The Winton Train 2009

Stepping stones to the future

It was the express wishes of the Czech organisers of the 2009 train that it would lead to further journeys in the future and it is somewhat ironic that the 2009 train was conceived and financed entirely by the Czechs when it is, above all, primarily our - British - history and heritage. Sir Nicholas was frequently quoted as saying “I’m not interested in the past. There’s too much emphasis on the past nowadays and what has happened and nobody is concentrating on the present and the future”.

I believe he would have wanted nothing more than to know his story could inspire future generations that they too can ‘make a difference’ and galvanise us to help those, especially children, threatened by war in the world today. The 2009 train did a lot to raise the profile of the Kindertransport story in the UK, but it didn’t directly seek to help any charitable organisations or individuals in need.

There is no way the 2009 journey could be repeated, nor should we attempt to do so, it was a one-off. Instead the proposal is to carry on ‘where it left off’.

To commemorate the 75th anniversary of the conclusion of the 1938-9 Kindertransports, on 4th September 2014 a special train was organised to operate from London Liverpool Street to Harwich and return, together with a civic reception and programme of events locally in Harwich. This was a modern electric train kindly provided by Abellio Greater Anglia Railways. Because of the relatively short notice and the lack of a photogenic steam locomotive, attendance was quite limited and media coverage restricted mainly to the local press. However it did run successfully and the Kinder attending were given an exceptionally warm welcome back to Harwich. It also served as invaluable experience for some of the logistics and local contacts necessary for the 2016 trains and events.

With the passage of time, the surviving Kinder are now all in their 80s or 90s, so each year the possibility of arranging a viable journey with participation of the original “children” in significant numbers reduces, hence the proposal for a commemoration in 2016.

The date of 1st July is significant as the first anniversary of Sir Nicholas Winton’s passing away and the 77th anniversary of the arrival in Harwich of his largest single transport of 241 children. See here for details of what is planned for the day.

What are we trying to achieve and why are we doing this?

See here for what we are trying to achieve and why.