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Lecturer turns from the classroom to the Heritage Railway


From the college to the railway track .Wednesday, October 17, 2012 North Devon Journal
Follow.JULIAN Sinclair worked as a lecturer at North Devon College – now called Petroc – for 22 years.

But at the age of 55 he was made redundant.

?TRAIN FAN: Julian Sinclair at Lynton and Barnstaple Railway.
.Julian said: "I had enjoyed teaching, but saw this as an opportunity to make changes to my life.

"I retrained as an electrician and also joined the Lynton and Barnstaple railway as a volunteer.

"I guess it's a bit of a dream really.

"As a kid I always wanted to be a steam engine driver. I waited for the day, but was badly let down when the last one was scrapped in 1968 – I was 14 years old.

"The railway made me really welcome, clearly wanting my involvement.

"Within a few weeks I found myself walking up to the loco shed early in the morning to set the fire on a 1915 steam locomotive that served in France in the 1914-18 war.

"For me it was a dream come true. Now I am a qualified loco fireman and am training to be a driver – something I never thought would be possible.

"I also get to ride a railway with a massive heritage and a big future. I am part of resurrecting an idyllic part of North Devon's heritage as we plan to extend this beautiful, famous narrow gauge railway.

"When I am on the footplate I face new challenges and know how good learning and achieving feels. I feel like a kid again.

"I also have a real sense of belonging and have made some really good mates. I am just one of a team of volunteers that help maintain and run this railway.

"Yes, volunteering means I give my time, but in actual fact I get much, much more from what I do. I will be back on the footplate next week. I can't wait."


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