When John Meredith left school at the age of 15 in 1954 he began a career on the railways with a six-year apprenticeship as a junior apprentice fitter at Colwick motive power depot, on the eastern outskirts of Nottingham.
The work at Colwick was physically hard and involved long hours in conditions which would not be allowed under today�s Health & Safety regulations. After his apprenticeship was completed in 1960, he was moved as a qualified fitter to a new diesel depot at Finsbury Park and then to Hitchin where he stayed for six years.
He then spent three years as a fitter in the Plant & Machinery Department at Derby. In 1969 John became shift supervisor at Beeston Freightliner terminal, but in 1971 he moved back to Derby to the post of Nottingham Divisional on-track supervisor.
John�s time spent on the on-track machines offers us a rare insight on what it was like to work as part of a team on these machines. This is a subject that up until now has been somewhat neglected by railway authors. Just over seven years later he made his last move on the railway to be statutory engineering inspector in the Chief Mechanical and Electrical Engineer�s Department at Derby, but based at Nottingham.
In Steam, Diesels and On-Track Machines John describes the hard life that he led as a fitter, often working at night and at weekends but shining through it is his determination to get the job done as quickly as possible, often showing great resourcefulness and determination in undertaking difficult jobs himself on the spot, while others wanted to send for a breakdown crew. He also brings out the camaraderie and the good humour of his fellow workers, not to mention the practical jokes some of them liked to play on each other.
Softcover, 240 pages.