Eric Gosney

On Thursday 14th August, family, friends and railway mates gathered at Aldershot Crematorium to  say farewell to a unique and charming man.
Eric Gosney was born into a railway family in Portsmouth on the 5th September 1934. His Dad, Sid, started on the railway in 1917 at Ash.
The family moved to Plymouth during the Second World War.   
After the War, Eric started working for the railway himself as an Engine Cleaner at Fratton
He was called up for National Service and served in the Royal Artillery.

Eric transferred to Nine Elms Loco Depot for a Fireman’s job
On the 5th of February 1957, Eric  worked a special train from Southampton to London with none other than ‘Bill Haley and the Comets’ on board. Sadly he was so busy working that he never got to actually see Bill Hayley in the flesh, but it’s fair to say that Eric was partly responsible for bringing rock n roll to Great Britain!

see Paper Train

He met his wife to be, Mary, at Horsham Station where she worked in the Station Buffet.

They were married on the 5th March 1960 and lived with Mary’s mum and dad near Horsham Station Apparently, Eric’s hair turned white when he was 26 years old.
Eric got his drivers job at Horsham but he always wanted to go on the Western division of the Southern, so he did a three way swap with Driver Don Payne of Dorking (Central) and Driver Bonar Law of Dorking (Western) so he could move depot
Eric moved to Dorking Western and when that depot closed in the early 80's he made a redundant move to Farnham in 1982He took Alan Stenning ‘s job (Fireball)  but, unfortunately that put Eric on the oposite shift that he had always worked on, so he changed shifts with Driver Steve West in 1984.
Eric became a “Minder Driver”, the forerunner to the Driver Instructor of today’s railway, two of his ‘star’ trainees being  Driver Kerry Holton and Driver Shaun Mc Callion

Eric was renowned for his gentle driving, especially on the approach to the buffer blocks at Waterloo, by the time he eventually came to a stop most of his passengers were at their place of work and probably on their second cup of coffee!
In April 1997 when the Driver’s grade on South West Trains was restructured, Eric opted to retire and so with a heavy heart he hung up his drivers cap and chucked in his E.P key.
In retirement Eric enjoyed ‘Grand Days Out’ with his railway mates, also the monthly meetings of retired railwaymen at Woking Staff Club and especially the annual reunion of the Nine Elms Enginemen, on the Bluebell Railway in Sussex
Eric loved his life on the railway and all his railway mates, he would not hesitate to help anyone out with a change-over or an extra trip to Alton.
He was assistant Branch Secretary for many years at Farnham, always willing to lend a hand with the running of the branch.
Eric was a great bloke.... a one off....He brought his own unique charm and personality to each depot he worked at.

Shaun Mc Callion has summed up Eric precisely.

Eric Gosney “A True Gentleman of the Railway”



The Station Sign says it all

1876 Vintage... the engine that is, not Eric.

During his time at Fratton, Eric would have cleaned and fired on these charming little engines that worked the Hayling Island branch.

 Eric in conversation with Ray Cox 

Eric about to depart for Ascot from Aldershot in 1985