Printout of a story from The Last Main Line:

Tom Chamberlain's story continued

After the closure of the Great Central Line, Tom was transferred to the LMS line, based at London Road station in Leicester, where he had to learn to drive diesels. However, steam was Toms life (he always said that diesel engines held no character) and, after two years with the LMS, he retired at the age of 63.

During Toms time on the Central Line, he was responsible for saving a train loaded with passengers from Marylebone to Leicester. The incident happened in 1958 when Tom was working the 3.30pm express (engine no. 60831). On approaching Leicester Goods South and although the signals were correct, Tom noticed that the cross-over points were incorrectly set. Taking evasive action to slow and stop the train, Tom managed to inform the signal man prior to the arrival of a fast train on the up line (London bound). For his decisive action, Tom was given a commendation from the Motor Power Officer of the British Transport Commission (see image records l3546 & L3547).

Tom is mentioned in the Railway Magazine (March 1960) in an article written by Colin P Walker describing the last express trains to operate between Manchester and London on Saturday January 2nd 1960: “No. 61063 with Driver Tommy Chamberlain and Fireman Harry Elford, drew out of Leicester at 6.58pm with the last express from Manchester to London by the Great Central route.

As with most footplate men, Tom and his crew would clean their shovels and fry egg & bacon on the fire. Tom also had his own signal lamp and this is still in the possession of his family today.

One of the highlights of the journeys was when the Earl of Lanesborough, of Swithland Hall, always went to the driver and thanked him for the journey, and would always give the driver a tip.

A letter of commendation for Engine Driver Tom Chamberlain, who showed decisive and intelligent action to avoid a potentially dangerous situation. Tom was given a commendation from the Motor Power Officer of the British Transport Commission (see image record L3546 for Tom’s letter describing the incident).

A letter of commendation for Engine Driver Tom Chamberlain, who showed decisive and intelligent action to avoid a potentially dangerous situation. Tom was given a commendation from the Motor Power Officer of the British Transport Commission (see image record L3546 for Tom’s letter describing the incident).

A poster produced by Lutterworth Rural District Council in January 1962. At a time when the future of the London Extension was under threat, it urges 'all affected' people to attend a public meeting to discuss the 'proposal to reduce rail services and close stations on the former Great Central line'. Even by the time this meeting was held, through express services had already stopped running for two years.

A poster produced by Lutterworth Rural District Council in January 1962. At a time when the future of the London Extension was under threat, it urges 'all affected' people to attend a public meeting to discuss the 'proposal to reduce rail services and close stations on the former Great Central line'. Even by the time this meeting was held, through express services had already stopped running for two years.

Signal lamp owned by engine driver Tom Chamberlain, a regular driver of the Flying Scotsman.

Signal lamp owned by engine driver Tom Chamberlain, a regular driver of the Flying Scotsman.