Former Great Western Railway driver Gordon Pritchard will ride in the driver’s cab of a new Intercity Express Train as part of his 100th birthday celebrations.
The Second World War hero will experience GWR’s high-speed train when he joins current driver depot manager Ted Llewellyn in the cab from Swansea.
A 93-mile journey to Swindon will be a far cry from transporting soldiers, goods and artillery across Asia and Europe in War Department locomotives.
At Swindon, Gordon will take a trip down memory lane with a tour of the town’s railway heritage STEAM Museum.
Swindon holds a special place in Gordon’s heart as he passed his first railways tests in the town in 1937. After the war he went on to enjoy more than 40 years’ service with GWR.
What did the officials say?
“It’s going to be wonderful to ride in the cab of a train again and I’m looking forward to being on one of the new Intercity Express Trains. I’m grateful to GWR and STEAM for organising this.”
“Looking back I had a wonderful time on the railways. I remember receiving a telegram from my Dad telling me I had to go down to Swindon to take my tests.
“When I passed everyone was congratulating me and telling me I’d got myself a job for life. It was difficult to understand at the time but as it turned out they were right.”
Ted, Driver Depot Manager, Bristol, said he was looking forward to treating Gordon to the Intercity Express Train experience.
“I come from a railway family and my own father David worked as a driver for 48 years. Sadly he passed away in July but I wouldn’t be surprised if he and Gordon knew each other.”
Born in Swansea on November 30, 1919, Gordon left school at 14 and worked for a couple of local butchers. He then took a factory job in Birmingham before sitting his first GWR tests.
“I remember having to follow different signal sequences – if you were colour blind you’d had it!” he said.
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