Graham’s first encounter with steam trains took place when he was just 4 years old. His parents took him to see a steam locomotive in the railway at Wycheproof in North Western Victoria. He remembers standing on the step of the locomotive and being fascinated by the whole experience. From that day on, he was hooked, and the life-long interest in Steam Locomotives and how they worked began.
When he was 8, while on school holidays with his family, he would sit in the signal box at Castlemaine Railway Station and just watch in awe as the steam trains passed by. In 1980, when Graham was 22, he began volunteering at Puffing Billy as an engine cleaner. This enabled him to gain valuable knowledge, and to fuel an ever-growing interest in Steam Engines. Always wanting to learn something new and to challenge himself, in September 2000 he became a qualified fireman, and as of the 23rd of September, 2017, he became the newest fully qualified driver at Puffing Billy.
Graham mentioned how grateful he is of the late Lyn Helsby and other Victorian Railways/V-Line Enginemen who were only too happy to pass on their railway and locomotive knowledge to himself and others. Without their dedication and guidance, his road to becoming a driver would have been that much harder to achieve.
Graham has been studying to be a driver for the last 9-10 months. During which time he undertook 3 exams to qualify. He also spent a minimum of 2-3 hours a day studying for his exams alongside completing his practical training (which included at least four training runs per month!). He loves the challenge that being a Puffing Volunteer and Driver provides and the opportunity to take on new roles throughout this exciting and rewarding life-long experience. Graham has been an active volunteer for 37 years.
CONGRATULATIONS GRAHAM ON YOUR NEWEST QUALIFICATION!