Transport for Wales has celebrated Jimmy Summons who has clocked up an amazing 60 years of service as part of the railway family
Described as ‘inspirational’ by Transport for Wales, Jimmy has run the newspaper kiosk at Haverfordwest station in Pembrokeshire. Starting out at just 16 years old in 1961, Jimmy began his career during the days when steam trains would whistle past to meet the ferry at Fishguard.
Throughout his incredible career, Jimmy has seen Richard Burton, Prince Charles and Her Royal Highness Queen Elizabeth II at the station and has also served Lord Snowdon and Game of Thrones actor Jerome Flynn.
Jimmy’s birthday is just a month away and he will be 77 years old and still has no plans for retiring.
Jimmy said: “My cat wakes me up at 4:45am and I head down to make tea and get the papers ready. I’ll deliver to my customers around the town before coming down to the station to meet the early train.
“I love it because you never know who might walk through those doors or where they might be going, but I try to treat them all the same.”
Leaving school at the age of 15, Jimmy started work with his brother before taking on the kiosk with a permit from John Menzies which allowed him to sell newspapers, books and tobacco. Jimmy also saw the last years of steam, just before the Beeching axe cruelly fell on railways across Wales, and Haverfordwest which at that time had a much larger team looking after parcels and wages on the site.
Jimmy went on to say: “We had some brilliant times over the years, I’ll always remember my good friends Dai Havard and Jimmy Morgan. The railway staff used to look after me when I was a youngster first starting and I’ve always loved being a part of things here. We’ve had plenty of fun over the years though there have been a few memorable moments.
“Once, many years ago, we had a parcel trolley fall on the line and I had to jump down with the rest of the boys and help get it up again before the train came through*. Another time I had to warn the guard that a lorry had hit the railway bridge up ahead.
“Richard Burton came in while he was filming Under Milk Wood in Fishguard and got the train back to London, though sadly we didn’t see Elizabeth Taylor.
“We’ve had all the royals through over the years and I remember waving to Prince Charles and getting a wave back when they were off to an occasion at Picton Castle.”
*Transport for Wales stresses that you must never go onto the track to retrieve any items dropped.
Married to his beloved wife Lorraine for many years she also shares Jimmy’s love of working and still works in a residential home and is older than some of the people she cares for.
Jimmy has seen many changes in his job and stopped selling cigarettes several years ago and has also noticed the book trade decline over the years and said:
“Not as many people seem to like reading on their journey anymore, which is quite sad. They all seem to be on their phones or iPads. But it’s nice that a lot of my older customers have started coming back after Covid and the papers are picking up more.
Transport for Wales Station Manager James Nicholas said: “Jimmy really is part of the fabric here at Haverfordwest and all our customers and colleagues think the world of him.
“The fact he’s up so early every day and is still working so hard to provide such a great service for our customers even after 60 years is phenomenal and he really is an inspirational member of our railway family. Thank you for all the hard work Jimmy and here’s to many more years at Haverfordwest.”
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