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Despite being cut short by COVID-19, RailSoc organised some great events this term!

The highlight has to be our Railway Operations Experience Day at the Chasewater Railway. 12 of our members were able to have a go driving and guarding a train, coupling and uncoupling the locomotive and visiting the signal box. Society alumni were also invited to join us with a ride on the train to catch up with friends and network with our newest members. This really was a unique experience and enjoyed by all!

RailSoc at the Chasewater Railway next to our locomotive for the day.

chasewater 2020

RailSoc member Harry is talked through the class 08 locomotive's controls by the Chasewater Railway's Operations Director.

harry at chasewater

RailSoc alumni Cosmo and Tim enjoy a ride in the brake van with Aiden, the guard for this trip.

alumni cosmo and tim at chasewater

In February we met with Loughborough Velocity and Imperial College London’s Transport Society (fellow transport enthusiast student groups) for a joint trip to the Great Central Railway in Loughborough. It’s great to network with the other railway and transport societies enabling members to expand their network outside of the University of Birmingham, and it’s something RailSoc now aims to do every semester.

Members of Imperial College London Transport Society, Loughborough Velocity and the University of Birmingham Railway Society eagerly watch a train arrive at Rothley station on the Great Central Railway.

uob, loughborough and imperial joint social trip

Cross Country Trains generously offered a half day course in ‘Train Planning Awareness’ for RailSoc members.  The programme allowed participants to gain an insight into the sophisticated operations that goes into planning a train service.

RailSoc members at Cross Country Trains Head Office.

cross country trains head office

RailSoc alumnus also Marcus returned to the University to deliver an interesting talk about the Rail Accident Investigation Branch who he now works for as an Investigation Support Specialist. This provided a great insight into a key organisation in the railway industry and it was brilliant to have Marcus back with the Society.

RailSoc alumni Marcus from the Rail Accident Investigation Branch delivers his talk.

alumnus marcus speaking on rail accident investigation

On a personal note, this will be my last article as Chair of the Society. I am graduating this summer after founding RailSoc three years ago and chairing it ever since. I am proud of the little network we have built and of the events we have been able to put on. My personal highlight has to be both of the days at the Chasewater Railway as they capture all that is best about the Society. To my knowledge, RailSoc is the only student group nationally to organise hands on events like this which is a fantastic position to be in.

I wish the Society the best for the future, and I’m sure it will go on to become even stronger.

Matthew Teller
BEng Electrical & Railway Engineering Student (3rd Year)
Chair of the University of Birmingham Railway Society 2017-20

To find out more about RailSoc visit their website www.birmingham.ac.uk/eps/railsoc.
There are 39 student groups in the College of Engineering and Physical Sciences. To learn more about their projects and activities head to www.birmingham.ac.uk/eps-societies.