S&T staff at Welwyn Garden City circa 1970-74

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Mickey

S&T staff at Welwyn Garden City circa 1970-74

Post by Mickey » Fri Dec 27, 2013 5:20 pm

A bit of a long shot but i was wondering if anyone remembers any of the Welwyn Garden City S&T gang from the 1970-74 period although several of them would have no doubt been S&T linesmen at Welwyn Garden City during the 1960s as well i am fairly certain of that and any of there names?.

There was maybe 3 main linesmen or technicians as they are called nowadays with 3 or maybe 4 junior linesmen assisting, all the men were based in a prefab building next to the old railway buildings just opposite the s/box on the Up side of the main running lines and the Hertford branch & sidings.

The area they usually covered was south to Hatfield (or maybe a bit further south to Marshmoor s/box?) and north to Langley Junction s/box and including everything in between Welwyn Garden City, Welwyn north, Woolmer Green & Knebworth.

40+ years on i can still see several of there faces in my minds eye but i can't recall any of there names although one of the main older linesmen had dark hair and another of the older linesmen had sandy coloured hair i think and both men usually wore blue working overalls all the time and would have been aged in there mid 40s with the other junior linesmen all probably aged in there early/mid 20s in the early 1970s i would say?.

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Re: S&T staff at Welwyn Garden City circa 1970-74

Post by StevieG » Fri Dec 27, 2013 10:04 pm

Don't think I knew any based at WGC Micky, so I might perhaps be thinking of staff based at Potters but who were at some time seen at WGC, and then also of a couple of years earlier : Names Tony Cato and Peter Graham prompt any of your 'leetle grey cells'?
BZOH

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Mickey

Re: S&T staff at Welwyn Garden City circa 1970-74

Post by Mickey » Sat Dec 28, 2013 7:26 am

StevieG wrote:Don't think I knew any based at WGC Micky, so I might perhaps be thinking of staff based at Potters but who were at some time seen at WGC, and then also of a couple of years earlier : Names Tony Cato and Peter Graham prompt any of your 'leetle grey cells'?
Thats the fella with the dark hair Stevie, Tony Cato thats a name from the dim & distant past!. Tony had a slight Greek or Italian look about him i thought and if he's still alive he would be somewhere up in his 80s i would say. After writing this post the name Tony started to appear in my mind, it's amazing what lurks in the back of your mind 40+ years later if you really try hard to recall a name or something.

When i was at WGC between 1972-74 the S&T had relocated to WGC as previously posted and were using a prefab building next to the old railway buildings opposite the s/box on the Up side of the running lines as a messroom.

Sorting out S&T faults in the days of mechanical signalling-

1.Get the meter on it and take a reading.

2.If it don't work hit it hard with a hammer!!.

You are now halfway to becoming a S&T linesman. :wink:

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Re: S&T staff at Welwyn Garden City circa 1970-74

Post by Dave Cockle » Fri Jan 03, 2014 3:01 pm

I don't the recall the S & T linesmen at Welwyn GC. But on the Hertford Loop we had Tim O'Connel and Norman Patterden based at Gordon Hill. They were originally based at Hertford North in a hut on the downside between the signal box and bay but moved up to Gordon Hill in the mid sixties after the branches from Hertford closed. Their accommodation at Gordon Hill was a LNER concrete P'way hut situated on the downside opposite the signal box. The move suited Tim as he lived at Tottenham and less travelling time to work and the gain of London allowance. Norman lived at Hertford so the short journev up to Gordon Hill was more than compensated by the gain of London allowance. I believe the S&T staff's boss was Les Armitage who was based at Hitchin.

I understand that Tim O'Connors son followed dad's footsteps and now has a managerial/supervisory job on the S&T with Network Rail.

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Re: S&T staff at Welwyn Garden City circa 1970-74

Post by StevieG » Fri Jan 03, 2014 9:23 pm

A good namecheck recall there Dave.
I now remember Les (seemingly referred to when he wasn't present, as 'Tizzy' for a reason unknown to me) calling in at Enfield Chase box one afternoon when I was there in the company of Rlf.Sig. Reg Roberts.
BZOH

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Mickey

Re: S&T staff at Welwyn Garden City circa 1970-74

Post by Mickey » Sat Jan 04, 2014 10:59 am

Dave Cockle wrote:I believe the S&T staff's boss was Les Armitage who was based at Hitchin.
The name Les Armitage rings a vague bell from 40+ years ago.

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Re: S&T staff at Welwyn Garden City circa 1970-74

Post by trainspotter1948 » Sat Jan 04, 2014 12:54 pm

After writing this post the name Tony started to appear in my mind, it's amazing what lurks in the back of your mind 40+ years later if you really try hard to recall a name or something.
Reading this thread, I too have gone back (50 years this time). I used to play cricket and tennis at Gordon Hill with my parents, and there was a path that ran alongside the fence to the railway line and it had a gate halfway up the hill. If we had spent to long in the bar to catch our train home to Hornsey, we used to nip through it and up onto the platform to save going all the way up the hill and through the station buildings. I think the gate was there for the signalman to gain access. I once used it when I was a bit older and travelled on my own, only to be shouted at by an 'official.'

