Interview about working as a fireman and driver in Bletchley from 1955 to 1970.
David Gommon saw the railways as a job for life. He recalls some of the old working practices in 1947, such as wages coming in a ‘little mustard tin’ and gives his reaction to nationalisation and the move to diesel and electric engines. For him as a driver, the diesel had advantages: it was more comfortable and gave better vision of the tracks. But he regretted the staff reductions and move to single manning. Discussing life as a driver, he describes how drivers had to gain the knowledge of the routes, first as firemen, and more formally as drivers. He talks of selection of drivers to drive the Royal Train. In his opinion, the Unions were ‘no use at all really’ in improving pay rates; the 1955 rail strike gained drivers only sixpence a week. He remembers particular driving jobs during his career such as a drive to Yarnton pulling a thousand tons of ironstone at a fast speed when he was anxious to get home to go out in the evening.