Our visitor, Billy Henshaw

When Mr.Henshaw came in today it was very interesting. He is now 85 years of age and could remember lots of details of interesting stories. He told us that he started working at the age of 16 in September 1942. There was no coal in the country and they used turf, which made their job very difficult .He started as an engine cleaner, then he became a fireman for 15 years. He had 3 years on steam trains before they were gone forever. He had to learn how to drive diesel trains. They were very easy to drive it was like driving a car. The hardest thing was to stop the train because the carriages would crash into each other. In his later years he was a driving instructor. Mr.Henshaw retired after forty five long years of hard work.


Here are some of the questions we asked Mr.Henshaw:

1. What was it like to be a call boy?

Being a call boy was very hard because you often got in to trouble if the drivers did not wake up and he often had to work at 1:00 at night and often in bad conditions.

2. Did you ever have any accidents? Mr.Henshaw he had one accident in his 25 years of driving trains. He was driving during night time on his duty and he crashed the train but it wasn’t that bad of a crash and no one got injured or hurt.

3. Were you good friends with all the drivers?
He never had an enemy,everyone he met he got along with them.

4. Did you like being a train driver?
Mr.Henshaw enjoyed driving trains because it ran through his family.

5. Did you always want to be a train driver?
Yeah he did want to be part of trains even when he was a child he always had thoughts about it and then he began working with trains when he was 16 years old.

6. Did you transport goods or passengers or both? He did both but he said passengers were easier to drive because of the brakes on the trains. The brakes on a goods train were at the front and therefore if you broke quickly the carriages would bump together but on a passenger train the brakes would go from the front to the back so the train would stop as one unit making it safer.

7. Did you ever get scared?
No he said  all through his life he never got scared he said he always had the feeling in himself that he was safe and he knew what he was doing.

8. Were there woman back then?

No there wasn’t back then but there are nowadays.

We would like to thank Mr.Henshaw for coming in and telling us all his very interesting stories about his life as a train driver. We would not get that kind of information in any book or on the internet and we appreciate the time you gave to us.

Thank you,

Mr.Noone’s 6th class.

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