Happy days.

Mickey

Re: S&T staff at Welwyn Garden City circa 1970-74

Post by Mickey » Sun Jan 05, 2014 7:42 am

Funny that you should mention the Gordon Hill cricket field trainspotter because i remember seeing it just to the south of Gordon Hill station several times when travelling over the branch although to be honest i rarely ventured around the Hertford branch to much always preferring the main line myself.

Dave & Stevie you both imply that the WGC linesmen wern't infact based at WGC?. I thought they was unless i'm wrong?. I thought as previously posted that they were located in a portacabin type building next to the old railway bildings on the Up side of the running lines from mid-1972 onwards anway?.

Again i mite be wrong but i have a vague feeling that they use to cover around the Hertford branch during the night time (22:00-06:00hrs?) although i don't know how far south they covered from Langley Junction maybe just to Gordon Hill or maybe all the way to Bounds Green s/box?.

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Re: S&T staff at Welwyn Garden City circa 1970-74

Post by StevieG » Sun Jan 05, 2014 7:32 pm

Micky wrote: " .... Dave & Stevie you both imply that the WGC linesmen wern't infact based at WGC?. I thought they was unless i'm wrong?. I thought as previously posted that they were located in a portacabin type building next to the old railway bildings on the Up side of the running lines from mid-1972 onwards anway?.

Again i mite be wrong but i have a vague feeling that they use to cover around the Hertford branch during the night time (22:00-06:00hrs?) although i don't know how far south they covered from Langley Junction maybe just to Gordon Hill or maybe all the way to Bounds Green s/box?. "
.... - Your interpretation I think Micky.
All I meant was, as a frequent 'visitor' here and there rather than working every day anywhere in the area, I didn't know anyone based at WGC; not saying that no-one was based there.
And I mentioned Tony, and Peter Graham, as people I knew (from previously meeting them in the N.Barnet area), and who I was either sure, or I thought, I had seen at WGC during the late '60s, but believed that those individuals were based at Potters Bar at the time (Peter certainly was in that period: I remember once spending a while with him and colleagues there one day, in their single storey building on the cess side of the Up Slow, opposite the platform and next to the box's relay room).
I don't really know whether there were S&T based at WGC then, or later during your time working there (though it would seem a likely place to have a gang) : It probably depended on the allocated area of each gang, and they might've been based at wherever was judged a fairly important place roughly central in their designated area :
And how many gangs there were and where they were based could have been changed during those years.
BZOH

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Mickey

Re: S&T staff at Welwyn Garden City circa 1970-74

Post by Mickey » Mon Jan 06, 2014 3:44 pm

There is a S&T man still on the job that i met on several occasions over the last 15 years called Peter Girdlestone who started at Hitchin in 1975 and who remembers mechanical signalling at Hitchin and visiting all the existing s/boxes from Hitchin south northwards to Sandy. Peter was a S&T linesman on the G.N. for a number of years from the mid-1970s onwards through to the 1990s and he told me that he remembers Tony Cato who apparently moved north to Hitchin from WGC sometime during the mid/late 1970s then moved further north to Peterborough before he retired from the railway a good 20 years ago or maybe more?.

Peter also confirmed that when he started at Hitchin in 1975 there was a S&T gang based at WGC on the Down side of the running lines in the Down electric sidings although the S&T 'messroom portacabin' that was located on the Up side of the running lines circa 1972, 73 & 74 he told me was before his time and he doesn't remember it. Peter also he gave me a number of other S&T linesmen's names who had all been around since the beginning of the 1970s at WGC those being Chris Jean (or Gene?), Peter Cockron, Graham Hyde (or Hide?) and Barry Nicoles, the last three names Peter Cockron, Graham Hyde & Barry Nicoles ring vague bells for me 40+ plus years on??.

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Re: S&T staff at Welwyn Garden City circa 1970-74

Post by S&T » Wed Oct 08, 2014 4:46 pm

New to LNER forum. I have some fond memories of my S&T time and fellow staff. I lived at Potters Bar and worked all along the line from KX to Peterborough.

I was S&T on the line from 1982 to 1990. Started as a Trainee Technician based at Finsbury Park. Then technician (signalling) at Finsbury Park, then technician (signalling) at Welwyn Garden City which, if I recall correctly was only a two shift rota then instead of normal three shift. WGC was finally closed as a S&T base and I switched to the telecoms side. Then Senior Technician at Kings Cross, then Technician Officer at Hitchin and then back to Kings Cross.

Perhaps my time was a little bit later than the original subject, but I recall some of the names listed in the previous posts. Peter Graham was at Kings Cross....a very nice man. Remember Tim O'Connel (or O'Conners?) and his son. Vaguely Tony Kato. Mick Mangan was at KX I think. Others that were probably ex linesman and were at KX in the telecoms dept that I can recall were Fred Joslin and Reg Freer, both real gents. Telecoms supervisor was Bill Smith....think he may have emigrated to Canada. Clive Brown (cable joiner - later telecoms), Nick Johnson (cable joiner), Steve Leyton, Norman Gayle, Tony Garner (all telecoms). Winston Francois.

