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Historic business travel exhibition pays tribute to 'Trainspotter' creator

Images, stories and memorabilia detailing half a century of business travel has been shared by the family of Ian Allan, the man who created the legendary ‘loco-spotters’ rail enthusiasts clubs more than 70 years ago.
Shepperton-based travel management company (TMC), Ian Allan Travel, celebrating its fiftieth year in business, and is one of Britain’s oldest family-run corporate travel business, will celebrate by sharing an online exhibition of travel memorabilia showcasing the industry’s progression, with items and images it has collected over the decades.


The exhibition, available for public viewing online, tells the story of how Ian Allan  began his train enthusiasts clubs by publishing the cult ‘loco-spotters’ books in the early 1940s.  Allan went on to found a group of businesses including book publishing, hotels, motor dealerships, aviation tours and in 1964, he opened Ian Allan Travel, then specialising in corporate and leisure travel.  

Paul Allan, son of Ian, and the company’s chairman presents the collection of images and stories to the industry, which includes everything from King George the 6th’s Pullman car, the train carriage around which Ian Allan Travel was built, to encounters with Laurel and Hardy, Roz Hanby (face of Britain Airways in the 70s and 80s) to sales agreements with airlines which disappeared decades ago.  

Paul Allan, chairman of Ian Allan Travel, commented:  “After fifty years of professional corporate travel management we have had truly unique and rare experiences, seen technology progress, witness how the industry has changed, and how we’ve had to adapt, but more importantly we wanted to pay tribute to a man whose influence on the world of travel is too great to ignore.”

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