Printout of a story from The Last Main Line:

Tom Chamberlain and his career with GCR/LNER

This is the story of Frank Thomas Chamberlain, popularly known as Tom (or Tommy), told by his daughter Mrs. Joyce Leonard. Tom was born on 24th November 1904 and died on 2nd August 1991.

After being called up to do his national service in 1920, Tom joined the Central LNER as a Caller Up or Knocker Up as some called it. This involved knocking on doors or tapping bedroom windows with a long stick to call the men to work. He then advanced to become a cleaner, continued his career to become a fireman (see image L3544) and eventually took charge as a driver.

Tom often drove engines and trains to London during the Second World War with barrage balloons coming down in front of the engine – a very dangerous affair. Also, in order that enemy aircraft couldn’t see the fire in the cab, heavy tarpaulins were draped over the cab, causing it to become very hot for the driver and his fireman. The engine crews weren’t allowed to return home from London if there was an air-raid and they had to sleep with the Londoners in the underground. Sometimes he would cycle to work only to be told that the trains wouldn’t be running that day.

Later in Tom’s career on the railways, he was a regular driver of the Flying Scotsman and the Master Cutler. He would take the Scotsman up to Sheffield and stay overnight. This was called Lodging and he carried with him a heavy-duty metal box. In the box were the papers etc. for the Scotsman. If it was necessary for another driver to take over during the journey, there was a very narrow corridor down the side of the tender leading to the first carriage, where another driver would be travelling.

Tom's brother, Cyril Chamberlain, was also a Train Driver and he also worked for the Great Central Railway/LNER. Cyril was blinded by a pellet gun fired at him near London whilst driving the Master Cutler.

Tom also drove the Flying Scotsman for Alan Peglar in 1963, when it made its last appearance at Leicester Central Station, prior to the station closing.

A group of cleaners, probably based at the Leicester South sheds. The man on the far left is Tom Chamberlain, who went on to become a fireman for the LNER and eventually an engine driver. Tom was regulary in charge of the Flying Scotsman.

A group of cleaners, probably based at the Leicester South sheds. The man on the far left is Tom Chamberlain, who went on to become a fireman for the LNER and eventually an engine driver. Tom was regulary in charge of the Flying Scotsman.

Engine driver, Tom Chamberlain, and his fireman (name unknown) standing on the footplate of a V2 engine. Tom worked extensively on the GCR and LNER, progressing from cleaner to being a regular driver of the Flying Scotsman, quite a career.

Engine driver, Tom Chamberlain, and his fireman (name unknown) standing on the footplate of a V2 engine. Tom worked extensively on the GCR and LNER, progressing from cleaner to being a regular driver of the Flying Scotsman, quite a career.

On 15 June, 1963, Leicester Central Station was honoured with a visit from the world famous locomotive, No. 4472 - FLYING SCOTSMAN. The engine was driven that day by Tom Chamberlain and he can just be seen leaning out of the cab talking to his family.

On 15 June, 1963, Leicester Central Station was honoured with a visit from the world famous locomotive, No. 4472 - FLYING SCOTSMAN. The engine was driven that day by Tom Chamberlain and he can just be seen leaning out of the cab talking to his family.