Peter Haddon and John Lucas were two lifelong railway preservationists who operated at the largest and smallest of railway scales and rail.co.uk regrettably has to report the sad news that both recently died in their early 60s.
Peter Haddon was a volunteer at The Great Central Railway from the early 1970s and in 1977 over lunch with a few friends decided to buy an example of the largest British railways built steam locomotive, a Standard Class 9 freight engine. It ended up with just Les Greer and Peter saving up to buy the engine after the group saved around £2000 over the following 15 months.
This was when Peter suggested that because of rampant inflation, they would never save enough cash to make the purchase. His solution was that he and Les both put up £4000 to buy the locomotive to which Les answered; "never in a million years", but Peter nagged Les into submission agreed on one condition. That the restoration was run as a business.
The engine was bought from Barry scrapyard in August 1978 and the 92212 Locomotive Company Limited was formed funding the 17 year restoration completed on 27th September 1996. The restoration was very successful and the engine steamed for the next 10 years.
Les Greer says that Peter was the financial director and was always careful with our money, operating a shop at GCR and christened "Nannie Wainright" after the character in Last of the Summer Wine. Peter took this as a complement and we bought him some woollen gloves with the finger ends chopped off so he was in character!
In recent years Peter worked full time for GCR restoring coaches, enjoying his work and was always supportive of anyone's efforts and was a very useful diplomat. Peter was a gentleman and he will be sadly missed following dying of a heart attack on the morning of December 3rd, 2011 at just 62 years old.
Peter’s family was a railway family with his father and grandfather working as a signalman at Rearsby. Peter was a keen and active cricketer at school and excelled at mathmatics and technical drawing leaving at 16 joining the British United Shoe machinery Company in Leicester where he became a materials research chemist.
John Lucas was born in Doncaster in 1951 where his father Claude, worked for the LNER, a fact of which John was immensely proud.
Claude took a job in Derby shortly after John had started his apprenticeship at Doncaster Works, but despite moving to Midland territory, John always considered Doncaster as home always considering himself as a Yorkshireman.
John completed his apprenticeship at Derby Locomotive Works, where he worked until the decline of the Works in the 1980s, then transferred to the adjacent Railway Technical Centre. Later, he worked for Railfreight Distribution and after privatisation, for an IT company, ATOS Origin.
John had a passionate interest in railways, something inherited from his father and despite living through, and working in the middle of, one of the most interesting and turbulent periods of the main-line railway history, John did not confine his interests.
John always had a fierce interest in the more obscure elements of the railway hobby; although he would be as inspired as anyone by a Deltic or an A4 streaking through a station, he was just as keen on visiting a quarry or colliery and seeing a line of skips rattling along behind a battered Ruston or Motor Rail.
During the 1970s and 1980s he was a prolific visitor to these places; he worked nights, and didn’t seem to need sleep! This was fortunate, as these sites were closing almost as fast as he could visit them.
He first visited the Cadeby Light Railway with his father in the late 1960s, and became a regular volunteer. He purchased his first locomotive, Hudswell Clarke D558, in 1971 – no small undertaking for a young man just completing his apprenticeship, and the collection burgeoned from there.
Cliff Thomas writes that “I’ve lost track of how many items passed through his hands, but they included a Fowler steam roller and an Orenstein & Koppel steam loco”. After the Cadeby Light Railway closed, John and his collection relocated to the Moseley Railway Trust site at Apedale where his considerable experience and expertise in all matters of narrow gauge railways were of great value during the early years there.
He also travelled extensively on railway trips to at least four continents relentlessly tracking down rare, unusual or obscure railways. He managed to also pack into his life keen interests in collecting ceramics, musical theatre and model railways.
Sadly, John suffered ill-health towards the end of his working life, and he didn’t live to enjoy the long retirement which he richly deserved. The railway community has lost one of its characters, and we are all the poorer for his passing. He is survived by two cousins, Jacqui and Carole.