Presenter: Brian Garvin
Our 2020 programme started on Monday 13th January, when Brian Garvin, well known European railway enthusiast and photographer, presented a comprehensive show entitled “Steam Behind the Iron Curtain”. He concentrated on the period between 1968 and 1973 when he and a group of like-minded friends made annual visits to Poland. He explained briefly the political background in Poland from the beginning of the 20th Century and its effect on locomotive construction there in that until the 1920s only locomotives “inherited” from Germany, Russia and Austria-Hungary were available. However, subsequently and through WW2 and afterwards Polish built locomotives were constructed for passenger and heavy freight work. Brian explained in great detail the extremely complicated system of class and individual locomotive numbering based on country of origin, year of construction and wheel arrangement. All this meant that his collection of photographs ranged from the very smallest narrow-gauge engines through standard gauge to Russian broad gauge machines. There were even a few diesel and electric vehicles! The result was a remarkable variety of locomotives to be recognised in Brian’s photographs, interspersed with anecdotes of problems arising from the fact that railways and their operation were considered matters of high security in pre-1989 Communist Europe. Thank you, Brian, for a superb evening’s entertainment!