Our final meeting of the season took place on 13th May at Wells Town Hall as usual, when once more we were pleased to welcome Canon Brian Arman from Filton in Bristol. Brian reminded us that he had now given the Fraternity a presentation every year since 1999 and it seemed to have become something of a tradition that he should bring our programme to a close. This was the first evening in which we had the use of the newly-converted Court Room with Brian acting as a willing ‘guinea-pig’. The additional space was appreciated but, having regard to the time of year, it proved difficult to ‘black out’ the room adequately for the first half an hour or so; we are assured, however, that this matter will be rectified by time we meet again in September.

Brian’s subject was ‘A Somerset and Dorset Journey‘ – but that journey proved to be a remarkable one! He pointed out that we would be travelling over lines which were ‘foreign’ to his beloved Great Western and admitted that this might reveal gaps in his knowledge. The journey started with photographs of a S&DJR 2-8-0 at Barnwood Shed in Gloucester and we then proceeded down the Midland route to Bristol. After a look at the LMS shed there at Barrow Road, we briefly visited Temple Meads before retracing our steps to Mangotsfield and then continuing to Bath (Green Park) to join the S& D line proper. We then made a leisurely and sentimental trip over the S&D line to Bournemouth West, making the customary short stop at Templecombe en route.

We then wondered where Brian would take us next and this proved to be from Bournemouth over the Southern main line to Waterloo. Having arrived in London, we then visited several termini, including Liverpool Street, Fenchurch Street, Paddington, Kings Cross and St Pancras before arriving at Euston. Then we travelled over the London Midland main line to Birmingham (New Street), pausing at Wolverton and Rugby. Finally, we returned, somewhat breathlessly, via the Lickey Incline, to Gloucester.

We were intrigued by Brian’s wonderful selection of photographs, covering every period from the 1930s to the 1960s, for our whirlwind tour. A  vote of thanks for a fascinating evening was given was given by Simon Kennedy.