Book Shelf

WITH SO MANY BOOKS treating the technical and historical aspects of railways,
it is refreshing to encounter one that focuses on that often forgotten subject, the human element.
The author is well known to regulars at Havenstreet, being a Duty Officer and a Signalman,
as well as having recently stepped down from the position of Health and Safety Officer.
This book tells the story of Pat's career on the Southern Region, mainly in the south west London area, and is a lively and candid account.
In February 1956 Pat took the job of Junior Parcels Porter at Ascot, a station to which he was to return
on several occasions during his career. As was usual in those days, any lad aspiring to greater things
could also learn another job on the railway under the tutelage of 'an old hand' and so Pat became familiar
with booking office work. By 1959 he had become a Porter Coupler and even covered for the Station Foreman's leave.
After a period of National Service there were spells as a Station Foreman and working at a full loads department.
Revenue protection, Assistant Station Master, Guards' Inspector and then Relief SM were duties carried out during a period which saw much reorganisation and redundancy on the railway. Pat also enhanced his skills by studying safety management.

Promotion to Operations Manager came in the 1990s and when the railways were privatised he moved to being Assistant Zone Controller at Friars Bridge, London.
Yet another restructuring saw Pat take early retirement in 1996, completing 40 years' service, after which he has clocked up over ten more on the IWSR: 'for me the wheel has turned full circle as I returned to the glorious age of steam'.
The book is engagingly written and is full of anecdotes but, as is the way with Pat, each story he tells you has some relevance or point to make and the reader can learn a great deal about how the railway functioned, the mistakes made, the lessons learned and the good times as well.

Note: Pat published this book privately in 2012 with a print run of 20 copies.

Subsequently there was a further print run of 70 copies but stocks are diminishing rapidly and they are available at £8.95 per copy only from the shop at Havenstreet.



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