On Sunday 9th December 2012 GWSR steam locomotive crew member Tom Couling completed his last official turn of duty as fireman on 8F locomotive 45160 after approx 28 years of service on the footplate. Tom joined the GWSR in the very early years and at first was an active member of the Permanent Way Department helping to lay the first track work at Toddington, in preparation for the railway running its first passenger trains.
Tom soon became involved in the steam locomotive department and is one of the few original members to begin training to crew the locomotives ready for the first public services. Like many other members of the department Tom has worked on the rebuilds of locomotives Peckett 1976, 15” Hunslet “King George” and the overhaul of 16” Hunslet “Robert Nelson No 4”. He has also been involved in the building of the first locomotive inspection pit and erection of the original water tower at Toddington. All in all Tom is a pioneer of the railway's Steam Locomotive department and hopefully will continue to be active within the dept for many years to come, indeed, he is currently working on the restoration of the NRM’s 4F locomotive regularly attending on the Wednesday work days.
In addition to the GWSR Tom is involved in “Classic Bus” Restoration and is a member of the Gloucester Model Railway Club, having built countless models over the years.
As a thank you for his many years of footplate service, the department presented him with an inscribed book on the subject of model railways and some of his fellow department members and friends joined him at Winchcombe station in a celebratory drink (Apple Juice – as he was still on duty at the time) and a sticky doughnut.
|Tom Couling & Andy Meredith|
Thank you once again Tom, you will always be welcome on the footplate.