April 1964

In which I continue work as a Management Trainee on British Railways.

I am at Paddington Goods for three weeks.  Management had to get LDC permission to let me go there.  I managed to achieve a somewhat dubious first, in that I was the first trainee to be allowed into Paddington Goods.  Before being actually allowed to enter the Shed proper I was introduced to Mr. Iron.  Mr. Iron was the appropriately named union boss who ran the place, although he was in fact retired. The union had very tight control over the station and I was convinced that my every move was watched and duly noted.

The shunting by capstan was interesting if not a little dangerous.

From Padington Goods I moved on to Old Oak Common to get some experience on diesel locomotives.  The least said about Old Oak the better. It was trying to service both steam and diesel locomotives and failing miserably at both. Steam maintenance suffered from a lack of spares while diesels suffered from a lack of knowledge. It was around this time that a long time steam fitter had changed a diesel fuel injector with a mallet. An examination of the driver's report books on the diesels was very revealing and extremely distressing. There would be the comment;
"... cuts out at 50 mph."
Against which the fitter would put;
"Tested on shed no fault found"
and the locomotive would be released to traffic. The report books would show the same fault cropping up for weeks on end. The steam engines were no better. On one occasion a steam engine was booked for a regular diesel turn knowing full well that it would not steam. It lost 30 minutes on a down commuter run between Paddington and Reading.

There was one week at the end of the month on a Finance Course at New Lodge, Windsor.

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