The RPSI has been running monthly meetings in Belfast, during the winter months, continually since February 1974.

Guest speakers from all corners of Ireland and beyond have enthralled our audiences with tales of all things railway - broad and narrow gauge - mostly steam with many pictures from behind the scenes. Hundreds of slide shows and miles of movie film and video have revealed every corner of the island's railway network to consistently large audiences, reputedly the largest in these islands.

Please download and display/advertise the meetings programme.

All Welcome!

Date Meeting Details
10th October 2018 (1) The Newry to Armagh Railway
Philip Donald  presents the history of this long-abandoned line and details the tragic events of 1889 which led to immediate worldwide changes in railway management and procedures.
(2) Steam Around Goraghwood
Joe Cassells  uses pictures by the late Des FitzGerald to recall the last days of steam on this part of the main line when a variety of GN locos shared turns with NCC Moguls and Jeeps.
14th November 2018 Irish Ambulance Trains in the Great War
Charles Friel  marks the centenary of the Armistice with this review of the life and times of two Irish Ambulance Trains - one based in Dublin and one in Belfast - which roamed the system to bring home casualties from the conflict in Europe. Includes many previously unpublished photographs and diagrams of these almost-forgotten trains - and some very recent discoveries.
12th December 2018 (1) Architecture of the GNR(I)
Siobhan Osgood  reviews the evolving styles of architecture used across the GNR(I)'s network with photographs and digitised original drawings from the IRRS archive.
(2) Building for the Future
Peter Scott  brings us up to date with the challenges and achievements at Whitehead of providing a spare boiler for Jeep No.4 - and the possibility of having an NCC Mogul on our books. Find out more!
9th January 2019 Macha Film Studios Presents
John Friel  shares some vintage footage of steam trains in Ireland including Sunday School excursions from Portadown to Portrush in 1966, and RPSI railtours - the Killultagh of 1967 and the Slieve Cualann of 1968 - to the last NIR steam-worked passenger trains on the Larne line in 1969. From more recent years, we go behind the scenes with footage of Society steam on the main line - all the way from humble ballast workings to a Royal Train!
13th February 2019 Irish Port, Harbour and Military Railways
Andrew Waldron  returns to share a treasure trove of previously-unpublished pictures of many lines which did much valuable work, often away from the glamour of the main line and using fascinating machines in rarely-photographed locations. From the dual-gauged lines of Londonderry and the lines needed to develop Belfast Harbour through many of the short lines around our coast to how the military authorities used railways throughout Ireland.
13th March 2019 The End of an Era
Derek Young  looks back to the changing world of the Ulster Transport Authority in the 1960s when steam was being replaced by diesel. But, in the face of reduced maintenance and threats of closure, the old spirit lived on, old standards were maintained and there was still much to relish and enjoy on a busy railway before a way of life was swept away.

The Meeting

Meetings start sharp at 7:30pm and finish by 10:00pm.

Each night includes a 5 minute 'Newsreel'. This gives a bite-sized look at some recent event or intriguing piece of engineering in which the RPSI has been involved and is usually a mixture of video and still photographs. It is the natural appetiser to getting involved yourself, perhaps by meeting some of the volunteers who do so much behind the scenes.

It is followed by a talk/show illustrated on a large screen.

There will be an interval for tea/coffee, with time to visit the huge range of items for sale, giving you a chance to browse through the RPSI shop, including the large stock of new and second-hand Irish railway books, videos and other railway paperwork as well as magazines - far too many to list here.

The meetings are open to non-members and admission is free, although donations towards running costs are always gratefully received (there will be a collection on leaving).

The Venue

Parke Hall, Orangefield Presbyterian Church, Castlereagh Road, Belfast, BT5 6BH

The hall can be reached using Metro bus services 5A and 31, and Ulsterbus service 512 - the Montgomery Road stop coming into Belfast, and Orby Street on the way out.

The meetings are fully accessible for wheelchair users.