Chichester [CHR]

Southern class 313, still in daily service through Chichester and throughout West Coastway, with Arundel Castle as backdrop. Image credit Julian Clark
Southern class 313, still in daily service through Chichester and throughout West Coastway, with Arundel Castle as backdrop. Image credit Julian Clark

A warm welcome is assured at Chichester.

We meet for a prompt 19:30 start on the fourth Wednesday of the month, except December when we meet on the third Wednesday. There are no meetings in June, July and August.

Prior to the Covid pandemic our meetings were held at:-
West Sussex County Council, Council Meeting Room 3, County Hall, West Street, Chichester PO19 1RQ.

The venue is centrally situated close to the Cathedral, within easy reach of local bus services and Chichester railway station. Car parking is available on site. Our initial meeting was in September 2007 following much preparatory work and canvassing of known local RCTS members in the area. From humble beginnings attendances have grown through the years requiring on occasions the use of a larger room. Flexibility that the County Council building affords us.

Our annual programme is always varied, invited speakers, presentations covering all aspects of railway history, operation, infrastructure, publicity and art, archaeology, and people, the list is endless. We are fortunate to be visited by senior railway professionals including, in recent years, representatives from our local Train Operating Companies, South West Trains, Southern and First Great Western, the latter now the Great Western Railway. A rare opportunity to question and chat to the decision makers within the rail industry. Retired railway professionals, e.g. Gordon Pettit, Chris Green have enthralled the audience with their presentations and given us an insight into the management of the railway in recent decades.

Historical evenings are always popular, the more so when accompanied by a wealth of visual images. Many an appreciative sigh can be heard from elder members of the audience as long gone memories are resurrected. For example, the highly respected Ted Goodman has covered the subjects “Is your journey really necessary – The Southern Region in World War II”, “The Necropolis Railway” and “The History of Waterloo Station” in three delightful, comprehensive presentations. Railway Earthworks – an unlikely subject title, but one of many unusual evenings which have enthralled and educated the audience. This presentation, in fact, preceded by only a matter of days the horrendous conditions encountered on the rail network following heavy rain and gales, culminating in the massive breech of the sea wall at Dawlish in early 2014. Timely indeed! Professional travel writers and journalists have many tales to tell, and views to extol, Christian Wolmar’s visit to Chichester being another memorable evening. We don’t forget “steam” of course, but there are so many interesting subjects to delight the audience.

Specific subject matter and descriptive presentation title is important, thus ensuring there is a clear understanding, expectation and purpose to each evening. Whilst every individuals level of interest in each topic will vary, many a time a new interest is created and the comment heard “I’m glad I didn’t miss that” Overseas railways have also featured, a recent evening highlighting how favourably the British Railway system stands against most overseas operations.

Our committee has recently been strengthened with the intention of building on the past success of the branch. Visits, similar to that enjoyed by several members to the Isle of Wight Steam Railway have proved popular. Members suggestions for moving the branch forward are always welcome.

Age is no barrier to enjoying an evening in Chichester and joining us at County Hall. Both members and non-members are very welcome to attend. Refreshments are provided during the interval and we conclude between 21:45 and 22:00. We ask for a small donation of £3 (£2 for RCTS members) to cover meeting costs etc.

We look forward to seeing you at a Chichester Branch meeting soon!

Yes we really do. Our monthly meetings during the current pandemic are virtual, using Zoom. See our events page for details.

Everybody welcome.

What's on


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Roger Sandford
tel: 02392 215919
52 Knowsley Road, Cosham, Portsmouth PO6 2PF



Geoff May
tel: 01243 528708

Committee Members

Geoff Adams, Ian Mckey, Julian Clark, John Barrowdale,

Honorary Branch President

Richard Ashby

Meeting reports

Railways of Scotland 2013 – 2018

22 Sep 2021

Presenter: Stephen Bigley The Branch welcomed back Stephen Bigley, a well-known local enthusiast, for his presentation called ‘Railways of Scotland 2013 – 2018’. This mainly covered his activities from the…

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26 May 2021 · Three Decades of Change on the Footplate

26 May 2021

Presenter: Lee Davies For the last presentation of the current season, Chichester Branch, including the many virtual attendees from elsewhere, were treated to a wonderful selection of anecdotes from Lee…

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28 April 2021 · Trans-Pennine Steam and Modern Traction in the 1980s

28 Apr 2021

Presenter: Derek Huntriss Derek’s presentation consisted of two-parts, the first half covering what was, in the 1980’s “Modern Traction” and the second half covered Mainline Steam in the same period.…

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24 March 2021 · The Last Year of Southern Steam

