Waterloo’s longest-serving employee retires after nearly 70 years
A railroad worker who worked at London Waterloo for almost 70 years retired on Wednesday.
Don Buckley, 82, is considered the longest-serving railroad worker in the country and has worked at Britain’s busiest station since he was 14.
Buckley said: “I have loved working in Waterloo all these years. 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 makes the resort special and I will miss my colleagues and clients dearly. While all good things come to an end, Waterloo will always have a very special place in my heart. ”
A rarity in today’s world where no one seems to have a job for life, Buckley started working in Waterloo in 1953 by chance as a young boy who traveled to the capital from the County Kerry, Ireland.
He asked a taxi driver to take him to “the big London station”, expecting to be taken to Euston to start a job there, but was taken to Waterloo, which he remembers as “a old dilapidated station “and told a street sweeper he was looking for a job.
As he was too young to be allowed to work near the trains themselves at the time, he started out as a station courier, which involved shopping at David Greggs, the only supermarket on the south side of the river, for the ladies. working at the station for six pence the trip.
Over the course of his many years of service, Buckley has seen many changes to the iconic station.
In his early days he was making £ 7 a week and steam trains entered the platforms, the men wore bowler hats and music played in the lobby.
He saw the last steam train leave Waterloo in 1967 and is one of the few people in the rail industry to have received formal training to decouple a steam train.
Buckley saw many famous faces walking through the station as he helped Sir Stanley Matthews, Roger Moore and Alfred Hitchcock with their luggage and spotted Buster Edwards, the big train thief, setting up a flower stall after his release from prison in 1975..
Most recently, he attended the filming of scenes for Skyfall and Bourne Ultimatum.
His latest role was to help visually impaired and disabled customers around the station during his three shifts a week and to give unparalleled knowledge of London to anyone needing directions in the city.
Buckley received a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Rail Business Awards for his service to London Waterloo and the railroad two years ago and received an official farewell at an event in Waterloo on Wednesday.
South Western Railway London Waterloo Regional Manager Chico Coulibaly said: “Don is a very respected and valued member of our team. His wealth of knowledge about the railroad, Waterloo and London is unmatched, and he will be sadly missed by his colleagues and clients.
“We would like to take this opportunity to thank Don for all of his years of service and the important contribution he has made to Waterloo. We wish Don all the best for his retirement.
Photo credit featured: Network Rail