UK’s longest serving railway worker waves goodbye to Waterloo station

·2-min read
<p>Don Buckley was given an official send-off at Waterloo station on Wednesday</p> (South Western Railway)

Don Buckley was given an official send-off at Waterloo station on Wednesday

(South Western Railway)

Britain’s longest serving railway worker is hanging up his whistle and high-vis jacket after almost seven decades of service.

Don Buckley, 82, is retiring from South Western Railway at London Waterloo station where he began his career in a twist of fate in 1953.

Over the years, he has witnessed the last steam train leave Waterloo in 1967 and the closure of the station’s very own cinema in 1970.

Most recently, Don worked three shifts per week helping visually impaired and disabled passengers and sharing expert tips with tourists.

He was just 14 years old when he crossed the Irish Sea from County Kerry, Ireland and jumped in a cab to embark upon his new adventure.

When he asked the driver to take him to “the big station in London”, the teenager was expecting to arrive in Euston but instead he was dropped off at London Waterloo.

Too young to be working on the trains, Don started his career as a station message boy and was still working at “the big station” 68 years later.

“I have loved working at Waterloo for all these years,” he said.

“The station may have changed a lot since the 1950s, but it’s still such a special place and I feel so lucky to have had so many wonderful experiences working here.

“The people are what make the station special and I will miss my colleagues and customers immensely.

“While all good things come to an end, Waterloo will always have a very special place in my heart”.

Don, who was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Rail Business Awards two years ago, was given an official send-off at an event at Waterloo station on Wednesday.

He was praised for his expert knowledge and described by colleagues as a “well respected” and “much-loved member” of the team.

Chico Coulibaly, London Waterloo Regional Manager at South Western Railway, added: “His wealth of knowledge about the railway, Waterloo and London is unrivalled, and he will be dearly missed by colleagues and customers alike.

“We would like to take this opportunity to thank Don for all his years of service and the significant contribution he has made at Waterloo. We wish Don all the very best for his retirement.”

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