Steam driver Jeff takes his last turn after 65 years

FORMER BR driver Jeff Madge has taken his last turn on the footplate on the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway – after 65 years in the rail industry.

Jeff, who lives in Caerphilly, joined Cardiff Canton depot in August 1952 aged just 15, the following year moving to Old Oak Common in London, where he passed out as a fireman.

Jeff Madge in charge on the footplate of GWR 2-8-0 No. 2807. MALCOLM RANIERI

He worked his way up the ranks, and then returned to Cardiff, where he became a passed fireman.

He said: “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 GW/R 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 125s (HSTs), and retired in 1983.

“But railways – and especially steam – ‘gets into your blood’ and I decided to take an interest in the then embryonic GW/R at Toddington.

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