Members' Weekend 2022 - Reading

Friday 21st to Sunday 23rd October 2022

Novotel Reading Centre
25b Friar Street
Reading RG1 1DP
Telephone 0118 952 2720

Reading Station from the north side · Image credit: Stuart Hicks
Reading Station from the north side · Image credit: Stuart Hicks

Welcome to Reading

Welcome to Reading for the 2022 Members’ Weekend, organised by Surrey, Windsor & Maidenhead and Thames Valley Branches of the RCTS.

Our hotel is situated in the town centre a short walk from the railway station and is ideally placed for local attractions. Unfortunately, the hotel car park is only available for drop-off and pickup as there are building works taking place. However, special rates for hotel guests have been negotiated by the hotel at three other local car parks – details on application. The Society has worked hard to offer an affordably priced weekend as listed below.

Programme of events

Image credits: Andy Davies

Friday 21st October

On Friday visits to the GWR simulator (max 6 people!), and the GWR depot at Reading have been arranged (approximately 1 mile from the station). No transport but directions will be provided, members are to make their own way there. A charitable donation of £5.00, on the day, would be appreciated.

Note: Due to limited numbers, priority for these visits will be given to those staying in the hotel for the weekend and in order of receipt of the booking form.

Following arrival at the hotel, where a pre-booked hot buffet dinner (a set buffet menu comprised of a choice of starters, mains and desserts) will be available at 18.00 in the Novotel Restaurant, there will be an evening presentation The Last Years Of Swindon Works – The Post Hydraulic Years by our President, Rev. Canon Brian Arman, commencing at 19.30.

A donation of £4.00 would be appreciated for this meeting which will include a raffle.

Saturday 22nd October

We will travel from Reading to Didcot Parkway by Great Western service train for a fullday visit to Didcot Railway Centre, home of the Great Western Society. Access to all areas of the site will be provided including the Swindon Panel. Packed lunches to be collected on arrival.

Note: Access into Didcot Railway Centre is via an unavoidable flight of 18 steps although use of a ‘stair climber’ may be possible. There is a dedicated contact at the Centre who can deal with accessibility queries.

If you are a Great Western Society member, you will have free entry to the site, but please remember to bring your membership card.

Lunch will be a sandwich, pork pie, cake, soft drink, tea/coffee etc.

For those not wishing to visit Didcot there are plenty of options available with further details available on websites such as Possibilities include Reading Abbey ruins and Caversham Pilgrimage sites, Reading Gaol, museums, parks and riverside walks amongst others. Further suggestions available on request.

Saturday evening, join the Board of Trustees in the Ibis Restaurant for a three course dinner (19.00 for 19.30). The after dinner speaker will be a senior manager from Great Western Railway.

Sunday 23rd October

The Officers' Conference will be held during the morning in The Novotel Meeting Room M6 and 7. Other guests are free to enjoy the hotel leisure facilities, or just enjoy a late breakfast and relax!

At 12.15 we will leave for a visit to Fawley Museum which is a private museum established in the 1960s by the late Sir William McAlpine at his estate near Henley on Thames. It hosts a fine collection of memorabilia and models relating to railways together with a working standard gauge railway. Lunch is included in this trip’s price.

Note: Fawley is not suitable for those with restricted mobility, having a 200 metre walk from the car park, stairs only in the museum and an inaccessible wagon and brake van.

The coach will drop the participants at Reading station at about 17.00 following this visit.

Packed lunches will include a soft drink as hot drinks will not be available on the site. Sandwich fillings on a choice of white or brown bread.

1 Ham · 2 Cheese · 3 Egg  

Please indicate your choices on the booking form attached.

Dinner Menus – Saturday 22nd October

The following menu options are available for the Dinner. Please indicate your choices on the booking form.

Starter 1 Mediterranean Couscous with Goats' Cheese
Starter 2 Smoked Salmon with Bread and Fresh Cream
Starter 3 Butternut Squash Soup
Main Course 1 Lamb Shank with Mashed Potato and Vegetables
Main Course 2 Penne Pasta with Creamy Mushroom Sauce
Main Course 3 Roasted Salmon with Scallops
Dessert 1 Chocolate Brownie with Vanilla Ice Cream
Dessert 2 Vanilla Cheesecake with Strawberry Coulis
Dessert 3 Fruit Salad

Tea, coffee to follow.

If you have any special dietary requirements, please note them on the reverse of the booking form.


Places on the visits will be strictly allocated in the order that booking forms are received.

Any changes to your booking must be received by 10th September. Changes after that date may still be chargeable. Members are responsible for hotel charges that may be incurred on cancellation.

Participants take part in these events at their own risk and are responsible for their own personal safety at all times. The Society cannot be held responsible for any injury sustained nor damage to, or loss of, property.

The contact for bookings is Andy Davies – telephone 01932 855015. Email:

If anyone is interested in visiting the Archive & Library at Leatherhead on Friday 21st October 2022, please contact Andy Davies and we will arrange this for you – contact details above.