Feels like a long time ago. As a young technician learning the ropes, these chaps had a wealth of knowledge and were a pleasure to work with.

Wish them all well wherever they may be now.

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Re: S&T staff at Welwyn Garden City circa 1970-74

Post by StevieG » Fri Oct 10, 2014 1:45 am

Thanks S&T ; good to know of another bunch of good chaps from times gone by, though I don't recognise any names other than the couple I mentioned before ; except Bill Smith being Telecomms. at KX, as I was asst. supervisor on the box's top floor from '79, and Area Supervisor there, '81 - '89.

Micky, somehow I missed taking in your months ago mention of Peter Girdlestone : In 1969 I knew a Harry Girdlestone, in his 50s I should think, an assistant locking fitter at Willesden S&T depot ; wonder if they were related (don't expect you to know though).
BZOH

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Re: S&T staff at Welwyn Garden City circa 1970-74

Post by Mickey » Fri Oct 10, 2014 7:24 am

StevieG wrote:Micky, somehow I missed taking in your months ago mention of Peter Girdlestone : In 1969 I knew a Harry Girdlestone, in his 50s I should think, an assistant locking fitter at Willesden S&T depot ; wonder if they were related (don't expect you to know though).
I'll try and check it out Stevie i havan't seen Peter Girdlestone for maybe a couple of years but i have spoken to him in fairly recent months on the phone so he's still around somewhere.

Mickey

Re: S&T staff at Welwyn Garden City circa 1970-74

Post by Mickey » Mon Nov 10, 2014 1:51 pm

S&T wrote:New to LNER forum. I have some fond memories of my S&T time and fellow staff. I lived at Potters Bar and worked all along the line from KX to Peterborough.

I was S&T on the line from 1982 to 1990. Started as a Trainee Technician based at Finsbury Park. Then technician (signalling) at Finsbury Park, then technician (signalling) at Welwyn Garden City which, if I recall correctly was only a two shift rota then instead of normal three shift. WGC was finally closed as a S&T base and I switched to the telecoms side. Then Senior Technician at Kings Cross, then Technician Officer at Hitchin and then back to Kings Cross.

Perhaps my time was a little bit later than the original subject, but I recall some of the names listed in the previous posts. Peter Graham was at Kings Cross....a very nice man. Remember Tim O'Connel (or O'Conners?) and his son. Vaguely Tony Kato. Mick Mangan was at KX I think. Others that were probably ex linesman and were at KX in the telecoms dept that I can recall were Fred Joslin and Reg Freer, both real gents. Telecoms supervisor was Bill Smith....think he may have emigrated to Canada. Clive Brown (cable joiner - later telecoms), Nick Johnson (cable joiner), Steve Leyton, Norman Gayle, Tony Garner (all telecoms). Winston Francois.

Feels like a long time ago. As a young technician learning the ropes, these chaps had a wealth of knowledge and were a pleasure to work with.

Wish them all well wherever they may be now.
S&T. Peter Girdlestone a S&T bloke aged about 60 and is on the North London line and who started at Hitchin in 1975 read your post and recognised most of those names you mentioned.

No Stevie Peter Girdlestone isn't related to Harry Girdlestone a onetime Locking fitter at Willesden in 1969 (or atleast he doesn't think he is?) Peter visited the box and i showed him your post.

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Re: S&T staff at Welwyn Garden City circa 1970-74

Post by laurie1951 » Tue Apr 30, 2019 7:10 pm

hi Mickey ,
As always on these forums i see threads which really bring back so many memories of my youth as a telegraph lad at new Barnet North.i have just spent an interesting couple of hours reading about new barnet north and also many names there . I recall very well Tony Cato , i am almost sure he was of italian decent , was a ok Guy but did have a sharp side of him if one said the wrong thing. But he was a jovial , jokey sort of guy and quite a shortish man . I am almost sure that someone told me that Tony had passed away suddenly from a heart attack some years ago whilst still at work . Of course that info could be wrong , but i think it fairly reliable . Peter Grahame was really nice guy i recall , very technical sort of guy and i would say he was a technical guy quite serious but very nice. I also think he must be long passed on .
At potters bar two names i recall in signalling were Arthur Fowler Brian Barr used to call him Foxy fowler . He had a telegraph lad/man who was actually a medically reserved guy called Stan i think , again two nice guys . Also comes to mind a signalman called George Green who spent his time on the Hertford Loop as Rlf . Signalman , In fact he only ever came onto mainline training on a bit overtime . bit of a crafty guy but very nice and jovial .
Hey ho the mists of time roll on but its great to see all the old names . I must make an effort and come along to the Hatfield Get togethers that i believe Brian Barr and dave tilbury go to .

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