Like father like son for city railwayman who retires after almost 50 years

Gary Strange. Pic submitted. Gary Strange. Pic submitted.

Peter Walsh peter.walsh@archant.co.uk
Wednesday, December 25, 2013
9:36 PM

It has been a case of following in his father’s train tracks for a senior conductor who has retired after clocking up almost 50 years of service on the railways.

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Gary Strange hung up his Greater Anglia ticket collecting machine when he reached his 65th birthday, celebrating more than 48 years of dedicated service.

He was inspired to join the railway by his late father Geoffrey, a signalman in the Norwich area who served with British Rail for 45 years – meaning that between them the pair devoted more than 90 years of their lives to keeping passengers on the right track.

Mr Strange said: “I was interested in the railways right from when I was a boy. I wasn’t a trainspotter, but was just interested.

“My father was a railwayman; it was like father like son and he would have been proud.”

Mr Strange joined the railway in 1965, working as a messenger boy at Norwich station.

In 1968 he became a guard, working on a variety of services across the East of England including passenger, freight, mail and newspaper trains. Once he even found a white rabbit hopping around his guard’s van.

In more recent years he has worked as a senior conductor on intercity train services on the Great Eastern mainline and rural services in Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex.

He said: “It was an interesting career. The passengers were always good as gold, they really were. I will miss it, but the biggest miss is going to be my work colleagues – the people I’ve worked with for so long.” A presentation was made to Mr Strange at Norwich station in recognition of his contribution to the railway by Greater Anglia’s operations manager John Bellchamber and conductor manager James Oakley.

Mr Bellchamber said: “Gary is a familiar figure on the railway in East Anglia and a much valued member of our team. We will miss Gary; the railway won’t be quite the same without him. We wish him a very happy retirement.”

During his retirement Mr Strange, who lives in Thorpe St Andrew, said he wants to continue to pursue his interest in heritage railways and photography.

The end of Mr Strange’s service comes just a year after the retirement of his former colleague, Chas Bellchamber, who spent 61 years working on the railways.

Have you worked at the same firm for a number of years? Call EDP reporter Peter Walsh on 01603 772436 or email peter.walsh@archant.co.uk

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