an independently run Evening Class of the Surbiton, Kingston & Malden branch of the Workers Education Association


THE EARLY YEARS (1960-1984) with John Gilks

The first trip took place in 1966 to sample the then newly electrified service ex Euston. This was linked to a private DMU charter from Nuneaton to Nottingham and Leicester.

In 1968 another private charter to the West Country covered Salisbury/ Chippenham, the Portishead and Radstock branch plus the Cheddar branch which had been closed for 5 years

In the same year a further special ran from Reading to West Wales terminating at Salisbury.
In 1969 a special ran direct from the bay platform at Kingston to the Severn Valley Railway (then still under BR control) - although for late technical reason it was unable to actually run on the SVR!
caithness expressIn 1970 a special Western Region 'Blue Pullman' ran direct from Surbiton to Carmarthen where 2 DMUs continued onto the West Wales branch lines.
In 1974 arrangements were made for the BR's General Managers private saloon to be used by 'Talking of Trains' and this ran as a special from Liverpool Street for a tour of East Anglia.

A further six trips using the same GM's salon followed in the subsequent four years.

From 1978 until 1985, use was made of the Scottish Region's GM's saloon which was an observation type vehicle hauled by a separate loco.  In each year a different area of Scotland was covered reaching almost every part of the network including branch and freight only lines.

THE MIDDLE YEARS (1985 - 2002) with Gerry Siviour

docklands l r Because the railways were now more profit driven, private charters at affordable prices became impossible.  Instead coaches and regular trains were used. Destinations included:
  • 1985 - Kent and East Sussex Railway (in which Gerry Siviour had an involvement)
  • 1986 - William McAlpine's private railway at Henley
  • 1986 - East Somerset Railway
  • 1987 - Welshpool & Llanfair Railway
  • 1987 - The newly opened Docklands Light Railway
  • 1988 - Luncheon on the Bluebell Railway Pullman
  • 1989 - Channel Tunnel site and the Romsey, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway

In 1990 Residential Weekends were introduced and these were based at the following - each with visits to the local heritage railways including many private trains:
isle of man
  • 1990 Grantley Hall, North Yorkshire
  • 1991 Dillington Hall, Somerset
  • 1992 Isle of Man
  • 1993 Llandudno
  • 1994 Blackpool
  • 1995 Wolverhampton
  • 1996 Newquay
  • 1997 Aberystwyth
  • 1998 Buxton
  • 2000 Torquay
  • 2001 Llandudno
  • 2002 Norfolk

THE LATER YEARS (2002 to date) with Dick Crane

acton museum
  • 2003 Bedford - Bletchley Line / Grand Central and Gloucester & Warwick Railways / Mid Norfolk Railway
  • 2004 North Norfolk Railway /Swanage Railway / Severn Valley Railway
  • 2005 Amberley Chalk Pit Museum
  • 2006 Nene Valley Railway/ Baie de Somme(again)/ Brecon Mountain Railway and Big Pit
  • 2007 Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway / Severn Valley Railway / Felixstowe Docks & Southwold
  • 2008 Behind the scenes at Waterloo / North Norfolk Railway 'Quad' weekend
  • 2009 Severn Valley Railway/ Docklands LR extension to Woolwich
  • 2010(May) -to mark the 50th anniversary of the Group, a special Luncheon Train was arranged on the Bluebell Railway which included all three of the class lecturers
  • 2010 (Aug) Beeches Light Railway
  • 2011 Hollycombe Steam Festival / Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Gala
  • 2012 (May) Paris - the terminal stations and  railways
  • 2013 Gloucester and Warwick Railway
  • 2013 London Transport Museum Depot at Acton (behind the scenes visit)
  • 2013 (Oct) The Epping and Ongar Railway - by public transport
  • 2014 (May) Kent & East Sussex Railway (40th Anniversary Gala)
  • 2014 (Oct) Midland Railway Centre
  • 2015 (May) Great Central Railway
  • 2016 (April) Swanage Railway
  • 2017 (April) Swindon 'Steam' Museum and the Swindon and Cricklade Railway
  • 2018 (May) Gloucester and Warwick Railway (extension to Broadway)
  • 2019 (Feb) St. Albans South Signal Box
  • 2019 (March) Statfold Barn Railway (Enthusiasts' Weekend)

at the Bluebell Railway 19th May 2010

50th Anniversary Special

The full story of Talking of Trains lectures and excursions is told in Talking of Trains - The first fifty years  - by Michael Bunn - available free to Talking of Trains class members

Updated 03.05.17