South West Trains says goodbye to one of its longest-serving employees

South West Trains has said goodbye to one of its most experienced train drivers, who has retired after working in the rail industry for five decades.

Steve Anderson, a driver based at Salisbury, retired after 50 years of service on the last day of 2010 (Friday 31 December).

Back in 1961 when Steve joined British Rail, John F Kennedy was inaugurated as US president and the Berlin wall was built. In the same year, the first automatic level crossing in the UK was installed in Spath, Staffordshire.

Steve started his career on the railways at 15 as an engine cleaner at Salisbury, when steam engines still ruled. Steve was quickly promoted andas soon as he hit the age of 16 in 1962, he became a fireman.

south west train driver 1969
Steve Anderson in 1969

Following his childhood dream of becoming a driver, Steve then trained as a driver and qualified in 1969. He took up his first job as a driver at Crystal Palace. He subsequently worked as a driver at Selhurst, Swanley and Orpington before moving to Salisbury in 1982 where he has worked and lived ever since.

Jan Chaudhry, Operations Director for South West Trains said: “We are very fortunate at South West Trains to have so many staff who have stayed with us for so long and who can draw on many years of experience on the railways. Over the years the rail industry has seen many changes, and it’s still changing now. But one factor that I believe has remained a constant for companies like South West Trains is the dedication and professionalism of staff who are part of the ‘railway family’.

“I would like to thank Steve for his exemplary service and wish him a long, happy and healthy retirement.”

Steve Anderson said: “Since I was a little boy, I have wanted to become a train driver. I have really enjoyed my time driving trains, especially steam trains, and the proudest moment of my career was when I became a train driver back in 1969.

“Compared with when I started in the industry 50 years ago, the trains used today offer much more comfort and safety, both for the driver and its passengers. However one thing remains the same; people of all ages carry on waving at me when I drive past a road or bridge.”

Steve’s last train arrived back at Salisbury depot in the first hour of the New Year – at 00.42 on 1st January. With two sons also drivers at South West Trains, the story will continue.

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