He was a career railwayman, spending 50 years of his life working from Saltley, the largest loco depot in the West Midlands, from 1949 onwards. He was a well-known and enthusiastic cleaner, fireman and driver there, working a wide variety of routes with an equally wide variety of locomotives, steam at first and diesels later.
His Saltley time was interrupted briefly in the mid-1950s by National Service with the Royal Engineers on the famous Longmoor Military Railway in Hampshire. There, Ron enjoyed learning a variety of railway trades beyond footplate work, and his easy communication skills enabled him to rise to become the Loco Footplate Instructor.
But when diesels took over on BRBritish Rail or British Railways, Ron realised that steam was missing from his life, and the infant SVRSevern Valley Railway scheme soon rekindled his interest, and in a wide variety of ways. Ron was a natural engineer, and his expertise and experience enabled him to lead the practical team that rescued BRBritish Rail or British Railways locos 80079 and 75069 from Barry Scrapyard, and put them into SVRSevern Valley Railway and even BRBritish Rail or British Railways main line service once again. Very few people today would manage to rebuild locos from scrap condition into active running units in unpaid time on Sunday afternoons at Bridgnorth; Ron could and did!
He was always willing to share his railway operating and engineering experience, and assisted footplate colleague Lyn Whitworth on the first training courses for ‘outsider’ firemen. Ultimately his experience was sought very widely, and beyond SVRSevern Valley Railway boundaries.
SVRSevern Valley Railway Officerships
Ron contributed much more to the SVRSevern Valley Railway, being Chairman of the Severn Valley Railway Association from 1975-1980, succeeding John Hill and being succeeded by Jack Bond. He was also an SVR(H) Director.
- SVRSevern Valley Railway News 38, 56
- Express Points, April 2019 (Retrieved 23 April 2019)