Background to the Society
The Society was formed in 1976 as the SNCF Society to cater for the interests of British enthusiasts of French railways. The small initial membership rapidly expanded to take in enthusiasts from other countries - mainly English-speakers, but not exclusively so. The Society's original title was chosen as the most convenient way of expressing its aims, but following consultation with members was changed in June 2017 to the French Railways Society. This was to more accurately reflect the aims of the Society, and to take account of SNCF having evolved from a national rail operator to a global transport corporation over the last 20 years.
Individual members are knowledgeable about the former separate main-line companies, narrow-gauge and secondary railways, the Wagons-Lits organisation, and so on. We now number approaching 500 members, several of whom are known nationally through their writings in the enthusiast and model press.
From time to time individual members host "at homes"; larger regionally-organised meetings take place in convenient venues, once or twice a year. They usually include working model layouts, static displays, films or slides, trade stands and the Society bring-and-buy stall together, of course, with much good-humoured and informative chat. The Society is represented at many model railway shows with members layouts and our sales stand. A day trip is organised annually from London or Kent to a location of interest in Paris or Northern France
The Society was the first of the UK continental railway societies to be formed and over the intervening years has built up a considerable library of books, railway journals and other material. We also have a wide number of contacts in most areas of interest. The Society is affiliated to The Model Railway Club, TGV 086 and is closely associated with the Chemin de Fer de la Baie de Somme in Picardie and the AJECTA museum in Longueville. Through these and other contacts we can help members obtain books and modelling products, or just information not normally available in Great Britain.
Certain suppliers of books and models in Great Britain have kindly offered discounts to our members: you will receive details when you join.
The Society Library stocks a comprehensive collection of books, making it probably the most extensive library of French railway material outside of France. All of these items are available on free loan to members. A detailed list is provided in the members section. We also have an expanding archive of photographs and documents.
Our principal means of circulating information is the quarterly Journal, which is widely regarded as one of the best railway society journals in the UK. Each issue contains up to 50 pages of practical and lively articles on the present-day French railway scene, topical news, historical matters, modelling tips, travel hints, product and book reviews. It is well illustrated with photographs, scale drawings and track plans. Through the popular sales and wants column, members can easily recoup their annual subscription. The journal is published in March, June, September and December.
Whatever your interest in the railways of France, it makes sense to join the French Railways Society. The enthusiasts who run it will do their best to see that you get maximum benefit from your subscription. Although we have a relaxed aproach to formal matters the Society has a Chairman, Secretary, Treasurer, Editor and other officers who have been co-opted to these positions by their contribution to the Society and willingness to develop it for the future. The annual subscription runs from January 1st. New members receive issues of the Journal beginning with that for March of the current year. If you join after September, your subscription will run through to the end of the following year.
Joining the Society
To join the Society, please complete the form below and and press the 'send ' button. An acknowledgement should appear on your screen when this has been successfully despatched
By Internet/Bank Transfer - please transfer the appropriate amount and add your postcode to your bank's details box when making your transfer. Account: French Railways Society; Sort code 40-40-25 Account number 91402862
International Bank transfer IBAN: GB76HBUK40402591402862 BIC: HBUKGB4153F
Payment by cheque should be sent to: Michael Bunn, 93 Deakin Leas, TONBRIDGE, Kent, TN9 2JT England
United Kingdom £16
By French cheque – payment may be made by French bank cheque – details on request.
PayPal - if you have a PayPal account please pay the appropriate amount to email@example.com Please add your postcode in the ‘add a note’ box when making your transfer.
United Kingdom £17
For enquiries relating to the Society and this website please use the contact form and details available via this link