RailSoc and a phenomenal autumn term

RailSoc is now over a year old! The society is still one of the youngest at the University which means that we’ve had plenty of opportunities run exciting new events.

Chasewater-railway

RailSoc member's with our train for the day at the Chasewater Railway and Rebecca coupling the class 08 loco to the coaches

Casting our minds back to a warm summers day in June just after exams had finished the society hired the 2 mile long Chasewater Railway in Staffordshire for a day. Twelve society members had the opportunity to drive a train for a one-way trip, guard another trip, pull levers in the signal box and have a go at coupling and uncoupling the train. The day was a unique experience which gave members an insight into the practical running of a railway through a hands-on experience. And of course, a lot of fun was had in the process! The day was made possible by the EPS Start-Up Fund, generously awarded to RailSoc to assist with starting the Society.

First walk of the year along the canals from the University to the City Centre

Our guide Richard talks about us through the railway history of the Five Ways area

We started the term off with two guided railway walks and a social in the Duck and Scholar, a student bar on the Vale. The first walk took us along the canal from the University into the City Centre which runs parallel to the Cross City Line. It was a great chance for new members to get to know the society and for everyone to learn some local railway history. Our second walk of the year took us into the pleasant Warwickshire countryside for a stroll between two quaint ‘Request Stops’, Wood End and Danzey. ‘Request Stops’ are stations which have a low number of passengers so trains only stop if passengers ask the guard on the train or ‘make their intent clear’ to the driver rather like using a bus!

The Society inside the TRAIN Rig

RailSoc members Inside the TRAIN Rig

We also visited the Derby Railway Technical Centre (RTC) home of Loram UK and the University’s TRAIN (Transient Railway Aerodynamics INvestigation) Rig. The tour started with a talk about Loram and their work based at Derby and was followed by a tour of the numerous workshops on site which gave an excellent insight into their operations. We were able to see up closes a variety of locomotives and carriages being maintained and overhauled in the workshops. We then proceeded into the TRAIN rig for a tour by the university’s Dr David Soper who even demonstrated the rig in action!

Society members with the Swindon Panel

Alex Hawkins – RailSoc Treasurer (Left), Matthew Teller – RailSoc President (centre) and Rebecca Thomas (right) with the Swindon Panel

The society visited the Didcot Railway Centre and Swindon Panel on Saturday 27 October. The visit was effectively two trips in one as members were able to experience an operating session with the Swindon Panel, a 1960s signalling control panel which now operates as a simulator, and have a look around the Didcot Railway Centre including a short steam train ride.

Relaxed evening with RailSoc - The Arts Room 119 Railway

The Arts Room 119 Railway in action!

Our first ever model railway night was a great success, with members bringing their track and trains together for a relaxed evening playing trains on what we called “The Arts Room 119 Railway”. We hope to run another one of these evenings again soon.

Society members at Cross Country Trains Head Office

RailSoc members at Cross Country Trains Head Office

A return to Cross Country Trains Head Office was enjoyed by a new group of RailSoc members. Our host for the evening was the Head of Train Service Delivery who began with a presentation in the boardroom on Cross Country Trains’ operations, the function of the control room and individual roles and responsibilities of a controller. We then visited the recently refurbished control room itself to speak to controllers and see a snapshot of its work.

Next term’s calendar of events is currently being put together and we hope to release information about events soon. Be sure to join our Facebook group to hear about our next events, we hope to see you at one of them soon!

Matthew Teller
RailSoc President 2018/19