The Irish Railway Record Society in London is a hub of railway enthusiasts from all walks of life. We ask the same questions but always get different answers!
Click on the names to read each member’s full profile.
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Richard McLachlan was born in Belfast; the maternity hospital was beside the GNRI. Several of his class-mates at RBAI (Inst) were keen on railways and encouraged him to visit Adelaide shed, and also to join the railway Society. His first encounter with the IRRS was aged 14 when a family friend gave him a complete set of Journals. He gained industrial sponsorship from PO Telephones and studied Applied Physics and Electronics at Durham University where he discovered colliery railways and the NER, becoming President of the Railway Society in his final year. Part of his industrial training was a spell in Switzerland and he quickly grew to like the local railways. He joined the IRRS and RPSI once he was earning a salary.
His early years at were in the Research department, and subsequently network economic and network planning positions which included large scale trials of optical fibre to the home, and a spell in Germany. He has been an enthusiastic finescale modeller in P4 for 40 years, specialising in carriages.
After early retirement he had time to become active in the London Area, and subsequently became a member of the Board in Dublin. He has spent the last 10 years digitising the drawings collection in Dublin. The more he does, the more donations of new material seem to arrive. He is also Manager of the annual Transport Collectors’ Market in Chiswick.
Retired tropical agriculture specialist, working worldwide, 25 years with Fyffes. Earned a CMILT qualification with a paper on plantation transport. After reading about IRRS in a Continental Railway Circle magazine about 30 years ago, he joined London Area since he lived in Harrow at the time. Main railway interest is Operations in general, having experience managing logistics, sometimes involving railways. Business history in particular, because all rail transport began in order to make money for someone. His favourite Irish railway station: Amiens Street a/k/a Connolly, starting place for many journeys, with something interesting always in progress. His other hobbies/interests are tramways & canals. His most memorable railway journey was on a three-foot gauge railway from the coast up into the mountains of Guatemala behind steam. And one unknown fact or claim to fame? Richard was instrumental in saving some three-foot gauge locomotives from Panama that were used to reopen the railways of Malawi and Mozambique.
Publications Officer of the London Area. Leslie was born in Belfast within a locomotive whistle’s sound of the Great Northern – which may explain his love of that railway. Another founder member of the RPSI, he came to the IRRS through our late Chairman, Lance King, who quickly recruited him as Book Sales Secretary in 1972. He has served on the Committee ever since, bar a gap while working in Hong Kong. With his late friend Irwin Pryce, he co-compiled an updated history of the GS&WR’s 101 Class – Steaming in Three Centuries. He has travelled extensively in pursuit of steam locomotives and for twenty years as a Tour Manager for Great Rail Journeys.”
Retired Records Officer from British Rail, Railtrack and Network Rail. Originally a member in the ’70s but now re-joined. John is interested in the politics of Irish Transport. He lists his other hobbies – Local History in SE London where he lives.
Treasurer of the IRRS London Area and many other organisations in Chesham, John is a semi-retired financial advisor who fell in love with Ireland and its railways after winning a trip for two on the Railway Preservation Society of Ireland Tour in 1988. Heavily involved in the society, John also enjoys folk music and singing.
A member since 1955, Colin is a retired railway chartered mechanical engineer and has travelled around the world by rail – from London to Beijing, Perth to Sydney, Argentina to America and back via Irish Rail. His interests include railway history and photography and he has written twenty books, three of which are about Irish railways.
Since being part of the Merseyside MRS P4 GNR(I) group in the 1970s, Bob’s interest for Irish railways expanded to rolling stock and architecture, especially on the former Cork, Bandon and South Coast Railway. A retired Market and Consumer Research Consultant, Bob’s world railway journeys have taken him from the walls of Derry to the heights of Peru.
Editor of the New Irish Lines newsletter, Alan taught public health for over 20 years at Sheffield University. A member of the IRRS London Area since 1978, he has written many papers about railway history and has presented for the IRRS twice. Keen on model building, he also knew the publican featured in Frank McCourt’s Angela’s Ashes.
Former Chairman and President of the British Dental Association, Bill has been a member for over 15 years. His interest in locomotives led to his love of photography with his favourite station of Mullingar being of particular interest for family connections. Involved with cricket, golf and the arts, he was also responsible for approving EU memberships from 2004.
A financial analyst for CIÉ in Dublin, Diarmaid has been an active member of the IRRS London Area, setting up its website, organising talks and participating on the committee. Interested in the infrastructure of railways, his dream is to travel on a luxury train across India. He also supplied Game of Thrones with the mechanisation for their gory fight scenes.
Chair of the IRRS London Area, Tim is a retired transport consultant and has been a member since the 1970s. With a passion for steam locomotive performance he has travelled the world with a stopwatch and recorded steam loco performance on five continents.
Siobhan is researching the architecture of the Great Northern Railway in Ireland for her PhD at Trinity College Dublin. Interested in the design and impact of the railways on Irish society, she has also performed at the Royal Albert Hall.