24 June 2021

Railways around Bristol through the eyes of a life-long worker

As part of M Shed’s 10th birthday celebration, author and former rail worker Paul Stanford joins us for an online talk to review the Bristol area railways over the last 50 years.

His presentation will be lavishly illustrated, including photos taken by rail employees; giving a unique insight to railways around Bristol and the surrounding area not routinely visible.

In his book ‘50 Years of Railways Around Bristol‘, Paul has brought together scenes from the late 1960s to the present day. This is from the demise of steam trains right through to the latest passenger trains serving the Bristol area. The presentation will be a summary of his new book, which is also published on 24 June 2021.

The presentation highlights key events. These include the last day of mechanical signalling at Avonmouth; the last motorail trains to serve Bristol; and the implausible operation of steam hauled coal trains in the early 1980s by one of the locomotives now preserved at M Shed.

He will highlight the changes of the last half century in pictures, with a narrative from a professional railman’s perspective.

About Paul Stanford

Paul Stanford is a 4th generation railway worker. He started his railway career in Bristol 37 years ago and has worked in operations, commercial and enhancement functions. To improve his railway knowledge in his formative railway years, he worked on Avonmouth Area Signal Boxes on his days off. In the early 2000s as Regional Freight Manager he was instrumental in the establishment of the rail link from Bristol to Royal Portbury Dock, after 20 years disuse of the old Portishead branch line. The past five years has seen him lead efforts to renew and enhance the railways in the region and improve the operation of the railway in his senior roles with Network Rail.

He has volunteered in the heritage railway sector since he was 14; notably over 30 years spent working on Bristol’s Avon Valley Railway primarily as a Guard and Signalman.

He is an active volunteer and Fellow of the Institute of Railway Operators (IRO), where he is keen to pass on his skills and knowledge to less experienced people in the railway family. He is a keen advocate of good mental health too and will be making a donation to UK mental health charity Mates in Mind, from his author royalties from the sale of his new book ‘50 Years of Railways Around Bristol’. His book is released 24 June 2021.

How to take part

This free, online talk will be held over Zoom. Please book your place below. Details of how to join the session will be in your registration email. Please check your spam folder if the email does not arrive. Bookings close at 2pm on Thursday 24 June.

Although this talk is free, we would be grateful if you could consider making a donation.

Please visit the Zoom website for guidance on joining webinar. Please allow extra time before the talk begins to make sure everything is working correctly. It’s up to you whether you turn on your video but all guests will be muted once the talk begins. You are welcome to ask questions in the chat box throughout the talk.

Image: Trains in Bristol, 1968. Courtesy of Paul Stanford.