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Talyllyn Railway Press Release - Passing of David Woodhouse MBE

On Friday 21 April 2017 the funeral was held at St Cadvan’s church in Tywyn for the Talyllyn Railway’s former Traffic and General Manager, David Woodhouse MBE.

The service was led by Talyllyn volunteers Rev Nigel Adams assisted by Sue Whitehouse, and was attended by family and friends including a sizeable contingent from the Talyllyn Railway both staff and volunteers, as well as representatives of the Heritage Railway Association.

At the start of the service the current Talyllyn Railway General Manager, Tracey Parkinson, laid a special key token on the coffin marked for the journey between Earth and Heaven. The service also included a tribute from David’s son Tim, who spoke of his father’s love for railways and the Talyllyn in particular.

David was an early volunteer on the Railway when he was employed by the Midland Red Bus Company, and was the guard on the original Coronation specials which were run in June 1953 for the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth. He became increasing involved in the operational side of the Railway and was appointed Traffic Manager in 1966. With Bill Faulkner as Managing Director and John Bate as Chief Engineer this was to be the management team which oversaw the Railway during one of its greatest periods of expansion, including the extension to Nant Gwernol which opened in May 1976.

In his role as Traffic Manager David became one of the most recognised figures on the Talyllyn, universally known as ‘Traffman’. He did much to improve the operational standards on the line, and for his inspection trips along the Railway the blockmen even had a special bell code to warn each other of his whereabouts. However, at least one blockman was caught out having sent the ‘Traffman leaving section’ code through to have a voice behind him saying “No he hasn’t!”.

In 1982 David was appointed the Railway’s General Manager until his resignation in December 1992. However, he then went on to work with the Heritage Railway Association for many years, but remained resident in Tywyn.

Among his other achievements was the establishment in 1969 of the Great Little Trains of Wales marketing panel, which still promotes and represents the narrow gauge railways of Wales today. In recognition of his services to the Welsh tourist industry David was awarded the MBE in 1989. He died after a short illness on 11 April 2017 aged 84, leaving his widow Margaret and children Richard John, Tim and Sam.

Talyllyn Railway Preservation Society chairman, Ian Drummond, commented:

“David’s passing marks the breaking of another link with our past. For those of us who came to the line in the 1960s, 70s and 80s David was very much part of the fabric of the Railway, and indeed in many ways was the Talyllyn. Under his influence the Railway very much became what we know it today, particularly in terms of its operational professionalism.

We have been delighted to have David back on the Railway in an official capacity in recent times. These included the re-enactment of the Coronation Specials for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in 2013 when he was interviewed by the BBC, although unfortunately that segment was not broadcast. He was also present for our ‘Road to Adventure’ gala in May last year when we celebrated forty years since the opening of the line to Nant Gwernol. He will be much missed, and the turnout at his funeral marked the respect with which he was held. Our thoughts are very much with his family at this time.”


The photo shows David Woodhouse (left) with Gareth Jones on the occasion of the re-enactment of the original 1953 Coronation trains in 2013. David was the guard on the original trains and Gareth the fireman. Photo: Ian Drummond.

For further information about this press release please e-mail: pressoffice [at] talyllyn [dot] co [dot] uk or phone 01654 710472.

David Woodhouse (left) with Gareth Jones in 2013

Source: Latest News

Posted by Peter Bowyer on 30 April 2017

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