Dr James Brian Rogers, Family man, General Practitioner, Farmer, Railwayman; a man with a zest for ideas and the pursuance of them and a man that took a real interest in people
He was born in Ellesmere, Shropshire, where rural shows with steam tracion engines may have been the base for his love of steam in later life. His first railway was an "O" gauge layout in his garden, with proper steam engines burning methylated spirits. His education continued at Liverpool University, reading Medicine, keeping in the family tradition. His studies were interrupted by the war, and call up in 1941 found him in the Royal Corps of Signals. Transferring to India, he took part in the Burma Campaign.
Demob in 1946 saw him completing his medical degree. It was then he met Robin Butterell, with whom he set up the Llandudno Miniature Railway. Allan Pratt was also involved with this at one point. The LMR was successful, but it was moved to Bridlington. As Brian's medical practice grew, he sold his share of the railway to Robin, to concentrate on it.
Marriage, and a move to Bevere, Worcester followed, as a local GP, specialising in geriatrics, and a growing family. He had a regular half day off on a Tuesday, which was usually spent on his passion for steam. During the early days of the FR Co. revival, he became a volunteer, famously capturing perhaps the only record of the first, of very few, trains along the old route from Porthmadog to Blaenau Ffestiniog.
He attended the inaugural meeting of the FR Society Midland group at Edgbaston, Birmingham in 1955, called by Bob Smallman, and soon became the official lecturer for the line. When he retired from lecturing, his position was taken over by Bob
A change in life came in 1966 with a move to Porters Hill farm! This enabled him to pursue his interest in railways further by building another garden railway, albeit in a big field to the rear of the farm house. Some of the equipment came from the Bridlington operation he had created some 20 years previous. Brian documented the development first on cine film, and later videotape.
Holidays were usually spent at some location in Britain, and Porthmadog was frequently on the list, with local steam, and wildlife (another passion) was on the menu. There were other destinations, either for days out or weeklong breaks, but steam and wildlife usually had a bearing on the location.
He always contended that 7¼" gauge was the smallest practical size for a ground miniature railway, and in 1973 formed the 7¼" gauge society. The initial meeting had 35 people in attendance. It now has around 1800 members. Initially he was Chairman and editor of the house journal, which along with his job and other interests, was quite a task. Until illness started to take its toll, he attended every meeting and gathering. He was also involved with the Heywood Society, a select group miniature railway people who own, build or operate miniature railways from 7¼ inch to 15" gauge. At one point he was Chairman and Vice President of this society.
Retirement in 1983 saw him pursue the redevelopment of the farming side at Porters Hill and more time to devote to steam and narrow gauge railways. Editing and sorting his cine and video was one task, whilst a "new build" loco was constructed, with assistants, in his workshop, named for his first grandchild. It took 19 years to complete!
Father of Seamus Rogers