Andrew Charman gave a first class presentation on his multi-faceted career as a Photographer, Journalist, Magazine Editor, Author, Motoring Correspondent and Motoring Sports Writer as well as acting as Press Officer for the Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway.
He started his talk with his upbringing in the South of England when his parents introduced him to the delights of the narrow gauge railways in Wales through a number of holidays. This brought him some time later to his long lasting love with the Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway where he ultimately became amongst many other things (including being a Fireman on the railway) its Press Officer.
As mentioned Andrew’s career has many strands but for our purpose he concentrated on his passion for narrow gauge railways not only in the UK but worldwide. Since 2009 he has been Editor of the magazine Narrow Gauge World which involves producing nine issues a year and is a regular on the newsstands of our large magazine retailers. He highlighted his vision as Editor by making the very best use of photography and innovative layout in the design of the publication. More recently he has taken charge of the magazine Engineering in Miniature as well as wearing his author’s cap in writing the Haynes publication the Steam Locomotive Drivers’ Manual.
His talk included many excellent illustrations and photos from issues of Narrow Gauge World showing the successes and also the failures in the narrow gauge. He interestingly compared in the publication some of the very early visions for narrow gauge developments and brought the articles up to date to see whether the ideas had come to fruition. He produced many examples of his narrow gauge experiences and these are but a few:
The success of the Statfold Barn Railway near Tamworth with its work on restoring locomotives and displaying them in excellent surroundings
The highs and lows of the Isle of Man Railway
Details of a hair raising gravity descent in wagons on the Ffestiniog Railway
The successful repatriation and restoration of a number of narrow gauge locomotives from USA and Canada
The problems of the Darjeeling Railway
The successful progress on restoring parts of the Lynton & Barnstaple Railway and the building of replica locomotives
The ‘Sister Railway Co-operation Agreement’ between the Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway and the Taiwan Sugar Corporation, the highlight of which was shipping out the W&LLR Andrew Barclay locomotive ‘Dougal’ to Taiwan for the celebrations.
Further details on many of these topics can be found on Andrew’s web and facebook pages.
Peter Cox. our Chairman, thanked Andrew for a first class and stimulating presentation highlighting an aspect of railway interest, magazine editorship and in particular narrow gauge railways, which would be new to Members.