Past President Bill Trinder

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On Saturday 28th March Mrs Cynthia Turner, Bill Trinder’s daughter, helped the Banbury Civic Society and Talyllyn Railway Preservation Society with the ceremonial unveiling of a commemorative plaque to mark the birth of the world-wide railway preservation movement at 84 High Street, Banbury.

Bill Trinder is shown above cutting the tape at Wharf Station in Tywyn on the first day of TRPS operation 14th May 1951.

You may be wondering what a small shop in Banbury High Street has got to do with The Talyllyn Railway Preservation Society and steam railways all around the world.

The answer is that Banbury may fairly lay claim to be the birthplace of the Railway Preservation movement because of the endeavours of local businessman, enthusiast and committed Rotarian, Bill Trinder, who ran his radio and gramophone record shop from 84 High Street.

It was a defining moment in the bid to save the Talyllyn Railway, when Bill Trinder’s friend Tom Rolt walked into the shop at 84 High Street and showed him a copy of the Bill to nationalise the railways in the winter of 1947/8. The two men were gripped by this news and it transpired that the ancient but failing Talyllyn Railway in Mid Wales was to fall outside the net of state control. During discussions in Bill’s flat above the shop, Trinder and Rolt resolved not only save the Talyllyn Railway, but to run it using volunteers. Following the inaugural meeting of the Talyllyn Railway Preservation Society in 1950, Bill Trinder was appointed its first Chairman.

Following the success of Talyllyn -the Talyllyn Railway turns 150 years old this year and remains a leading example of its kind – there are now countless heritage railways around the world, most of them wholly or substantially staffed and run by volunteers, following the model pioneered by Trinder and Rolt. Every one of them can trace its origin to Trinder and Rolfs decision to save the Talyllyn, and thus to 84 High Street, Banbury.

The Banbury Civic Society and Talyllyn Railway Preservation Society have jointly commissioned the commemorative plaque which is situated just above the shop where everything started – 84 High Street – now occupied by The Men’s Room hairdressers.

Bill Trinder and Tom Rolt made their first visit to the Talyllyn Railway in the last weekend in March 1948, hence the chosen date for the unveiling.

As a past President of our Club, Bill was a definite trend setter as it was Bill who first made the first approaches to our Contact Club partners in France, Germany, Italy and Switzerland, starting an international circle of Rotary Fellowship that is still thriving today.