Next Events

2018/19 Events

We look forward to welcoming you for the 2018/19 season which starts on Thursday 18 October 2018. Please see below for details on each talk or download the programme of talks list (PDF file):

IRRS London 2018-19 Programme of Talks

For 2017/18 event write-ups please see Previous 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, except £3 for non-members on 6 December 2018. The non-member entry fee is refunded if you join the Society on the night.


2018-19 London Area Meetings

Thursday 18 October 2018
“Valencia Harbour Branch” by Barry Carse

Barry Carse

Longstanding Irish enthusiast and regular contributor to the Journal, Barry Carse, revisits the London Area with fascinating new research about the Valencia Harbour branch. Building on a recently discovered report, “Closing of Unremunerative Branch Lines” written by railwaymen rather than accountants, he will describe the branch, its history and its steam and diesel locomotives, finishing with railcar trials and GAA specials. The talk will be illustrated using many photos from the IRRS archive not previously seen and collated in high digital quality by the IRRS photo archivist, Ciaran Cooney. This most westerly and scenic Irish line had a character all of its own.


Thursday 15 November 2018
“Current and Future Fleet development on Irish Rail” by Peter Smyth (Chief Mechanical Engineer, Irish Rail)

Peter Smyth

Peter has principal responsibility for the procurement, maintenance and overhaul of all rolling stock operated by Irish Rail. He will not only cover day-to-day operations but, with continuing pressure to drive down costs, will look at many recent innovations including remote diagnostics, condition monitoring, acoustic monitoring of bearings, automatic wheel measurement and other measurement systems. He will also take a look forward to consider what form future Irish rolling stock might take, and how it might be operated and maintained.


Thursday 6 December 2018 – £3 non-members
“Travelling in the 1950’s with Lance King in Ireland” by Leslie McAllister (+ London Area AGM)

Leslie McAlister

London Area Committee member, Leslie McAllister, pays tribute to our late founding Chairman, Lance King, with a first selection of Lance’s photos (now digitised). Lance was a skilled photographer and left a fine record of day to day steam on Dublin suburban trains and on the famed branches such as Loughrea, Ballaghadereen, Edenderry, Tullow, Clara and Youghal, Steam and diesel in daily service on the CB&SCR feature, as well as the memorable railtour with the last “Bandon tank”. A snapshot of great change 60 years ago.

Plus a complimentary Christmas drink and followed by the London Area AGM at 20.45
(to be addressed by the first IRRS President, Dick Fearn)


Thursday 17 January 2019
“A magnificent folly – the Burtonport Extension Railway” by Roger Crombleholme

Roger Crombleholme

Author and enthusiast, Roger Crombleholme, tells how the BER became a legend in its own time for its wayward operation, broken down engines, bad management, erratic driving, poor punctuality, lost goods and a running battle with the Board of Works. But, oh, how we wish we could make that epic journey again on the 3ft gauge from Letterkenny, never mind the four hours on hard wooden seats in unlit coaches, to make the perilous crossing of the Owencarrow valley on a stormy night and arrive on the rocky shores of Burtonport. This was Irish narrow gauge at its most extreme and most magnificent.


Thursday 14 February 2019
“NIR – the Good the Bad and the Ugly” by Colin McVea (Signalling and Telecom Engineer, NIR)

Colin McVea

“The good, the bad and the ugly” is a reflection of Colin’s 30 years with NIR, from working on track through to managing staff. The talk stems from a number of accidents and incidents, each of which identified the need for change. Today`s NIR is very different from that of the railway of 30 years ago. The many characters from the old days (and their stories) have been replaced by investment, equipment, safety, performance, competency. Colin describes how the whole culture of the railway has changed and how that has come about.


Thursday 14 March 2019
“Railways of County Wexford” by Oliver Doyle

Oliver Doyle

Former Irish Rail manager and railway expert, Oliver Doyle, explores the fascinating history of Wexford’s railways. This rich agricultural county, noted both for farm produce and manufacturing farm machinery, had a good railway network. There was keen competition to gain rail access to Wexford and Waterford and the GWR, jointly with the GS&WR, became involved with its line from Rosslare Strand – Waterford, over the fine Barrow bridge. Oliver’s talk will take an expert look at the rise and demise of Wexford’s railways and their traffic.


Thursday 4 April 2019
“Classic Irish Steam” by Ciarán Cooney

Ciaran Cooney

IRRS Photographic Archivist, Ciarán Cooney, has skilfully restored the classic photos of Bob Clements, Denis Morris and J Macartney Robbins. Enjoy stirring shots of 400s, 500s and 800s hard at work. There will be rarely-seen places like Clara Midland and Inny Junction. Then high-wheeled J5s on the Midland doing everything from cattle trains to excursions, and 2-4-0’s in the west.. The talk moves on to the SL&NCR, the GN, the B&CDR, and the NCC moguls, mogul tanks and 4-4-0’s. This is a veritable feast of classic Irish steam.


Saturday 16 March 2019
TRANSPORT COLLECTORS’ MARKET

The London Area of the IRRS runs this popular event, now in its 40th season, to be held in Chiswick Town Hall (west London) from 11.00 – 15.00 

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