Credit: Gloucestshire Warwickshire Railway
Credit: Gloucestshire Warwickshire Railway

A Train Driver has retired from duties at the Gloucestshire Warwickshire Railway after 80 years as a railwayman.

Jeff Madge took his last turn as a driver at the Gloucestshire Warwickshire Steam Railway on Tuesday 17th October 2017.

80 year old Jeff joined British Rail in 1952 aged 15. He was operating from the Cardiff Canton depot.

The following year, he moved to Old Oak Common depot in London, where he passed out as a driver.

He worked up the ladder before returning to Cardiff where he became a driver.

Jeff says “As a passed fireman I enjoyed plenty of opportunities to drive locomotives and did an awful lot of work on freight traffic. I often worked up to Gloucester and sometimes further north over what we knew as the Honeybourne Line, the route over which the present day Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway (GWSR) operates. Unfortunately, although I was due to be passed as a driver, the end of steam came about too soon. Many steam men left the railway then but I decided to continue and became a diesel driver, working on most types including the InterCity 125’s (HST’s) and retired in 1983.

He added “But railways – and especially steam – ‘gets into your blood’ and I decided to take an interest in the then embryonic GWSR at Toddington. It was a tiny operation with big ambitions then and I have seen it grow and have enjoyed encouraging youngsters as they start their voluntary footplate careers on the railway. They are the people who will keep the dream of steam alive for future generations to enjoy. They may never experience the challenge of handling a 700-ton coal train behind a Great Western 2-8-0 such as 2807, which is based at Toddington, or flying along at 80mph or more on a ‘Castle’ with 10 coaches in tow.

The Gloucestshire Warwickshire Railway are always looking for more volunteers, can you see yourself following in Jeffs footsteps? Contact the GWSR for more information.

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I have had an interest in Railways for as long as I can remember. I am a member of a number of heritage railways and actively volunteer at 2 of them. I enjoy all types of railways, real life, model and simulations. I started RailAdvent in 2014 and am the main editor of the site.