Club News Nov/Dec 2015

Lartique Monorail - Ken Husey - 26 November

The Club President, Ken Hussey, gave a powerpoint presentation to 30 members at the Jubilee Hall, Charvil on November 26th on “the Lartigue monorail”, a rather unique passenger carrying rail system, consisting originally of an engine with two steam boilers, each boiler straddling and riding on an elevated monorail system, the rail about 3 feet above the ground on steel ‘ A ‘ frames. The journey was from Listowell to Ballybunnion, a distance of 9 miles. It was designed and built by a Frenchman, Charles Lartigue, who got the idea from observing desert camels carrying goods which were slung either side of their body. He first pioneered the concept in 1881 with a 56 mile monorail system in Algeria pulled by mules and used for carrying esparto grass.

The journey on the Lartigue system was made in carriages straddling the monorail which were noisy and rickety, the seating of the passengers had to be arranged so that the carriages balanced evenly on the single rail, although guide balance wheels were fitted to the bottom of the carriages to touch the rails at the bottom of the ‘A' frames to provide greater stability. Passengers were able to switch their seating positions while the train was in progress to assist the balance of the carriages. The train stopped at road crossing bridges, having to give way to road traffic!!! Manually operated turntables at both terminals enabled the engine to be quickly reversed for the return journey. The original system was opened in 1888 and operated for 36 years, closing in 1924. It lay neglected and abandoned, until it was restored, the former steam powered engine was replaced by a similar one but it was a diesel powered engine, and the railway re-opened in June 2003. Now it is a tourist attraction still providing unique journeys. The show included old vintage film footage of the original steam powered train. It proved to be both informative, entertaining and hilarious to the members.

AGM and Christmas Party - December 10th

December 10th was the club's AGM, followed by the Christmas Party, which was well attended by 40 members. A successful year was reviewed by both the President and the Chairman, while the Treasurer reported another satisfactory financial year.

The ‘Brian Eighteen Award' is given to the member whose work and contribution to the running of the Club over the years has gone unrecognised and was awarded to Christine Frewing, and presented by the President, Ken Hussey.

The winner of the ‘Phil Blow Trophy' for most points won throughout the year for their winning entries in the Club single card competition which is held at every meeting was narrowly won by Michael Compton, the runner-up by only one point was Coral Print.

The Committee were re-elected en-bloc, excluding Geoff Ashton, who resigned after being a committee member for 15 years, serving in various roles. Tributes and thanks were given to Geoff for his outstanding service. Liz Tebbutt was voted onto the committee as a new member.

The highlight at the conclusion of the AGM was the surprise appearance of Jenny Jerrum, whom it was announced prior to the start of the AGM hoped to be released from the John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford by the weekend. However she returned to the Club that evening in a wheelchair to rapturous applause, having been discharged only 4 hours previously. Jenny had spent 6 weeks in the hospital having been airlifted there after a refuse collection lorry in Cookham knocked a large brick pier over, parts of which fell on Jenny, causing severe damage to her leg requiring several operations.

The Xmas Party followed with a festive spread prepared by three lady members, Margaret Hussey, Frances Starman, and Ann Seager, with wine or soft drinks. This was followed by the traditional free raffle when all the members present received a prize which started the festive season early.

On a sad note, we learnt of the death of club member Mike Beglin, who died after a long illness on December 1st. Mike was a popular, well liked member for many years and specialised in collecting merchant shipping cards, particularly of the Cunard line. Mike just managed to celebrate his Golden Wedding anniversary with his wife Rosemarie, to whom we extend our condolences at her great and sad loss. He will be greatly missed by all who knew him.


Roy Sheppard (Publicity Officer)