Announcement 20th April 2024

The following announcement was made at the Society's AGM:

Britain’s leading railway society offers a repository for important historical legacies for other railway enthusiast organisations

For several months, the Railway Correspondence and Travel Society (RCTS) has been in discussions with both The Stephenson Locomotive Society (SLS)  and the Locomotive Club of Great Britain (LCGB) on a greater collaboration and closer working arrangements, as well as other railway enthusiast organisations.

In the summer of 2023,  the then newly-elected Chairman of the RCTS, James Milne, acknowledged that the challenges faced by aging, volunteer-only societies would be common to all similar societies dedicated to promulgating understanding and preserving archival materials to a wider, more public, audience.  Initial discussions with LCGB and SLS have resulted in a realisation that closer collaboration towards an alliance is undoubtedly warranted, if invaluable knowledge, photographic archives, and other collections of artefacts were to be preserved in perpetuity in the next few years.

Despite its relative critical mass compared to the other societies, the RCTS suffers from the demands of modern-day life depriving its members from their disposable time in order to volunteer for the benefit of running the society.  “Combining the assets and the volunteer bases of all 3 societies struck us as a quicker solution to expanding the RCTS’ capabilities of sustainability”, opined the RCTS Chairman.  There are also additional benefits  to all Societies by expanding and combining the current Branch networks, as well as harnessing the experience and expertise of monthly magazine production, printing and distribution.

RCTS is therefore pleased to announce that our discussions with The SLS have resulted in the signing of a formal Heads of Terms Agreement which commits both parties to explore how working closer together could lead to a formal collaboration, the exact nature of which will be determined by further investigation informed by joint working parties. These agreed Heads of Terms will pave the way for working parties during the coming months to investigate how matters such as membership services, the magazines and library collections of both RCTS and The SLS, can be brought closer together for the benefit of all members of both Societies.  With the support and cognizance of the memberships of both Societies, it is possible that a formal merger may take place.

Not only would this lead to a “Stronger Together” organisation for the study of railways, but it would ensure a safe repository for materials and collections in the curacy of the SLS since 1909, merging these with the extensive library, locomotive nameplate and photographic collections that RCTS has amassed since our formation in 1928.  By such a merger, the risk to these important historical items will be assured in any unified society for the benefit of the general public under the Charitable Objects of the Society.

James Milne

Chairman, RCTS

April 2024