Updated: 12 October 2021
Bluebell Railway Directors
Geoff began his railway career as an engineering student on British Rail’s Southern division in 1971. He was the last graduate engineer taken on in the Southern region. His initial training was at Selhurst and he also worked at Eastleigh Works, Derby and around the country.
His managerial career included commissioning the 4VEP and he was Managing Director for Network South East’s South East Division. He wrote the timetable for the opening of the Channel Tunnel. He later became the privatisation director for the British Railways Board and, after privatisation, was the Managing Director of Connex Rail.
Geoff has also been an adviser to Transport for London, deputy chief executive of Qatar rail and has been a railway management consultant since 2012.
He first visited the Bluebell Railway in 1971 and is now a life member.
I am a journalist and broadcaster with 35 years’ experience working for local, regional, national and international news organisations spanning print, agency, broadcast, online, digital and social media. I am currently a freelance writer, blogger and lecturer having left my role as an editor at Sky News in 2019.
My involvement with the Bluebell goes back more than 20 years and I have been a visitor, member and volunteer. I am a museum steward and education guide.
I am also an award-winning magician and successfully passed the audition to become a member of the world-famous Magic Circle.
David studied and passed his accounting exams whilst working for London Transport in the 1980s. David then worked in the print industry in various accounting roles before moving to work for a membership charity in 2005 ending up as Director of Finance and Corporate Services.
David is currently Head of Finance and Operations for the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries having been in that role since 2011. Outside of work David is a Board Trustee and Hon Treasurer of PACEY, an early years charity based in Bromley and he is also a Rotarian. David lives in West Wickham with his wife and daughter, a flock of chickens, assorted rabbits and guinea pigs and two cats.
A Bluebell life member and volunteer for 41 years. Married with two adult daughters and one grandchild.
A career railwayman with 41 years’ service starting in the British Rail southern region Civil Engineers department upon graduation in 1979.
Currently employed as an operational safety advisor to one of Network Rail’s key engineering suppliers.
I joined London Transport in 1979 after working for Barclays Bank for three-and-a-half years as an apprentice Groundsman. I joined as a Railman later becoming a Leading Railman, Signalman then Station Foreman until 1987. I then became a Railway Instructor at White City Railway Training Centre. In 1994 I became a Duty Train Manager on the Metropolitan Line until a transfer back to the Training Centre to carry out a specialist course until 1995.
I then transferred to the Bakerloo Line as a Line Controller until 1999 when I was then promoted to Duty Operations Manager, later to be retitled Service Manager. I retired after 35 years’ service in 2014.
I became a member of the Bluebell Railway in 1975, finally becoming a working volunteer in 2002 in the Fire Department until its closure in 2006. I then became a Guard, later Guards Inspector and finally Chief Guards Inspector. Now being the Operations Director I have had to give up the Chief Guards Inspector role.
I have a number of interests including model railways both 00 and G scale, speedway, football and cricket, plus I am also one of the owners of Preserved former London Transport/Country bus AEC Regent III RT604. I am married and live in Shirley, Surrey.
Commercial and Marketing Director
From a career railway family, my grandfather worked for London Brighton and South Coast Railway and was awarded an MBE for his services to the railway. My father spent all his working life as a railwayman and amongst many roles managed the Royal train for a period of time.
I was born in Brighton and have spent my entire career in the food industry. I started out as an accountant and worked for Sainsburys initially, followed by a spell in sales and marketing with United Biscuits. I then entered a period of general management for a variety of smaller food businesses. During this time I gained a great deal of experience in how to turn an ailing business into a successful business and became a company turnaround expert.
Before retiring in 2012 aged 57, I spent my final 10 years building up a group of food businesses as Managing Director and shareholder. During this time I spent a lot of time in Italy and the rest of Europe as well as America and travelled extensively seeking new and exciting supply chain opportunities.
My passion is motor sport, but I do have a soft spot for steam trains which do take me back to my childhood when my father used to manage to smuggle me onto the footplate and have a cup of tea in the breakdown crane support carriage. I can remember seeing the last steam engine running from London to Brighton just before it entered Clayton Tunnel.
My other passion is music and I am finance director and presenter with Uckfield FM and broadcast a heavy metal and hard rock programme.
I joined the railway in December 2011 as a carriage restorer, working on the Stroudley 4-wheeler known as Betty. I fully retired the following May having spent 40 years in the water industry as a civil engineer.
In 2015 I joined the platform staff at Sheffield Park, and passed as Lead Porter a year later, and subsequently as Station Foreman. I started training as signalman in 2016 and passed for Kingscote in 2018. I have been managing the construction of the OP4 carriage shed at Horsted Keynes since 2017.
