Dennis Robinson started work at Lower Darwen shed (coded 24D) on December 27, 1961 as a cleaner aged 15. He carried on with footplate work and retired in December 2011 after completing a 50 year career ending up at Manchester Longsight depot as a Cross-Country Voyager driver.
Within a month of retiring, he joined West Coast Railways as a diesel driver and following the revised operational requirements agreed with ORR this year, is back on steam as the second driver.
The chance to reunite Dennis, thought to be the last 24D member of staff remaining in railway employment, with one of his former engines was made possible by suitable rostering arrangements being made.
North Norfolk Railway-based BR Standard 4MT No. 76084, built at Horwich in March 1957 and now under 76084 Locomotive Company Ltd ownership, has just returned to main line service. It went to Carnforth on September 19 with a support coach in preparation for its loaded test run the following day on the Hellifield circuit.
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