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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..





Date Special events Speaker Subject
27 FebruaryEGMFran SandhamA solo walk in Africa
27 MarchMargaret HarrisonBecoming a Blue Badge guide
24 AprilPat & Pete Fitzpatrick Supporting SOS Children's Villages
22 MayFool's GoldAcoustic music & the stories behind the songs
26 JuneJulie Ede Edward and Mrs Simpson
24 JulyAGMMark Walsh The Variety Theatre
28 AugustCream TeanoneCream Tea served by the Committee
25 SeptemberAnn FeatherstoneThe baby-killer and the thief - Victorian crimes
23 OctoberAlan Gray'You cannot be serious' - a Wimbledon umpire
27 NovemberRoger HailwoodThe National Memorial Arboretum
11 DecemberChristmas EventTBAMusical entertainment
22 JanuaryJohn WinterIntercare - Medical Aid to Africa
26 FebruaryWilliam J FrenchA Butler to Royalty
26 MarchRalph Jerram The history of Desert Island Discs
23 AprilPaul Newsham

Tea Rota, Meeters & Greeters, Reporting Groups

Month Tea Group Meet & Greet Reporting Groups
FebruaryGlenys Morrice, Maggie Rice, Avril & Bill WilsonCatherine Hardy Drawing & Painting and Gardening
MarchJohn Howlett, Neil Roberts, Joyce Ottey, Mary GoughVal & Trevor ReedHistory & Industrial Heritage
AprilJane Barnett, June Meir, Marion Shuttleworth, Sheila HampsonItalian & Literature
MayLunch & Medium Walks
JuneAnne Donegan +Music Appreciation & Quiz
JulyRecorder & Short Walks
AugustThe CommitteeNo groups reporting
SeptemberSupper and Trips & Outings
OctoberJean Preece +Walking and Arts & Crafts
NovemberJenny & Pete Slawson, Bridget & Jim FairwayBird Watching & Bridge
DecemberThe CommitteeNo groups reporting