Welcome to Chichester Branch


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 July and August.

Our meetings are held at:-

West Sussex County Council, Council Meeting Room 2, 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 Chichester soon!

Last updated: 13th February 2019