Steaming towards his rail ticket | The Gisborne Herald

Steaming towards his rail ticket | The Gisborne Herald
Steaming towards his rail ticket
FOLLOWING THE DREAM: While many young boys dream about being a train driver, Gisborne’s Nick Griffin followed his dream through. He now has his certificate to become a steam train driver and once he has completed the necessary experience will be able to drive Gisborne City Vintage Rail’s much loved train Wa165 on excursions. Pictures by Paul Rickard
GUIDED BY THE BEST: Young trainee train driver Nick Griffin worked with former Kingston Flyer driver Russell Glendinning (right), driving the steam train Wa165 for cruise ship visitors yesterday.

A DREAM to be a train driver is coming to fruition for young Gisborne man Nick Griffin.

The 23-year-old has been working toward becoming a driver of Wa165 for the past 10 years and once he has fully qualified will probably be the youngest steam train driver in the country .

When he was 13 he decided he wanted to be part of the Gisborne City Vintage Rail’s beloved restored steam train Wa165 operation.

“I started at the bottom," he said.

"I just started coming along to work with the crew. At first I was cleaning floors, then serving drinks on the train.

“It just interested me and I really enjoyed seeing everyone enjoying the train too.”

Gisborne City Vintage Railway is an important asset to Gisborne’s tourism industry, he said.

“We have people who come to Gisborne from all over the world just to ride on Wa165.”

During his teenage years he started training to be a fireman and was fully qualified at 17.

“That's the job to look after the locomotive’s boiler, shovelling coal and maintaining the correct water level.”

Toward the end of last year, after spending about a year travelling around America and Eastern Europe, he started learning to drive the train.

“I've now got my certificate and now it's about getting experience driving.”

Driving under guidance

Yesterday he was driving under the guidance of former Kingston Flyer driver, Russell Glendinning.

Nick said it would be great for more young people to get involved with the train.

“We are always looking for more people. Most of the guys are over 70 and have been working on the train for more than 25 years. It would be great to see some more young people learn the ropes, and we also need skilled people too.”

Anyone interested can turn up at the GCVR shed in the Railway Reserve opposite the entrance to the Waikanae Cut in Awapuni Road.

“There are always people at the engine sheds every Thursday and Saturday morning working on the train”

Before heading overseas, Nick worked for automotive engineering firm Wurth for two years. Next month he will head to Hawke’s Bay to study for a diploma in tourism at EIT.

“It is a fulltime course. I can’t make it back every time Wa165 runs but I will be back at the weekends when it runs to do the hours I need to get my driver’s ticket.”

GCVR president Geoff Joyce congratulated Nick for getting his certificate.

“He has proven to be a great asset to the society and I wish him success in his quest to become a fully-fledged driver,” he said.

This weekend the crew will run Wa165 for public excursions, with tickets available at the Gisborne i-Site.

“If you’re interested in helping out, come chat to me. I should have coal dust on my face, so it’ll be easy to spot me,” Nick said.

A DREAM to be a train driver is coming to fruition for young Gisborne man Nick Griffin.

The 23-year-old has been working toward becoming a driver of Wa165 for the past 10 years and once he has fully qualified will probably be the youngest steam train driver in the country .

When he was 13 he decided he wanted to be part of the Gisborne City Vintage Rail’s beloved restored steam train Wa165 operation.

“I started at the bottom," he said.

"I just started coming along to work with the crew. At first I was cleaning floors, then serving drinks on the train.

“It just interested me and I really enjoyed seeing everyone enjoying the train too.”

Gisborne City Vintage Railway is an important asset to Gisborne’s tourism industry, he said.

“We have people who come to Gisborne from all over the world just to ride on Wa165.”

During his teenage years he started training to be a fireman and was fully qualified at 17.

“That's the job to look after the locomotive’s boiler, shovelling coal and maintaining the correct water level.”

Toward the end of last year, after spending about a year travelling around America and Eastern Europe, he started learning to drive the train.

“I've now got my certificate and now it's about getting experience driving.”

Driving under guidance

Yesterday he was driving under the guidance of former Kingston Flyer driver, Russell Glendinning.

Nick said it would be great for more young people to get involved with the train.

“We are always looking for more people. Most of the guys are over 70 and have been working on the train for more than 25 years. It would be great to see some more young people learn the ropes, and we also need skilled people too.”

Anyone interested can turn up at the GCVR shed in the Railway Reserve opposite the entrance to the Waikanae Cut in Awapuni Road.

“There are always people at the engine sheds every Thursday and Saturday morning working on the train”

Before heading overseas, Nick worked for automotive engineering firm Wurth for two years. Next month he will head to Hawke’s Bay to study for a diploma in tourism at EIT.

“It is a fulltime course. I can’t make it back every time Wa165 runs but I will be back at the weekends when it runs to do the hours I need to get my driver’s ticket.”

GCVR president Geoff Joyce congratulated Nick for getting his certificate.

“He has proven to be a great asset to the society and I wish him success in his quest to become a fully-fledged driver,” he said.

This weekend the crew will run Wa165 for public excursions, with tickets available at the Gisborne i-Site.

“If you’re interested in helping out, come chat to me. I should have coal dust on my face, so it’ll be easy to spot me,” Nick said.

Posted: Tuesday 24 January 2017