It wasn’t quite a papal decree that kept David Morgan, consultant at London firm RadcliffesLeBrasseur, away from a meeting of European lawyers in Luxembourg last week.

But it came within a cardinal’s whisker of being one.

Morgan, a member of the UK delegation to the Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe, was expected in Luxembourg to debate such earnest issues as a unified European contract law.

But Obiter discovered that his absence was due to a rather more pressing invitation, from the Holy See, to travel in the pope’s very own steam train, along with a bevy of cardinals, other assorted clerics and diplomats.

The train had been donated to the then pontiff in 1932 by Benito Mussolini, and this was the first time it had ever departed the station in the Vatican’s garden without a pope as a passenger.

But why was Morgan invited?

It turns out that as well as being a legal luminary, he is also president of two international organi­sations devoted to museums and tourist railways.