Next Events

Meetings are from 19.00 – 21.45 in Central London in the Function Room, Calthorpe Arms, 252 Gray’s Inn Road, LONDON WC1X 8JR

The room is accessible by stairs only and a selection of Irish transport books is usually on sale.

Entry is £3 members, £5 non-members (£3 in December only). The non-member entry fee is refunded if you join the Society on the night.

Download the IRRS London Area Programme 2019-2020 

Thursday 17 October 2019
“Irish Railways in my Lifetime” by Hassard Stacpoole

Lifelong railway enthusiast, occasional railway activist, and professionally involved with railways, Hassard looks 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 gives a very personal, and sometimes critical, reflection on how railways in the Republic have changed in his lifetime.

Thursday 14 November 2019
“Downpatrick and County Down Railway” by Robert Gardiner

DCDR Chairman, Robert Gardiner, reviews the railway’s history and updates 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. More recently, a new Visitor’s Gallery has been constructed to view the workshop, the former Bundoran Junction Cabin re-erected on the railway and an 80 Class railcar acquired.

Thursday 5 December 2019
“With Lance King in Ireland – 1958 – 1963” by Leslie McAllister + AGM

London Area Committee member, Leslie McAllister, pays tribute to our late founder Chairman, Lance King, with a first selection of Lance’s photographs taken in the Republic in the last years of steam. Lance was a skilled photographer and left a fine record of steam in the Dublin area and on the fondly remembered branches such as Kenmare, Loughrea, Ballaghaderreen, Edenderry, Tullow, Clara and Youghal, Steam and diesel in daily service on the CB&SCR feature, as does the memorable railtour with the last “Bandon tank”. Early days of silver and “black and tan” liveried diesels conclude the period.

 £3 non-member fee for December only plus a complimentary Christmas drink, followed by the London Area AGM at 20.45. 

Thursday 16 January 2020
“NI Railways – Fleet Engineering” by Richard Noble

Former Head of Rail Fleet Engineering for NI Railways, Richard is now Project Manager for the forthcoming introduction of additional rolling stock. His presentation will cover the challenges of maintaining the various types and ages of rolling stock on NIR and the challenges of integrating new carriages into existing Class 4000 trains to create permanent six car sets. Richard will also share some current thinking on the future rolling stock strategies for NIR and potential maintenance implications as passenger growth continues.

Thursday 13 February 2020
“A Life on The Railways of County Laois” by Sean Cain

Co. Laois now has more railway operators than any other county including Irish Rail, Bord na Móna, Stradbally Woodland Railway and a private railway. Enthusiast and railway employee, Sean Cain, illustrates all of these as he describes his journey from childhood memories in the 1980’s at Portarlington (A Class, C Class, RPSI specials), watching turf handling at Garryhinch on BnM, volunteering at Stradbally, and to his professional employment as a fitter and relief maintenance planner at the Laois Traincare Depot for the ICR Fleet.

Thursday 12 March 2020
“More Traveller’s Tales from (nearly) Seventy years ago” by Michael Davies

One of the London Area’s favourite raconteurs, Michael will continue 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 2 April 2020
“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.


Saturday 14 March 2020
11.00 – 15.00 at Chiswick Town Hall (west London)

The London Area of the IRRS runs this popular event, now in its 41st season, to be held in Chiswick Town Hall (west London) from 11.00 – 15.00 on Saturday 14th March 2020.
The Hall is accessible by London Underground (Chiswick Park or Gunnersbury), London Overground (Gunnersbury), South Western Railway (Chiswick or Kew Bridge) or bus.

30 sales stands selling a huge range of transport items: books, magazines, maps, photos, Irish railway drawings, DVDs, timetables, postcards, models, specialist publications and lots more.