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Train tribute to railway stalwart from Washford
Fireman Terry Jenkins and driver John Chambers with the train that honoured Don Haynes. PHOTO: Steve Guscott
A STALWART of the West Somerset Railway has been honoured by a train bearing a wreath and a plaque on the day of his funeral.
Don Haynes, of Washford, who died two weeks ago at the age of 83, was a well-respected member of the railway community since he began work there in the late 1970s.
His contribution was marked on Monday, when the train with a plaque reading ‘King Don’s farewell’ travelled along the line as friends and family gathered to celebrate his life at St Andrew’s church in Old Cleeve.
Don, originally from Bristol, worked with British Railways before moving to West Somerset, where he worked as a diesel engine driver for 20 years.
WSR general manager Paul Conibeare said his interest and skill covered many aspects of the railway.
Mr Conibeare said: “He was very passionate about the railway. Not only was he a very good steam driver, he was also a great engineer.
“Because he understood how the machines worked, he was able to get the most out of each locomotive. He had a natural gift and could get an engine working without much money.
“He was one of those gentlemen drivers and helped the railway through some very difficult times. He was also a great teacher – a lot of my own and others’ knowledge comes from Don showing us how to do things.
“Lots of family, friends and colleagues from the railway were at the funeral. The vicar stopped the service for a few moments so the congregation could hear the train whistling in the distance, which was very poignant.
“Even after he retired, Don could always be seen at Washford when the trains passed, so this is the end of an era. We have lost a very good friend of the railway.”
Don is survived by his wife of more than 35 years, June, and his step-children, Lisa and Mark.