Welwyn Garden City railman from Lower Stondon honoured by rail company for 40 years of service

PUBLISHED: 08:20 27 November 2019

Bob Hart lives in Lower Stondon and works at Welwyn Garden City Train Station. Picture: Govia.

Bob Hart lives in Lower Stondon and works at Welwyn Garden City Train Station. Picture: Govia.

Archant

A Lower Stondon lifelong rail enthusiast, who began trainspotting when he was 11, has been honoured for his service to Welwyn Garden City station.

Bob Hart lives in Lower Stondon and works at Welwyn Garden City Train Station. Picture: Govia. Bob Hart lives in Lower Stondon and works at Welwyn Garden City Train Station. Picture: Govia.

Bob Hart left school at 15 and became a qualified electrician before being drawn to the railway in 1979 at the age of 21.

His 40-year career began at King's Cross and Finsbury Park as a traction trainee.

"They were fabulous days. Back then it was still diesel-hauled trains and the still-new Great Northern electric 312s and just recently withdrawn 313s," Bob said.

"We worked sleeper trains, freights, Royal Mail, Red Star and newspaper services, as well as the famous bullion runs and royal train duties."

After this spell in the driving seat - but not as a fully qualified driver - the 61-year-old said he took up a platform-based role at King's Cross, where he was involved in loading and unloading parcels from transporting company Red Star, Royal Mail and newspaper services, train dispatch and a variety of passenger assistance roles.

About eight months later, Bob transferred to Stevenage as a leading railman with similar duties.

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He unloaded newspapers and other deliveries between 3am and 4am during all weathers and cleared snow during the winter.

Bob has lived through the times of whistle and flag dispatch, as well as the days of Network SouthEast followed by West Anglia Great Northern.

In 2001 he relocated to Welwyn Garden City where he continues in his platform-based role.

"Welwyn Garden City is a lovely olde worlde station," Bob said "It has always been very busy. Regular passengers know my face and I've got to know them well as great characters too."

Bob said it was an honour to receive and award from Govia Thameslink Railway.

"I've always believed that working on the railway was a way of life and it was a great gesture to have this recognised."

Bob has noticed over the years an increase in female drivers in the cabs of Great Northern and Thameslink trains. He said: "There are a lot more ladies driving trains now than ever before, It's amazing. I do admire them."

With possibly as few as 15 months until retirement, Bob is now looking forward to resuming work on his model railways.

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