Below is a summary of the most recent talks and events hosted by the IRRS London. If you would like any further information about a subject or wish to get in touch with the speaker, please use the Contact Us page.
For events from previous years please select the following:
“Irish Railways in my Lifetime” by Hassard Stacpoole
Thursday 17 October 2019
Lifelong railway enthusiast, occasional railway activist, and professionally involved with railways, Hassard looked back on 50 years of radical change in the railways of the Republic. Diesel replaced steam and then the rest of the railway gradually modernised despite shoe string budgets. Signal cabins, freight and loco hauled trains largely disappeared but then significant “Celtic Tiger” investment provided a real boost. Hassard gave a very personal, and sometimes critical, reflection on how railways in the Republic have changed in his lifetime.
“Downpatrick and County Down Railway” by Robert Gardiner
Thursday 14 November 2019
Downpatrick and County Down Railway Chairman, Robert Gardiner, reviewed the railway’s history and updated us on recent developments. From inception in 1985 with just a ‘field’, the DCDR has grown to become the only full-sized operational Irish mainline heritage railway Initially a new station building and workshop were constructed, and a line built to Inch Abbey including reinstatement of a river bridge.
Robert gave an excellent lecture on the DCDR. A good audience heard him divide his talk into first an Overview of Recent Developments and secondly Future Plans. The acquisition and restoration of two “big beasts” Class A and B, “Very useful locomotives” Robert said. A more recent arrival was a C Class to complete the diesel set. To many people’s amazement a representative of the much hated and unloved Castle Class DEMU had been acquired and restored to act as a wheelchair access, Buffet car. Highlight of the infrastructure work was the display Visitors’ Gallery. Robert interspersed his talk with short video clips and newscasts from tv. One such showed Prince Edward opening the new Gallery. A smaller but equally interesting building was the restoration of Bundoran Junction Signal box as Downpatrick East. After the interval Robert concentrated on specific future projects and specifically the successful Class. 80 Appeal and working co-operation with the staff at York Road. It was an excellent evening with a fluent inspiring speaker.