Social evening September 2019

FoVT Social Evening
Talk by Bob Meanley ‘Looking Back’
Please note that this was a Members Only event

The Friends of Vintage Trains held its first social evening on Thursday, 12 September 2019, at the Tyseley WMC. We were delighted that Bob Meanley, who had recently stepped down as managing director of Tyseley Locomotive Works after 20 years in the role, had agreed to give a talk entitled Looking Back. Les Ross, who is well-known for his time at BRMB, joined us for the evening and was in discussion with Bob after Bob’s talk – audience involvement was encouraged. A finger buffet was included in the evening.

Bob in full flow
Bob in full flow

Bob gave a wide-ranging reflection on his time in engineering in general and especially his involvement with Vintage Trains and Tyseley Locomotive Works. The theme of transport ran through his talk, which opened with a picture of a very young Bob on a tricycle, through various cars he has owned, and in some cases mostly built and/or (highly) tuned, including an original Mini, to the heavy engineering that has made Tyseley Locomotive Works so successful and widely respected in the heritage steam industry. Bob also described his son Alistair’s career with Tyseley Locomotive Works from a young age and, in this context, discussed the current challenges facing those who are embarking on a career in engineering and the satisfaction to be gained when such challenges are faced and overcome.

Bob and Les in conversation
Bob and Les in conversation

Following a refreshment break for a complimentary finger buffet, including the bar being open, Bob and Les were in conversation. This was wide-ranging and thought-provoking as well as being entertaining. Topics included challenges facing the wider heritage railway industry, the current style and substance of modern apprenticeships and the difficulty in finding experienced and skilled people to work in engineering in general and heritage railways in particular. It finished with a lively discussion on the merits and future, if any, of HS2.

About 80 people were at the social and gave very positive feedback, with enthusiasm for future Friends of Vintage Trains social events. A raffle was also held with a first prize of a signed Limited Edition framed print of a traditional steam train station scene; this raised £180 which made a substantial contribution towards the cost of hiring the room for the evening.

Further socials will be held after the Friends of Vintage Trains AGM on Saturday 4 April 2020 and on the evenings of 14 May 2020 and 3 September 2020. Any suggestions for these, and future, events are welcome; please see the Contact Us page for details of how to contact the Friends.