Train named to honour lifelong railway worker

Joan Winnett unveils plaque in memory of her husband Mick
Joan Winnett unveils plaque in memory of her husband Mick

A railway enthusiast from Kettering who died of cancer after working on the tracks for nearly 50 years has had a train named after him.

Mick Winnett joined National Rail as an engine cleaner after leaving Sandford Secondary School at the age of 15.

He was later a fireman for steam engines before becoming an instructor and training many of today’s drivers.

After retiring in 2007 he was diagnosed with cancer and died last year aged 68.

In his memory past colleagues got together to make a permanent tribute to Mick and name a train after him.

Yesterday more than 100 people attended a ceremony at Bedford Station where his wife Joan unveiled his name on the side of a First Capital Connect train.

Joan, 70, of Melvin Close, met Mick when he was 16 and they married in 1964.

She said: “It was a wonderful idea and a real tribute to a man whose life was really all about trains.

“When we were told about the idea before he died I remember seeing tears in his eyes.

“I know looking down at us he’d be a very proud man right now.”

Mick, who also attended Park Road School, had two children, Jane and Peter.

Working as a fireman he would shovel in the coal during his engine’s trips around the country.

He was based in Kettering until 1969 when he was moved to the Bedford depot.

There he became a driving instructor in 1975 and spent the next 30 years putting employees through their training.

Former colleague Bill Davies described Mick as a wonderful man who had a passion for his job.

He said: “He was a very valued member of staff who made learning a pleasure for many others.

“There are a tremendous amount of drivers today who owe him a debt for the work he did making them confident and able employees.

“The idea to name a train after him was so we don’t ever forget him and the work he did.”

Mick was nursed at home until he died on August 16 last year.

A funeral service was held at All Saints Church just over a week later.

Mick had more than 6,000 photographs of railway stations and trains in his possession.