11th May 2019 · ‘Strictly Freight Only Part 2’

Presenter: Brian Ringer

On 11th May the West of England branch welcomed the return, after exactly a year, of Brian Ringer with Part 2 of his ‘Strictly Freight Only’ talk covering the history of railfreight in the UK.

Brian spent much of his BR working life on the freight side and was able to give us an insider’s view of the business, and we were given many anecdotes relating to his career.

He started by providing a detailed examination of Train Ferry operations from the First World War through to their demise with the opening of the Channel Tunnel. He also showed slides of how the ferries were loaded and other views taken ‘on board’ during a trip with prospective customers.

After detailing the troubled history of Chunnel operations, he explained what happened during the ‘Sectorisation’ period, highlighting both the successes of Trainload freight and the problems of handling wagonload business in the Speedlink era.

He then took us through the privatisation era, including a survey of the activities of the different companies that have handled freight traffic in the last twenty years.

Our grateful thanks go to Brian for a presentation that was both illuminating and entertaining; several of the audience commented on how much they had learned from his talk.