Out and about post the pandemic – Robert Pritchard


The Sheffield branch hosted its only Zoom meeting of the season on 11th January: it was a great success with an excellent presentation, 'Out and about post the pandemic', attracting a record number of attendees. The speaker was our Fixtures Secretary, Robert Pritchard, whose day job as Editor of Today’s Railways provides him with opportunities for wide-ranging railway travel as well as special access 'behind the scenes’ of the working railway. However, while Robert took us right around the UK and into Continental Europe, some of his most interesting material came from much closer at hand: specifically, from Saxilby where Robert was sporadically based during 2022, the year covered chronologically by his talk. These images demonstrated what variety can still be found by the diligent observer sited away from the 'trunk routes' of the network.

It is be impossible adequately to summarise the more that 400 images which were included in Robert’s show, but overall some themes emerged.  In no particular order these were: the development of the modern railway (opening of the Elizabeth Line, new battery-powered units for MerseyRail, a glimpse into the Very Light Rail Innovation Centre at Dudley); the phasing out of long-familiar stock (the demise of the 317s and 313s among others); the celebration of railways (Severn Valley Diesel Gala, Crewe and Barrow Hill Open Days); and of course the quirks and oddities of the railway scene at home and abroad (like the 'Goggles' and 'Grumpys' on the Czech network).  Overall a splendid show and Robert a speaker to be heartily recommended.