Railway Experience, Part 2 – GLOW and College

Hello once again my friends!

I’m counting the hours to Training! Tomorrow is my last shift as a Conductor and then I will be relaxing over the weekend to be ready and energetic for training next week! I’m quite happy as I will be working my favourite shift – Shift 1! I will never look down on the position because, like a Train Driver’s Assistant, it is the basis of being a Driver – well, at least it is on the Golden Railway. I have great respect for the Conductors position because I learnt a lot while being one and I still believe them to be integral to the safe running of a train.

Picking up from where we left off last time, I told you that Jack started coming less and less to the Open Days – he was kind of a Free Spirit type person – and that this solidified my friendship with James (lets call him Jimmy, that IS what I currently call him – it used to be Kreskin – it feels downright weird to call him James now, but anyway, back to the story, sorry!).

As things started to go south at SANRASM due to bad management, theft and a whole lot of other factors, I joined Jimmy and his father, Tony, on visits to places like Reef Steamers (RS) and Friends of the Rail (FotR). Tony pursued his dream of being a Steam Locomotive Driver with FotR and, I’m pleased to say, he has achieved his Dream! I love it when I hear and see other people achieving what they set out to do – it fuels me!

I also joined them every Friday night for the weekly Friday Night Group – now Gauteng Layouts Out West (GLOW) – model railway club which consisted of about 10 members at the time.

By going along to these clubs – sometimes on visits other times to get down and dirty and work, I met other people I only ever read of in the SANRASM Courier and on the Internet on the Yahoo! list: sar~L. People like Gabor Kovacs (Gaby), Nathan Berelowitz and Piet Steenkamp. I’ve met and become friends and acquaintances with many more, but that’s for another blog post.

These people were/are my heroes as are all who work on or for the Railway! I savoured their railway stories. I was taken aback when once Piet Steenkamp asked me to do a drawing layout for RS’ generator coach, he drew a rough sketch and I went home and found a drawing of the coach type and modified it so that it incorporated the floor plan. He’s quite a notorious Driver and full of games!

Gaby is a great person, and we (Tony, Jimmy and I) spent many a night with him firelighting at FotR, he always goofed around with Jimmy and myself. Nathan, he’s crazy – but in a great way – just check out his ‘Trainman Stories’ or he’s Facebook page if you ever come across him – he’s a great story teller too! According to Nathan, Gaby and Tony – the way to being a good fireman is to make good tea, a job Jimmy and I were tasked with often. 🙂

Well, from the age of 16, I also started going to college to study mechanical and electronic Engineering – hoping that it would help with my endeavors to join the railway and become a Train Driver. I also met my lovely wife there. This cut my time drastically to go on the usual outings unfortunately and of course most free time went to maintaining my important relationship with my girlfriend… Who is now my wife… Just in case you needed clarity… Don’t wanna get in trouble with the Gov. you know!

At 18 I achieved N3 and, due to influences from various lecturers and being young, I decided it was time to leave college and look for work – of course on the railway. Not as easy as I thought it would be as I was soon to learn…

Since this Blog post is getting long now, it looks like there will be a Part 3 – Totally unexpected! As always, I invite you to comment and ask questions, tell me about achieving your Dreams – it doesn’t have to be rail related!

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One of my best friends James Lee Attwell and I

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