Afternoon talk: Final Journey- the Untold Story of Funeral Trains

Date(s) - 19th Feb 2024

St Matthew's Church


Nicolas Wheatley’s talk reveals the previously untold story of why and how trains have been used to transport the dead, enabling their burial in a place of significance to the bereaved. Profusely illustrated with many images, the talk explains how the mainline railways carried out this important  yet often hidden work from the Victorian age to the 1980’s, as well as how ceremonial funeral transport continues on heritage railways to the day.

From Royalty, aristocrats and other VIPs, including Sir Winston Churchill and the Unknown Warrior, to the victims of various accidents and ordinary people, the talk explores the ways in which the deceased travelled for the last time by train before being laid to rest. The talk will also mention several people with connections to Cheltenham and Gloucetershire whose coffins were transported by train.

Nicolas Wheatley has been interested in railways, cemeteries and death generally for many years and has written a book on funeral trains, copies of which will be available for purchase after the talk. He has been a volunteer on the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway since 2012, grew up in Stroud and now lives in Cheltenham.


Cost per person: £11, to include tea/coffee and cake.

Non-members welcome.

If you have any questions please phone Alison on 01242 519413.

Please book using one of the following options:

  • On-line bookings with a debit or credit card can be made using the form below. Alternatively you may reserve your place, select the ‘off-line’ payment option and pay by bank transfer or cheque.
  • Bank transfer – please email and wait for confirmation that places are available before arranging your bank transfer.
  • Cheque – please complete a booking form (download here ) and post it with your cheque.

Places are not confirmed until payment is received.

Bank transfers should be made to Friends of The Wilson (or as much of that as the bank will accept) Sort Code 30-91-87 Account 00005816. The reference must include your surname plus as much of the event title as will fit, for example SMITH Trains.

Please make cheques payable to Friends of The Wilson and send with a SAE or clearly written email address to Mrs Alison Pascoe, 77 Naunton Lane, Cheltenham, GL53 7AZ.

Terms & Conditions: When taking part in the talk please follow these guidelines:

  • Please do not attend a talk if you have any Covid-19 symptoms
  • You are undertaking this event at your own risk


Bookings are now closed for this event.