The infrastructure director’s portfolio is huge and varied, from Permanent Way and buildings to air-conditioning as well as everything in between. An interesting challenge!
Rolling Stock Director
A chartered mechanical engineer, career railwayman, family man with three children and three grandchildren and a volunteer on the Bluebell Railway since the early 1970s.
I have been fascinated by railways for as long as I can remember and, living in London’s East End, I spent my youth trainspotting in London stations and steam sheds.
During my railway career I have held a range of rewarding technical and managerial positions including Field Trials Technician on British Railways Southern Region, Mechanical Riding Inspector on British Railways Western Region, Depot Manager at Old Oak Common, Fleet Manager London and South East for Porterbrook, Depot Manager at Reading and Exeter, Depot Engineering Manager at Bristol SPM and Engineering and Operations Director for Yellow Rail.
Now retired I enjoy driving trains on the Bluebell and supporting the Bluebell’s wonderful Carriage and Wagon department as Director.
Locomotive Engineering Director
Paul has worked for more than 30 years on the management of maintenance operations and major construction projects within the cement industry.
He has been volunteering for more than 40 years at the Bluebell Railway working through the grades to Locomotive Driver and has also worked on many locomotive restoration projects such as the North London Tank Adams, E4, Baxter and also the steam crane. He is also the Diesel Traction Engineering Co-ordinator for the Locomotive Department and part owner of the class 09 and class 33 diesel locomotives at the Railway.
Company Secretary and Board Director
Graham qualified as a chartered accountant in 1976 and has been in public practice for more than 40 years, mostly in East Grinstead.
He has held numerous offices on the Bluebell Railway starting with the old Extension Committee and Extension Company in 1982, through managing the conversion to a Plc in 1985 as company secretary and director and serving as chairman of Bluebell Railway Plc for 18 years up to 2013.
Graham wrote the original Bluebell Railway Charity Trust deed and served as a Trustee from formation to 2013.
He was chairman of the Northern Extension Project (NEP) leading to the completion of the project and the reconstruction and reopening of the line to East Grinstead in 2013. He now chairs the Western Extension Project (WEP).
Vice Bluebell Railway Preservation Society Chairman
A career of five years in the food manufacturing industry was followed by over thirty years in the food retailing sector, mostly with Marks & Spencer. This included management roles in buying, marketing and sales development.
Following retirement, I started volunteering at the Bluebell in the C&W Department, where I learnt the heritage skills of carriage upholstering. A period spent as a member of the Bluebell Governance Review Group was followed by four years as vice-chairman of the BRPS, then in March 2020 taking on the position of acting chairman following the resignation of the previous Society chairman.
Bluebell Railway Trust chairman and strategic adviser to board
I have been a member and regular visitor to the Bluebell Railway since 1965 when I started volunteering in the station buffet and polishing the carriages. I am a chartered accountant with a background in dealing with trusts and charities.
In 2014 I was appointed the administrator of the Trust which supports the railway and in 2019 I became chairman.
C&W Works Manager – Rowan Millard
Carriage Presentation – Tom Lawson
Catering Manager – Simon Barker
Customer Service & Sales Manager – Mags Cracroft
Data Protection Officer – Lance Allen
Finance Manager – Ian Woodland
Infrastructure Manager – Matt Crawford
Locomotive Superintendent – Stuart Marks
Loco Works Manager – Chris Shepherd
Marketing and Communications Manager – Ruth Rowatt
Operations Manager – Chris Knibbs
Personnel Manager – Lisa Boyle
Retail Manager – Asa Griffits
S&T Manager – Charles Hudson MBE
Volunteer Coordinator – Graham Aitken
Bluebell Railway Preservation Society:
President – Gordon Pettitt OBE
Vice Presidents – Bill Brophy, Graham Flight, Charles Hudson MBE,
David Quarmby CBE, Roy Watts MBE
Chairman – Paul Churchman
Vice-Chairman – Stephen Bigg
General Secretary – Gavin Bennett
Membership Secretary – Don Brewer
Treasurer – Ian Watson
- Laurie Anderson
- Richard Clark
- Andrew Ellis
- Mike Hopps
- Roger Kelly
- John Knight
- Mike Priestley
- Chris Saunders
- Reuben Smith
- James Young
Other Society Officials –
Bluebell News Editor: Colin Tyson
Volunteer Recruitment: David Chappell
Chaplain: The Reverend David Murdoch
Bluebell Railway Trust: Stephen Bigg and Colin Tyson (elected by the Society)
Heritage Railway Association Representative: Roger Kelly
The Bluebell Railway Trust:
Trust Chairman – Vernon Blackburn