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During the winter months, the London Area of the IRRS provides a welcoming forum in England for those who are interested in Irish transport, particularly railways.

Speaker meetings are from 19.00 – 21.45. A wide selection of Irish transport books, DVDs and ephemera is usually on sale. Entry is £3 for IRRS members; £3 (December) or £5 (all other months) for non- members but refunded if you join the Society on the night.

All meetings will be held from 19:00 – 21:45 
in the :
Function Room, Calthorpe Arms, 252 Gray’s Inn Road, LONDON WC1X 8JR

Please Note: The Function Room is accessible by stairs only.


Date Subject Presenter
18th October 2018  “Valentia Harbour Branch” 

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. This most westerly and scenic Irish line had a character all of its own.

Barry Carse
15th November 2018 “Current and Future Fleet Development on Irish Rail”
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.
Peter Smyth
Chief Mechanical Engineer, Irish Rail
6th December 2018 “With Lance King in Ireland – CIE 1958 - 1964”
(Followed by the London Area AGM)
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, Ballaghadareen, 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)

Leslie McAllister
17th January 2019 “A Magnificent Folly – the Burtonport Extension Railway”

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.
Roger Crombleholme
14th February 2019 “NIR – the Good, the Bad and the Ugly”

“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.
Colin McVea, 
Signalling & Telecom Engineer, NIR
14th March 2019 “Railways of County Wexford”

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.
Oliver Doyle
04th April 2019 “Classic Irish Steam” superbly photographed by Messrs Clements, Morris and Macartney Robbins

IRRS Photographic Archivist, Ciarán Cooney has skillfully 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.
Ciarán Cooney. 

See our railway drawings and models at SCALEFORUM, Stoke Mandeville on

Sat 22nd September (10.30 – 17.30) and Sun 23rd September 2018 (10.00 – 16.30)

And for IRRS publications, Irish railway books, Irish models and Irish locomotive drawings, visit the IRRS (London Area) at 

Stand C65, Warley National Model Railway Exhibition, Hall 5, National Exhibition Centre, Birmingham

Saturday 24th November (09.45 – 18.00) and Sunday 25th November 2018 (09.45 - 17.00)


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 on Saturday 16th March 2019.

The Hall is accessible by London Underground (Chiswick Park or Gunnersbury), London Overground (Gunnersbury), South West Trains (Chiswick or Kew Bridge) or bus.
35 sales stands selling a huge range of transport items – books, magazines, maps, photos, Irish railway drawings, DVDs, timetables, postcards, models, specialist publications etc.

IRRS (London Area) WEBSITE

In addition to this principal IRRS website, the London Area has its own website at http://www.irrslondon.com where you can find more information about London events – past, present & future.”


Members and friends are reminded that the London Area programme will be updated on this website as further details become available.

In addition, you can always contact the London Area at our e-mail address: irrslondon@hotmail.com

And if you would like to be added to our e-mail address list, please send us an e-mail.

You will then be e-mailed with programme reminders and updates as they are issued.  



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Revised: August 09, 2018 .