Report of the Zoom meeting hosted in London on August 26

Though there remains some slight confusion over both time zones and the mechanics of online meetings, there was another good attendance at the meeting, with 14 members present including Ramez Atiya (ESC 246, of Utah), who proclaimed (with only slight exaggeration) that he had been waiting 50 year to attend a Study Circle meeting. Our President, John Davis, was one among several who apologised for non-attendance. He is convalescing after surgery while on holiday; the meeting wished him well.

The meeting was led with typical enthusiasm by Sami Sadek, who revealed myriad secrets of the TPO-researchers’ art, including the secrets of the train numbers, each representing literally an individual train and revealing the direction of travel - odd numbers in one direction, even numbers the opposite. So a TPO CDS might read Mansura-Mataria, but the train numbers would give away that in fact it was travelling from Mataria to Mansura.

Realising the train number’s significance has made an important breakthrough in the study of TPOs, and train journeys can now be tracked literally for every minute of the way. Sami was astonished at the super-efficiency and the master-planning of the State railways and their conjunction with the smaller regional light railways.

He is also realising that Peter Smith’s original listing has very many variants. As a tribute to the master, however, he has agreed to retain the original type numbers, both at Professor Smith’s request and to avoid confusion. Variants will be given -a or -b suffixes. The QC will be happy to publish variants as they come to light. Sami’s display – just a few pages of his five-frame exhibit – was warmly welcomed.

Hani Sharestan raised an interesting point by suggesting that our Facebook members might be given more opportunity to examine the offerings of the great auction houses with advertisements in the Facebook page. One firmly-held facet when the page was created was that it should have no commercial activity, but after discussion the meeting considered that we might experiment with small and tasteful advertising, both to boost Circle funds and to offer members more choice.

The meeting was successfully brought to a close with the strong feeling that more should be arranged, perhaps alternating between hosting from USA and London.