I was born in Guildford on 5th March 1946 and was educated at Worplesdon Primary School and Northmead Secondary School for Boys. Starting work at the tender age of 15 as an Engine Cleaner at Guildford Motive Power Depot on the 4th April 1961, I graduated to become a Fireman on the 9th April 1962. During my career as a Fireman from 1962 - 1967, I was fortunate enough to have been given the opportunity to fire to an incredible variety of Drivers and Southern steam locomotives ranging from
Drummond M7 tank engines to Bulleid’s Merchant Navy Class Pacifics. I was also a fireman on one of the last locomotives to leave Guildford Motive Power Depot when it closed on Sunday 9th July 1967.
The following day, I transferred to Woking Mixed Traction Depot as a Secondman and after successfully passing the Driver’s Rules, EMUT and Diesel Locomotive Traction Driving examinations in 1969, I remained at Woking as a Passed Secondman. However, in order to progress to Driver status, I applied for a Driver vacancy at Effingham Junction and moved there on the 11th December 1972.
Utilising an 8b move, I then moved back to Woking as a Driver in January 1974 and attended the Training School at Waterloo for a Class 47 course. I remained at Woking Mixed Traction Depot until 1987 until I was selected to become an Acting Instructor at the Operations Training Centre, Waterloo making this a permanent position in October 1988.
In August 1989, I was promoted to Senior Instructor (Mixed Traction) and held that post until 1994.
On the advice of the Adam Smith Institute, under John Major’s Conservative government’s Railways Act 1993, British Rail (BR) was split up and privatised so I decided to take voluntary severance after a railway career spanning 33 years.
My next ‘Career’ was with Surrey Police working in their new Computer Based Training Department and in the following 11 years held the posts of Training Officer, Computer Trainer, Communications Trainer, Assessor / Evaluator, Quality Officer, Data Manager, and finally, Business Development Analyst.
I still kept in contact with my railway colleagues and in 2004, I was ‘persuaded’ to re-join the Railway Industry as an Operations Trainer at the South West Trains Operations Training Centre at Basingstoke.
The following year I took on the role of Assistant Operations & Safety Training Manager and then in 2008, I was appointed as their Training Design Manager finishing my railway career in February 2009.
As well as being kept busy writing books and conducting talks / presentations about my railway life, I continue with my passion for photography and amongst other work, perform photographic duties for Network Rail and Stagecoach South Western Trains Ltd.
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