In Memory of...
This Page is to recognise both personal friends as well as enthusiasts who I may not have personally known but whose railtour information has boosted the resource that this Website has become.
1948 - 2000
Although I'd met Alan Bradley on a number of occasions on railtours and at other events, I am indebted to David Russell for providing these words :
I am sure that the news of the sudden death of Alan Bradley on May 28th 2000 was a great shock to all who knew him.
Alan had been interested in railways since his childhood when he grew up in Knaresborough, and could recall times he spent as a teenager camping alongside the East Coast Main Line at Pilmoor. During the 1970's, Alan worked in the offices of West Yorkshire bus company at Harrogate, and moved house to Shipley with his mother. During the 1980's, Alan left the bus company to take up some voluntary preaching work in connection with his faith in Norway. I suspect I was one of only a few of his railway friends who knew of his connections with the church - Alan's life was very much split into different compartments which tended not to overlap.
After a few years, Alan returned to the UK and after a year or so in the south with his religious work moved back to Shipley. He soon gained a job with the Bradford & Bingley Building Society, but had his eyes on a job in the transport industry. Eventually, he got a job as a conductor for Regional Railways North East (as it was known then), based at Skipton. I'm pretty sure Alan's appointment on the railway was helped by the success of the Skipton 150 celebrations which he organised, with full co-operation of RRNE management. Alan had been at work on the morning of May 27th, just a few hours before he was rushed into hospital, conducting Class 308's. Alan enjoyed his work immensely, and those of you who came across him in his work will know that he was an extremely desperate gripper! Alan took great pleasure in chinging the school kids who normally managed to get away without paying, or passengers with out of date season tickets. I doubt whether the school kids dare argue with a 6' 8" gripper bearing down on them!
Alan also spent several recent years as a volunteer on the Keighley & Worth Valley Railway, carrying out various duties such as ticket checking/issuing (he was desperate on the KWVR too!), guarding and helping in the shop at Haworth. He even dressed up as a Christmas Tree, complete with decorations and flashing lights, during the Santa specials! Recently, he had been busy at Oakworth helping carry out station maintenance. Alan also helped organise a successful low-key diesel gala several years ago, which showed the lines management that there was an interest in modern traction, paving the way for the more "exotic" events which have taken place on the railway in recent years. I know Alan had been looking forward to this years event too, particularly as he had recently moved to a house overlooking the line near Damems and would have been able to point out his new house to all his bashing friends.
Alan's religion and the KWVR were not the only voluntary organisations he was involved in. He was an active member of the Aire Valley Rail Users Group, under which he arranged the highly successful Skipton 150 event and Rylstone shuttles in 1997. He also made railtour bookings on behalf of the group (earning a commission for AVRUG) and at one time was a member of their committee, produced the groups newsletter. Prior to his recent house move, Alan lived at Wrose, an area of Shipley and had been a member of the Wrose Carnival Committee which arranged an annual event.
On top of all these activities, Alan also found time to write the railtour column for Rail Express magazine. I know several of the railtour operators who Alan often travelled with or spoke to were shocked and saddened to hear of his death. Alan had known Murray Brown (co-editor of RE) for many years, as they both went to Knaresborough Grammar School with my dad.
Alan was an active enthusiast and made regular appearances on railtours and at diesel galas and open days, as well as enjoying days out on lines such as the North Wales Coast and the occasional all line rover. He went to Crewe Works on May 20th and later joined me and several others on the Pathfinder mini tour to Chester and Warrington. Little did we know that this would be Alan's last tour, it was also the last time that I saw him.
Although Alan never drank, he had a good sense of humour and enjoyed sitting in the company of the "fat boys" on railtours, joining in the lighthearted banter which took place. Alan kept meticulous computerised records of all his railway journeys, not just locos and units but right down to rail replacement buses, and taxis provided by the railway! One many occasions, people would attempt wind him up about these moves, which he carried about in an A4 binder. In return, Alan would wither people by turning the pages until it reached details of his haulages behind two Class 28 "CoBo's" , a Class 29 to Fort William, DP2 and other exotic locos! I'm pretty sure Alan was proud of his haulage records, and I was rather pleased to be able to save his file from the dustbin.
Just like the Class 308 units he used to guard, Alan's funeral was a "full and standing" event, as people from all the different segments of Alan's life gathered together to pay their respects. Alan was buried at Nab Wood Cemetery, which is adjacent to the railway line between Saltaire and Bingley. During the funeral, a Class 308 passed with its horns blaring, something arranged by Northern Spirit I am sure. I found this quite moving, and I know Alan would have approved of it.
Alan often commented to me that it was the people and characters involved which made our hobby as much fun as it is. Alan was one of those characters himself, and he will be missed by all those who knew him.
???? - 12th March 2016
Although I never personally met John Broderick, nor even had direct contact with him (but through a colleague of his with computer access), I am indebted to John for having the foresight in his latter years to make provision in his will that his railtour information be eventually passed to me. John kept meticulous timing notes and retained the tour itineraries and ticket for all the tours he went on, from the early 1960's right through until well into the 2000's. Due to John's failing health I actually took his railtour collection into my care in May 2015 and have already invested a significant number of hours transposing new information onto Six Bells Junction, being maybe a quarter the way through at the time of writing this (April 2016).
I am also indebted to his circle of acquaintances who themselves are very dedicated to preserving as far as practical our railway history and assisted me greatly by taking initial possession of his railtour information, as well as his photographic collection, which I plan to also review as the railtours he went on/saw feature in the collection.
2nd April 2016
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