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I Was Only Entertaining The Customers

In 1978 I became Area Manager Traincrews at Manchester Piccadilly and inherited many characters in the process, not least of whom was a senior conductor (Guard), who is still employed by a train operating company so let’s call him Mr Smith, a very dark shiny skinned gent of West Indian origin. The Area Manager had advised me on taking up my appointment that complaints had been received concerning this person, and his habit of handing out religious tracts when collecting [...]

How I came to like Rotherwood (Sheffield) Traincrews

In May 1976 – or was it 1978? – the GMPTE decided to introduce a new pattern of service throughout South Manchester, Piccadilly to Hadfield, Rose Hill (Marple), New Mills and Sheffield local services were to see significant increases. My tale however should start the previous summer with the preparation of that years winter leave rosters for drivers at Guide Bridge. When they were completed a member of the LDC (local trade union official) said he thought there was something [...]

Horses For Courses

My story is of two drivers, but only one man, Tommy Holland (Tommy Trouble) as he was known, due no doubt to his sullen manner and approach. He came to Newton Heath in the 1940s to be promoted to driver, with a first preference for Longsight when a vacancy arose with his seniority date. Being newly promoted he was in a junior link which involved him in trip working in the Miles Platting area trundling wagons between the various marshalling [...]

A Fortunate Day in the Life of a Passed Fireman

It was late autumn/early winter and that time of year often resulted in widespread fog and heavy mist from Marsden in the west to the Vale of York in the east, and that year was no exception. In the 1950s I was a young Passed Fireman with an excellent route card and it was no surprise when the shed messenger arrived on his bike at my home one lunchtime. He woke me from my sleep to inform me that I [...]

What Price Sheep Droppings

In late 1947 when food rationing was still in force, I fired for a driver called Arthur Moores who was a keen gardener. When ever we were on the 0435 Manchester Victoria to Hellifield he would come to work with a strong brown paper bag, some old newspapers and a piece of string. He would daily go into the field behind the turntable whilst I was turning the engine and collect sheep droppings which he said he placed in a [...]