End of track in sight for train driver Will
A TRAIN driver who has clocked up 50 years and travelled hundreds of thousands of miles in the same job says the decades have been blissfully "uneventful" and that retirement beckons.
Will Goldthorp, 65, toasted five decades' service at a surprise party thrown by work mates on August 7.
The Plympton dad of two, who retires next August, said: "It was a nice surprise and nice to have some respect after 50 years!"
Colleague Jim Meakin, 51, said serving half a century was a "feat" no one else in the team could match.
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"We're lucky to have someone with such experience and competence.
"He's a valued member of the team with a good sense of humour."
Five decades ago Will, known as Bill to colleagues, started work with British Rail the day before his 15th birthday.
He was an engine cleaner before becoming an assistant driver, and finally a high-speed driver and a trainer.
Having grown up and started work in Hitchin, Hertfordshire, he moved to Plymouth with First Great Western in 1989.
Of his long career the 65-year-old said: "It just happened, really.
"In those days when you got into a job you didn't leave."
Highlights included training new drivers, the "banter" between colleagues and the "lucky" avoidance of any fatalities.
Will said: "Over the years there have been little incidents but it's been quite uneventful really. I consider myself lucky that there have been no fatalities, especially since for some people I know they've been in double figures."
Looking back on a career spent hurtling to London Paddington and back on a daily basis, Will reflected: "I was worried I'd be bored in my retirement.
"But I think I've got to the point where I'm ready to go now." Will is due a long-service award.