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 40 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.
We restart after the COVID-19 break with two meetings held via Zoom:
|20 October||Statfold Barn Railway and Burton & Ashby Light Railway
|17 November||London Midland & Scottish Railway
‘Heritage Railways’ was the title of the presentation by John Soer at our February meeting. This consisted of slides of locomotives of each of the four main companies formed at the Grouping of 1923. We saw a range of liveries – various shades of green, red, blue and even brown. Conspicuous by its absence was the British Railways 1960s rust and grime; though one of the smartest liveries was the lined black chosen by BR for its mixed traffic locomotives.
In a section on old carriages, some dating from the 19th century, even the seats in third class looked more comfortable than those in the new trains of today. John confirmed that this was the case.
Of note amongst the slides of stations was the booking hall at Loughborough. When the preservationists stripped away the layers of paint applied by BR, they found teak panelling which has been superbly varnished. The station at Rothley in Leicestershire is set out as it would have been in about 1910 with its original gas lighting which BR never replaced; though it is doubtful that the ticket office in 1910 contained a credit card reader.
Two of the signal boxes shown – those at Loughborough and Horsted Keynes - have been given Grade 2 listed status by English Heritage. Of note was the crossing keeper’s box (strictly not a signal box) from Star Lane, Wokingham which was decommissioned in 1964. It is now located on the railway at Fawley Hill, Lady McAlpine’s home. Slides of other rolling stock featured steam cranes, travelling post offices, milk tanks and a gunpowder van.
John ended with a survey of the locomotives built by British Railways. These contained features to make maintenance and operation much easier. The last of these – ‘Evening Star’ – was the 999th locomotive built by BR.
All meetings are cancelled until further notice.
Annual Report (March 2020)
Our programme in 2019 was wide ranging, taking in topics such as Transport in the 2020s, Railway Archaeology, and an evening devoted to prose and verse on transport themes. Geographically topics covered have ranged from Berkshire to Southern Africa.
Our average attendance of about 25 is on a par with that of similar groups in the area.
We do attract a significant number who are not church members, giving them chance to meet those with similar interests. The sale of members’ old magazines has enabled us to raise £125 for the Railway Children Charity.