They say that life begins at 40, but for one train driver at First Hull Trains an important 40th milestone was celebrated for a very different reason.
On Tuesday 18 February 2014, Richard Pike celebrated his 40th year as a train driver and, by the end of that day, he had clocked up more than 10,000 shifts and more than 15,000 railway journeys!
To mark the occasion, the company’s MD, Will Dunnett, arranged for a special delegation to meet Richard as he alighted in Hull from the 12.22 arrival from London King’s Cross.
Will Dunnett, said: “This is an incredible achievement. He is an invaluable and highly experienced member of our +100 strong team, and I am proud that I have been able to share this important landmark in his long and illustrious career.”
Richard, 57, who lives near Selby, started his career as a trainee driver in 1974 and hails from Westbury in Wiltshire. Having risen through the ranks to become a traction inspector and eventually a driver manager, he joined First Hull Trains as the company’s longest serving train driver in 2012 – a very important appointment according to Will.
“Although we operate 90 direct services a week, we are actually one of the smaller train operating companies on Britain’s railways,” explained Will. “In view of this, we need to be very agile and versatile people are absolutely essential to us. The additional skills, capabilities and experience that Richard gives us have been invaluable. Indeed, it is this multidisciplinary approach to our people and talent management that enables us to operate so efficiently.”
Richard said: “Blimey, where did that time go? The last 40 years have flown by. I joined BR at the age of 17 on the ‘footplate’ as a trainee. Ironically, that was a Tuesday too. Fast forward 40 years and I am working for the UK’s best long-distance train company, on some of the fastest trains in the country with some of the industry’s most talented people. My colleagues have all been very supportive and it is really nice that Will and the rest of the team have done so much to celebrate my anniversary.”
Richard also supports trainee drivers providing them with practical, hands on guidance and advice and is often called upon to assess other qualified drivers at certain times of the year.
Over a third of First Hull Trains’ staff have worked with the company for more than ten years. 50 per cent of the workforce are men, 50 per cent are women. Five of the organisation’s 23 drivers are female all whom have been trained through the ranks and two more female drivers are about to be added to the roster.
Picture: Will Dunnett (left) meets and greets Richard Pike on the day of his 40th anniversary
Other famous events in 1974
· ABBA win the European Song Contest
· Charles De Gaulle Airport opens
· Stephen King publishes his famous book, Carrie
· The 1974 FIFA World Cup begins in West Germany (West Germany go on to beat the Netherlands in the final)
· President Nixon resigns after the Watergate scandal
· Ceefax (the public information service) starts on the BBC
· Harold Wilson becomes Prime Minister
· The Rumble in the Jungle takes place with Muhammed Ali beating George Foreman
· Malta becomes a Republic
· The Rubik’s Cube puzzle is invented by Hungarian architecture professor Erno Rubik
· First Hull Trains was formed in the autumn of 2000
· First Hull Trains’ services stop at Brough, Howden, Selby, Doncaster, Retford, Grantham and Stevenage
· First Hull Trains operates 90 services a week between Hull and London King’s Cross
· First Hull Trains’ fastest journey time between Hull and London is two hours and 34 minutes
· Last year, First Hull Trains carried 815,400 passengers
· The company’s trains are spacious enabling passengers to work, rest and enjoy
· At seat sockets and free Wi-Fi ARE available on all trains
· The company is spearheading plans to electrify a 70 mile piece of railway at the cost of £94m enabling First Hull Trains to operate electric trains between Hull and London KX
· Tickets start from as low as £10 for a single journey
· Cheaper tickets can be bought online at: www.hulltrains.co.uk
· Tickets can be sent straight to your mobile telephone or other mobile device or they can be printed at home before travel
· First Hull Trains is one of the only train operating companies in the UK to allow people to buy tickets on board its services from a ‘manned’ railway station without penalty