24 Mar 2021

Presenter: Derek Spicer Derek took us back to an era which never fails to attract much interest. Touring the South during 1967 he captured many fascinating steam images and set…

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24 February 2021 · In Search Of The Red Dragon

24 Feb 2021

Presenter: Colin Brading Colin started his presentation with a nostalgic reminder that ‘The Red Dragon’ was a name bestowed in the 1950’s upon an up morning service from Carmarthen to…

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27 January 2021 · Local Film Night

27 Jan 2021

Presenter: Alan Wallbank On Weds 27 Jan 2021, the Chichester branch enjoyed a return visit from Branch Member, and former Footplateman, Alan Wallbank, who showed two further films which he…

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16 December 2020 · NCB Steam 1970 – 1981

16 Dec 2020

Presenter: John Barrowdale Industrial steam had been noticeably absent from the Chichester Branch meeting agenda for a long time but John Barrowdale finally filled the gap with this excellent and…

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09 December 2020 · Sixties Southern

09 Dec 2020

Presenter: David Jackman This was our first virtual AGM evening at Chichester, so the opening half was spent on Branch formalities. Following a ten minute interval to ‘recover’ we were…

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25 November 2020 · Diesels and Electrics in the South East 1950s – 1970s

25 Nov 2020

Presenter: David Brown David presented a very special collection of images depicting scenes from the middle of the last century in and around the South East of England. The first…

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28 October 2020 · The ‘Modern Scene’ Today Part 2

28 Oct 2020

Presenter: Julian Clark On Wednesday 28th Oct we welcomed Julian Clark from our own local RCTS committee to our second Zoom meeting entitled ‘The Modern Scene Today, Part 2’ Those…

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23rd September 2020 · A Half Century Has Passed

23 Sep 2020

Presenter: Geoff May After a seven month absence we returned with our first virtual meeting. Our speaker Geoff May took us back to the final months of steam on BR…

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26th February 2020 · Island Treasures – Railways of the Isle of Wight

26 Feb 2020

Presenter: Colin Brading The lure of the Isle of Wight attracted a bumper audience to County Hall. Colin began by explaining the unique geography of the area and how the…

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22nd January 2020 · The ‘Modern Scene’ Today

22 Jan 2020

Presenter: Julian Clark The Chichester Branch is fortunate in having Julian as a member whose photographic talents have been recognised in both the RO and RCTS publicity material. His wide…

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11th December 2019 · Amberley Industrial Museum Railway

11 Dec 2019

Presenter: Geoff Boote Our December meeting was held two weeks earlier than our normal monthly meetings to avoid the Christmas period. The Branch AGM comprised the first part of the…

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27th November 2019 · Women on the Railway

27 Nov 2019

Presenter: Liam Kenchenken In 2015 the Mid Hants Railway was awarded almost £900,000 towards the £1.5 million cost of therestoration of Merchant Navy Class 35005 Canadian Pacific, built at Eastleighin…

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23rd October 2019 · Classic Southern Electric in Colour

23 Oct 2019

Presenter: David Brown The October meeting of Chichester Branch was entitled Classic Southern Electric in Colour, presented by David Brown, one of our own members, who also sits on the…

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25 September 2019 · The Mid Hants Line, Then and Now

25 Sep 2019

Presenter: Keith Brown An encouraging audience of fifty gathered for our first meeting of the new season to hear Keith Brown give an illustrated presentation entitled ‘The Mid Hants Railway…

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09 June 2019 · Branch visit to the Isle of Wight Steam Railway

09 Jun 2019

A dozen or so Chichester members went abroad on Sunday 09 June. Well almost! We visited the Isle of Wight Steam Railway on a lovely warm sunny day. Perfect weather…

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22nd May 2019 · The Railways of Paris

22 May 2019

Presenter: Michael Bunn For our final indoor meeting of the season we crossed the English Channel, to explore the French capital. Michael put together a superb presentation, beginning by outlining…

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24th April 2019 · London Underground, Then and Now

24 Apr 2019

Presenter: Brian Hardy Over 40 members and supporters attended this excellent meeting in which Brian Hardy demonstrated the changes that have taken place within the London Underground (LU) throughout the…

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6th April 2019 · Branch visit to Arlington Fleet Eastleigh

06 Apr 2019

14 Chichester members plus a guest from Surrey branch enjoyed an escorted tour of the Eastleigh works site. Our lead guide, Norman, was an expert on all things connected with…

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27th March 2019 · Strictly Freight Only Part 2

27 Mar 2019

Presenter: Brian Ringer For our well attended March meeting, The Chichester Branch welcomed the return of Brian Ringer, with the second part of his ‘Strictly Freight Only’ presentations, the title…

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