by John Soer on 19th June.  It did, in fact, refer to the words on the first poster issued in 1907 by the group, the Underground Electric Railways of London, to advertise the first map showing the whole of the underground system.  The early underground railway companies were not a financial success, and it was necessary to increase the number of passengers, particularly those travelling outside the peak hours.

Frank Pick, who joined the Underground in 1906 and took over as Publicity Officer, was responsible for the success of the Underground's posters.  The posters that he commissioned advertised the advantages of travelling by the Underground, shopping in the West End 'between the hours of 10 and 4', the London Zoo and its aquarium, park and gardens, the theatre as well as concert halls, the countryside around London and special events.

He chose many of the leading artists of the time including: Mabel Lucie Attwell; Dora Batty who produced over fifty designs; Edward McKnight Kaufer; Laura Knight – the first woman to be elected as a full member of the Royal Academy; Walter Spradbery who designed eighty posters for the Underground and London Transport of which the best known is the series 'The Proud City' of 1944 showing wartime London; Horace Taylor; and Anna Zinkeisen.  After WWII the number of posters decreased, but to fill the spaces left by the reduction in advertising during the recession of the 1980s, London Underground commissioned a series of paintings to be produced as posters.  'The Tate Gallery by Tube' is a very well-known example.

London Underground 1922In the next part of his presentation, John looked at the development of the diagram of the London Underground. The early underground companies each produced maps of their own system, but from 1907 a joint map was issued as part of a common marketing policy.  John traced the development of the map through to the introduction in 1933 of Harry Beck's diagram which has gradually evolved into today's diagram.  It is that which now appears on articles ranging from bed linen to underpants.  The picture above is part of the 1922 map.

John began the second half of his presentation by comparing Underground stations as shown on postcards, mainly from before WWI, with the same scene today.  From this he went on to look at three areas of the Underground not normally seen by the public: Down Street station which closed in 1932; the area at Charing Cross that formed the Jubilee Line station; and the tunnels at Euston that were abandoned after the construction of the Victoria Line.

On 1st July, Mike Bowstead conducted our Annual Service in which he looked at the various types of bridge and how these link to our Christian lives.  As Mike put it, 'Build Bridges, not Walls'. 

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On 18th September our speaker is Chris Taft who is Head of Collections at the Postal Museum.  Chris will tell us about the history of 'Mail Rail', the underground line that linked the main line stations between Liverpool Street and Paddington with the main sorting offices.  This is a rare opportunity to hear about London's newest tourist attraction.

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