January 2016 newsletter

A happy new year to all members!  Some of you may have received an email wishing you a merry Christmas, but for technical reasons it didn’t reach all members.

This newsletter brings news of our spring meetings, including exciting news about Michael McMahon’s book Irish Railway Rambler and a visit from railway signalling consultant and no stranger to Northern Ireland John Tilly.

Book launch: Irish Railway Rambler

rambler MRSI is absolutely delighted and honoured to have been asked to host the official launch of Michael McMahon’s book Irish Railway Rambler at our meeting on Wednesday 20th January.  The following description comes from the Colourpoint website:

This is a personal photographic memoir drawn from three decades of observation, starting in 1975, during what are now regarded as the “museum years” of post-steam Irish Railways.

This period of great change saw the traditional infrastructure of mechanical signalling, travelling post offices, steam heating, goods services, and 19th Century station buildings etc. progressively give way to the utilitarian, electronic era. Train formations and their operation also changed beyond recognition as the locomotive and carriage combination was replaced by modern, anonymous multiple unit operation.

The author was uniquely positioned to witness the closing years before regeneration changed so much. His early photographic locations were limited to stations and the line-side but he later made extensive use of Rail Runabout, Rover and Rambler tickets. Later he enjoyed the rare privilege of all Ireland footplate passes, leading to an estimated 80,000 miles of footplate travel between 1982 and 1995, an achievement that is probably, and will remain unique in the annals of Irish Railway enthusiasm.

During these wanderings Michael met and made friends with innumerable railwaymen at stations, on trains and in signal cabins, exchanging news and views, and listening to stories from times past. These selected 230 images from his immense collection are a fitting tribute to the railwaymen and the railway of a bygone age, and to the fellow rail enthusiasts who so willingly helped along the way.

Copies of the book will be on sale for £16.

After the book launch, Michael will give us a presentation looking back to a time of great change, both north and south:  1995.

March meeting: John Tilly

At our November meeting, we announced that Mr John Tilly would be addressing the March meeting.

John started out as a signal engineering Apprentice for London Underground in 1968, rising to Incident Manager in 1990.  In 1993 he worked for TML, managing and witnessing signal commissioning activities, before moving to Halcrow Transmark, where he worked on projects across the UK and in Kuala Lumpur, including work on Great Victoria Street, Bleach Green-Antrim, accident investigations, and the 1999 Strategic Safety Review for NIR.

In 1999 he joined HMRI where he worked on level crossings across the UK, including NI, and was involved in the Ufton Nervet and Potters Bar investigations.

Since (official) retirement in 2009, John has run his own consultancy in railway signal engineering, still specialising in level crossings, and involved in training Incident Managers.  He also repairs bicycles.

This is one of John’s final talks before he finally retires from his consultancy business, and he will be taking a heavily illustrated look at level crossings, including some of the ones he has worked on in NI, and looking at overseas practice and novel technology (does this mean our unique AHBDs at Cullybackey will get a look in?)

We hope to be joined at our meeting by members of the Institute of Railway Signal Engineers.

John has two websites: consultancy and personal.

Senior Travel Pass Group

The next day out is Wednesday 27th January, destination to be announced.  As ever, please contact Ken Harte for more information.

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