Next Events


Speaker Meetings

We have arranged a full season of monthly talks but due to Covid-19, the October, November and December talks will be delivered online at 19.00 on the dates given.

 IRRS members will be sent further details but if you are not an IRRS member and would like to join any or all of these three talks on Zoom, please apply to for meeting access codes. Codes and joining instructions will be e-mailed shortly before the talk(s).  Please put “Online” as the subject of your e-mail and state which talk(s) you wish to attend. Please also check our website for any updates to this programme.

ONLINE MEETING Thursday 15 Oct 2020  “From Portrush to Tramore & back by a Devious Route” by Roger Joanes

Roger Joanes, a frequent visitor to Ireland since 1959, presents images taken between the mid-1950’s and the 1970’s by Graham Hoare and Chris Gammell. Both photographers made many visits to Ireland and viewed the railways through the eyes of professional railwaymen. The outward journey follows the Derry Central via Magherafelt, later visiting Clones, the Cavan & Leitrim, Mullingar, Streamstown, Banagher, Ballylinan and New Ross. We return via the coast, via Rosslare, Dublin Harcourt Street, Tullow, the Hill of Howth tram, the Warrenpoint line and Belfast. These quality images give a superb overview of Irish railways of the day, informed by Roger’s knowledgeable commentary

ONLINE MEETING Thursday 12 Nov 2020 “Cork – Limerick Junction 30 Years ago” by Ken Fox

Irish Rail driver and railway enthusiast, Ken Fox, looks back to his younger railway days based in Cork in the late 80’s and early 90’s. Starting at Cork loco shed and yard, his journey takes us along the line to Limerick Junction showing a range of loco types on passenger and freight workings, plus RPSI specials and the signalling of the day. Learn about the activities of the (then) Great Southern Railway Preservation Society at Mallow including some intriguing vehicles such as the butter wagon converted for tunnel inspection! Ken provides a terrific insight into the railway of the time.

ONLINE MEETING Thursday 10 Dec 2020 “With Lance King in Ulster” by Leslie McAllister + London Area AGM

London Area Committee member, Leslie McAllister, pays a further tribute to our late founder Chairman, Lance King, with Lance’s photographs taken in the North of Ireland in the last years of steam. The 1960s saw a halving of Ulster’s railway mileage, but not before Lance faithfully recorded the Great Northern route to Derry; the Warrenpoint Branch; steam hauled passenger and goods trains on both the GNR and NCC main lines; daily steam suburban trains into Belfast and the last vestiges of the Donegal narrow gauge lines. 2020 marks fifty years since the end of mainline steam traction in Northern Ireland and Leslie will mark that anniversary by following Lance as he recorded the famous Stone Trains helping to build a motorway. A heady mixture of nostalgia!

followed by the London Area AGM at 21.00

It has not yet been decided whether to hold our January – April meetings physically or online. Please consult our website for an update on the situation.

Thursday 14 Jan 2021 “Irish Ambulance Trains of the Great War” by Charles Friel

Irish railway preservationist, photographer, and author, Charles P Friel brings us his researches into No 13 Ambulance Train, provided by the GNR(I) and No 14 Ambulance Train, provided by the GSWR. The talk includes details of the vehicles involved and their adaptation using many rarely (if ever) seen photographs and drawings as well as Charles’ researches into the trains’ hitherto almost-unknown movements. The talk includes details of how the vehicles were used back in ‘civvie street’, including some reused in a World War II Ambulance Train.

Thursday 11 Feb 2021 “Last Glimpses of the Traditional Railway in Northern Ireland and Securing the Future” by Derek Young**

Derek Young (author of Ulster Transport Authority in Colour) experienced the 1960’s railway scene. Steam locomotives gave way to diesel railcars; traditional signal cabins gave way to colour-light signals, lines closed, freight disappeared. But it was also a decade in which the foundations were laid for today’s immensely successful Northern Ireland Railways. Tonight Derek presents an evening of photographic memories with many previously unseen glimpses of the 1960’s in rarely photographed areas of the former Great Northern, NCC and Co Down.

Thurs 11 Mar 2021
“More Traveller’s Tales from (nearly) Seventy Years ago” by Michael Davies**

One of the London Area’s favourite raconteurs, Michael Davies continues the story of his unrepeatable journeys by rail, while describing an Ireland almost forgotten. Since his first visit in 1951, he has visited Ireland 136 times. His remarkable early visits are still fresh in the memory – when he travelled from Tooban Junction in the north to Baltimore in the south, from Howth in the east to Dingle in the west. Covering rail-less areas relied on the generosity of the (then) very occasional motorist while some of the hotels he used were stories in themselves

Thursday 22 Apr 2021 “Rails through Connemara” by Jon Beaumont

Lifetime enthusiast, preservationist and author, Jon Beaumont, draws from his recent book about the life and times of the shortlived Galway-Clifden line, open from 1895-1935, setting it in the economic and social circumstances of the time. The line was opened to support (abortive) plans for a major fishing industry and a transatlantic shipping terminal at Clifden. Compounded by the burning down of the railway hotel at Recess in the ‘Troubles’, the line struggled to an early demise, even though it had stimulated early development of a local tourist industry. Jon will show many rare photos.

** talk rescheduled from our 2019-20 programme


We regret that our Market planned for March 2021 has been cancelled due to Covid-19