Kenny Middlemist has finally decided it’s time to hang up his overalls, 60 years after he started out as a steam locomotive firefighter.
Later a train conductor, Mr. Middlemist has been a volunteer on the Aln Valley Railway since its inception.
And he is also the only driver to have also worked on the original line, between Alnwick and Alnmouth.
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Michael Proctor, Chairman of the Aln Valley Railway Trustees, said, “We are very grateful to Kenny for all that he has contributed to the Aln Valley Railway over the years. last 25 years.
“Although he has decided to retire as a driver and firefighter, we are delighted that he is still involved in the gardening and maintenance work of the site as well as sharing his vast knowledge of locomotives with steam with current trainees.
“He will also continue to share his many stories and anecdotes with volunteers and visitors. »
Originally trained as a firefighter in Alnmouth, Mr Middlemist spent four and a half years working on steam locomotives, before moving to Whittle Colliery in 1969 to become a shunter and short-term firefighter.
But when the driver on the “long run” to the East Coast Main Line pulled out to move into the vacant cabin.
He held the job for 16 years, first driving steam locomotives, before switching to diesel-powered trains, until the mine closed in 1987 and insists he “enjoyed every minute “.