Interview about railway apprenticeships, the jobs of fitter and electrician, the Breakdown Gang, and changes to the railways.
Mel Figg first describes railway apprenticeships, which in his opinion were very thorough and varied. He describes aspects of his job as a fitter on steam engines, and compares steam and diesel. The new electrical engine depot opened in Bletchley in 1966 and he recalls some suspicion at that stage of the ‘cockney’ arrivals in Bletchley. Working on the Breakdown Gang, which was called out to deal with problems: ‘shift times just went out of the window’, but it was a challenge. He remembers some major derailments, and methods used by the Gang. In 1979 he became the Supervisor responsible for maintenance of all the diesels at Bletchley. Talking of changes on the railway, he considers that the effect on the staff of privatisation to Network South East was much more significant than the earlier transfer from London, Midland and Scottish Rail to British Rail. He concludes: ‘But at the end of the day the railway has always been good to me.’