Long-distance volunteer is a Bluebell and KESR regular

Steam enthusiast John Bryant must be the country’s most dedicated heritage railway volunteer. For the 62-year-old retired university lecturer is a regular fireman on the Bluebell and Kent & East Sussex railways despite the minor obstacle of living 3300 miles away in the Canadian capital Ottawa.

Fired up and ready to go: Long-distant volunteer John Bryant with A1X ‘Terrier’ 0-6-0T No. 32670 during a visit to the Kent & East Sussex Railway on September 11. IAN SCARLETT
Fired up and ready to go: Long-distant volunteer John Bryant with A1X ‘Terrier’ 0-6-0T No. 32670 during a visit to the Kent & East Sussex Railway on September 11. IAN SCARLETT

Speaking to Heritage Railway during his latest volunteer turns on the KESR at the beginning of September, John, who was born in Preston but emigrated to Canada with his family at the age of seven, explained how his love of steam developed from a very early age.

“My father, who was an accomplished modeller, had an interest in all things railway. Our house was full of railway books, and as one might expect most were related to the UK. The old Highland Railway was a particular favourite of dad’s, and for a long time we had an HR signal finial at the foot of the stairs.

Read more in the latest issue of HR

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