Saturday, 3 April 2010

Happy Easter


We wish you all a happy and blessed Easter. May God be with you.

Monday, 29 March 2010


I noticed on the BBC recently that the Scottish Railway Preservation Society (SRPS) have opened the section of line from Birkill to Manuel to passenger transport. The line was previously only used for accessing the Network Rail lines. This means that the line is now 1.5 miles longer. There is no station yet at Manuel so passengers cannot embark or disembark. 

Congratulations on the good work done and best wishes for the future. I look forwards to being able to visit and travel on the new line.

Saturday, 13 March 2010


As I said we have been welcoming many new visitors after Fr Z linked to us and a couple have even been in touch to comment and wish us well. Thanks. 

One of them is a seminarian from down south, so pray for him, the other an author wanting to mention our report on the Vatican railway station in an article he is writing. Wow - fame!*

That author commented on how he  was old enough to remember when the LMS was the London Midland and Scottish railway company rather than the Latin Mass Society

Again, welcome to everyone.

*Sadly not "Wow - royalties!"

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Welcome Onboard

Our quiet little branchline of a blog has recently welcomed an awful lot of visitors from all over the world thanks to a link erected by Fr Z (in the article mentioned a couple of posts down).

Hello! to all our new visitors. We hope you enjoy coming here. Its not much to see, certainly compared to Fr Z, but we like it here and hope you do to. Please feel free to look around or leave comments.

Monday, 8 March 2010

La Freccia

La Freccia is the magazine of FS - Ferrovie dello Stato, the Italian State Railways. I picked up the February edition on a recent trip to Italy and it contains an interesting article on "I Treni dei Papi" - the trains of the popes. The articles begins by stating that, even though at the beginning trains were seen as infernal machines, the Popes soon learnt to familiarise themselves with trains, stations and railways.

The occasion for the article was a visit made by Pope Benedict to a hostel at Termini railway station in Rome but it includes an interesting history of the relationship between popes and trains. and historical photographs of John XXIII travelling in the Italian Presidential Train and Paul VI in a hard-hat (and cassock, rochet and fur-trimmed mozzetta!) on a visit to the construction site for the Rome-Florence Diretissima line [picture above from an ebay postcard].

Pope Benedict didn't actually travel to Termini by train by the railway provides financial support to the hostel and, on the journey on which this magazine was obtained, there were volunteer railway staff going through the carriages collecting money to present to the hostel in honour of the papal visit. In return they were giving out small chocolates sponsored by various other companies. Not too bad a deal.

We are not alone!

It turns out that its not only Scottish priests who are interested in railways.

Even the famous Fr Z pines for the chance to ride on a steam railway!

Maybe we should invite him to become an honorary member of the Scottish Clergy Railway Circle?

Friday, 26 February 2010

Model Rail Scotland II

A couple of us were down at Model Rail Scotland today - and we saw at least three other priests as well, one of whom had travelled down from the farthest north specially.

It was a bit rushed due to afternoon commitments but it was a good visit. I don't think I had seen any of the layouts before and amongst the layouts there was a small one based on FS the Italian Railway Company. It was too small but it did bring back memories of trips out to the Castelli or down to the Ciociara, or, more prosaically, up to La Guistiniana to catch a 201 or 223 down to the College. Ah, happy days!

The show continues tomorrow and Sunday - get along to it!

Sunday, 31 January 2010

Model Rail Scotland

Its that time of year again. Get excited, because Model Rail is coming to town! The 26th to 28th February at the SECC, Glasgow, must be in your diaries (although if you live too far away we'll give you a dispensation, if you ask nicely on the correct forms). This is the highlight of the Scottish model railway year. You just can't miss it. Its too much fun, even during Lent.

Talking of diaries, one of the parishioners gave me a railway calendar and matching diary after the Vigil Mass last night. Its nice to be remembered by parishioners.

[Update: Please note that this is not a cheap attempt to solicit donations. All of the members have all the stuff they need!]

Sunday, 17 January 2010

Welsh Railways & Giraldus Cambrensis

One of our colleagues in seminary - now a priest in the far flung islands - had a saying that certain people had "minds like Welsh railways - one track and dirty!"

Apparently though, Welsh railways have in fact much improved. A recent-ish issue of RAIL had an article on a new locomotive-hauled service from North Wales to Cardiff sponsored by the Welsh Assembly Government. This Holyhead to Cardiff and vice versa service, hauled by 57/3s, offers a smart new way for businessmen and commuters to travel down for business or indeed shopping. A first-class ticket (£193 return, although bought in advance it could be as little as £152)* brings with it a full breakfast on the way down, leaving Holyhead at 0532, and a three course evening meal on return, leaving Cardiff at 1617. More details and menus on the Arriva Trains Wales website.

The website advertises it simply as the North South Premier Service but the Rail article additionally mentions that the service has a name - Yr Geralt Gymro/Gerald of Wales - named after a 12th Century Archdeacon of Brecon and Bishop-Elect of St Davids, although that election was later annulled. Even 12th c. priests get involved in trains!

* Second class from just £71 return

Friday, 15 January 2010

Michael Portillo's Railway Journeys

Michael Portillo was an MP who many loved to hate, especially at the time of the 1997 General Election. He has now reinvented himself as a TV presenter and currently has an interesting programme on the BBC - great British railway journeys. In the Daily Mail he has written about his pride in having, as Minister for Transport, saved the Settle and Carlisle Line when BR wanted it closed. In this instance he managed to persuade Baroness Thatcher that heritage was more important than economics, and, regardless of the other good and bad things they did in politics, we should be thankful to him and her for this generous act.

The series can be watched on BBC iPlayer

[I don't know what religion Mr Portillo is but on Wikipedia (which is never wrong) it says that eh took the name 'Xavier' at Confirmation and his father was Spanish, albeit a Republican, so it is possible he is a Catholic]