Ashby de la Zouch U3A
Monthly meeting 23rd January 2018
Subject: Railway Journeys Around the World
Speaker: John Wilton
John was born into a Railway Family in Church Gresley. He developed an interest during the Last Days of Steam in the late 1950's and made it his life's work. So much so that his honeymoon train was hauled by the Battle of Britain class loco Sir Wilton!
He and his wife have since travelled all over the world by train, in fact travelling exclusively by rail if possible.
John retailed some of his more adventurous trips:
First Sleeper trip: London to Inverness, an eye-opener
First foreign sleeper trip: Across Canada: in old fashioned coaches with a corridor down the middle and bunks in tiers either side sheltered only by curtains.
Mountain railways: Jungfraujoch: A journey from 5000 feet to 11000 feet via rack and pinion with twist and turns tunnels, jaw dropping cliffs and amazing vistas. Well, they would have been amazing but for the clouds!
Longest trip whilst remaining on board: South Africa: 940 miles 5 nights enroute. Extreme luxury was there! 1st Class throughout, all the best food and wines. The locos varied from old fashioned steam locos to articulated Beyer-Garrett units and even diesel locos. The train stopped for side jaunts to places of interest and even swimming in the Indian Ocean.
Longest single journey: Chicago to San Francisco (Not via Route 66!) 2420 miles in 3 days. Across prairies and through 9000 foot high mountains in double-decker coaches. The train of enormous length was hauled by a trio of diesel locos. As the lines are owned by the freight companies, frequent delays were caused by two mile long freight trains with nine locos (no sign of a 'Big Boy' loco, however!) rumbling slowly past.
Steepest: A 7500 feet climb up a mountain near Alpenstadt in Switzerland. The gradient was at times one in two The train was electric running on 3 and a half foot gauge track, using double rack and pinion traction. The angle of the train was so steep that the seats rotated to stay level. You did not want to sit on the offside of the coach as there was a sheer 1000 foot plus drop off on that side.
Fastest. This was on the latest French TGVS. John and his wife travelled on the section of track where in 2007 the world record for such trains was set at a blazing 357 mph, which is 575 kilometres per hour!. On this trip the train 'only' got up to 200 mph.
John had much detail to add to his trips but there is no space for it here.
It was a most enjoyable ride across the Railways of the World..
|27 February||EGM||Fran Sandham||A solo walk in Africa|
|27 March||Margaret Harrison||Becoming a Blue Badge guide|
|24 April||Pat & Pete Fitzpatrick||Supporting SOS Children's Villages|
|22 May||Fool's Gold||Acoustic music & the stories behind the songs|
|26 June||Julie Ede||Edward and Mrs Simpson|
|24 July||AGM||Mark Walsh||The Variety Theatre|
|28 August||Cream Tea||none||Cream Tea served by the Committee|
|25 September||Ann Featherstone||The baby-killer and the thief - Victorian crimes|
|23 October||Alan Gray||'You cannot be serious' - a Wimbledon umpire|
|27 November||Roger Hailwood||The National Memorial Arboretum|
|11 December||Christmas Event||TBA||Musical entertainment|
|22 January||John Winter||Intercare - Medical Aid to Africa|
|26 February||William J French||A Butler to Royalty|
|26 March||Ralph Jerram||The history of Desert Island Discs|
|23 April||Paul Newsham|
Tea Rota, Meeters & Greeters, Reporting Groups
|Month||Tea Group||Meet & Greet||Reporting Groups|
|February||Glenys Morrice, Maggie Rice, Avril & Bill Wilson||Catherine Hardy||Drawing & Painting and Gardening|
|March||John Howlett, Neil Roberts, Joyce Ottey, Mary Gough||Val & Trevor Reed||History & Industrial Heritage|
|April||Jane Barnett, June Meir, Marion Shuttleworth, Sheila Hampson||Italian & Literature|
|May||Lunch & Medium Walks|
|June||Anne Donegan +||Music Appreciation & Quiz|
|July||Recorder & Short Walks|
|August||The Committee||No groups reporting|
|September||Supper and Trips & Outings|
|October||Jean Preece +||Walking and Arts & Crafts|
|November||Jenny & Pete Slawson, Bridget & Jim Fairway||Bird Watching & Bridge|
|December||The Committee||No groups reporting|