RIP Brian Grant now bunking the great shed in the sky rather than Salisbury…

It is with great sadness that I report the recent  passing away, after illness, of Brian Grant.  His career on the railways from Apprentice fitter at Salisbury shed though to working at the British Railways Board HQ via a number of operational department roles on the Southern Region, Station master duties at Paddington and Controller of the London section of the London Midland Region is documented in his book ‘Home and Distant:A 40-year Railway Career from Apprentice Fitter to BRB Headquarters, 1952-93’

My Dad with the late Brian Grant and other friends as teenagers are imortalised on the steps of Fisherton Sarum shed trying to sneak past the Time Keepers office hatch.

I first came across Brian when I browsed his ‘Home and Distant’ book and realised that the story within  his first chapter about how he used to bunk the shed at Salisbury, sneaking up the entrance steps and under the shed timekeeper hatch without being spotted, was identical to the tale often recounted by my Dad who used to the same thing.  I decided therefore to purchase Brian’s book for my Dad as a Christmas present. Once it was unwrapped, I said to Dad just read chapter one, after doing so and reading the authors biography on the back cover, he looked at me and pointing to a Christmas card on the shelf and said that Christmas card is from Brian!  My Dad and Brian although a couple of years difference in age were part of the same gang of friends who used to bunk the shed, small world isn’t it?  They had only kept in touch with a simple exchange of cards each Christmas but since that day had written more regularly to each other, so in the end a present worth much more than could have been anticipated!

Brian, due to his extensive experience and  knowledge of railway control also wrote a number of other books: British Railways Wagons parts 1 and 2, covering their usage, loads and loading. I offer my condolences to his family and friends, may he rest in peace.

Since I first published this post I have received the following from a friend of mine who like Brian had an extensive career on the railways who made this lovely comment:  “Brian was a very nice bloke who worked in London Division HQ on the Western for a while back in the late 1960s when I was there. In later years I occasionally had reason for contact with him in his BRB job and unlike many who went to the Kremlin he kept his feet very firmly on the ground. He was also one of those ‘oh you know Brian do you?’ folk who because he had been around the railway a bit was known and liked in a number of places – as I found when my railway life took me into the land of the 3rd rail.” 

19 thoughts on “RIP Brian Grant now bunking the great shed in the sky rather than Salisbury…

  1. nice to know dad will be remembered by more than just his family,i remember dad getting a letter from your dad with the link to your page,he was so chuffed with it! Thank you!

    1. Hi Zoe, I am sure Brian will be remembered by many, especially many of his old collegues as well as my Dad. And he is immortalised in his short trouser days on my own model railway, Fisherton Sarum , along with my Dad. His passing is only a change of state as he will be forever in the minds and thoughts of friends and family.

  2. Thank you so much for those words. Obviously I never knew what sort of man he was like at work and it made me smile to get a small picture of the man that I knew as my dad.
    I did suspect he was a cheeky kid from what my mum tells me of him. Thanks again

  3. Wow, it was really lovely to read your article about my Dad Brian. I read it to my Mum over the phone,and she was wondering who the ‘friend’ was that made the lovely comment at the end.
    Many Thanks. x

  4. Hi Graham, I just came across your tribute to Brian Grant and just wanted to say how nice it was of you to share your memories. As the publisher of the books you mention we got to know Brian in his retirement years. He was a mine of information and a source of many recollections of working life on the railways. On his many visits to the office he would always be cheerful, encouraging and supportive of all the team at Silver Link – he is very much missed but we will always be remembered for his kindness and enthusiasm. A true gentleman.

    1. Hi Peter

      Thanks for the comment, it was my Dad whom knew Brian along with another friend of mine. It has been wonderful to have via my post on this blog regained contact between Dad and Brian’s family and others with whom Brian’s kindness and manner touched.

    2. It was really nice, once more, to hear some lovely words about my Dad, Brian Grant. Thank you, Kay
      Ps. Hope you are enjoying Brians Books, Graham.

      1. Hi Kay, nice to hear from you I have indeed enjoyed the books, if you drop me an email with your postal address I will return them to you.

      2. Thanks graham. I have mislaid your personal email address, could you send it again please, then i can tell you my home address. Cheers Kay.

  5. Hi,
    Brian Grant was Area Manager at Broxbourne when I was a young driver based at Hertford East back in the early seventies. He was a smashing guy a real gentleman. If he road with me I always let him have a go which I know he enjoyed immensely One day I remember particularly well as the unit was playing up a bit and losing power and we were losing time. He realised this and said I think you had better take over before you get a please explain for running late. I said don’t worry, I will just readdress it to you to answer – he saw the funny side of that! Managers like Brian commanded total respect, because staff knew they had come up through the ranks, not straight from university thinking they knew it all when they knew nothing in reality. Great to have known you Brian.
    Derek Lawman, Oswestry, Shropshire.

    1. Brian was my area manager when I was a young clerical officer at AMO Broxbourne. I used to visit signalboxes and the bobbies often used to leave me to work the box whilst they had a break. I remember watching a ‘Herford’ go past one day – Brian was driving!

      1. Hi Bruce
        Many thanks for the kind comment. I know Brian’s family have enjoyed reading the comments here and yours will no doubt also raise a smile.

      2. On one occasion the Up Lynn failed at Broxbourne because the loco had overheated. Brian went out to it and discovered that the air vents were jammed shut, he opened them up, sent the train on its way and came into the admin office with grease on his hands. A palpable sense of awe swept across the office because operating staff simply don’t understand how to fix trains, and for the Area Manager to do this himself all suited and booted, it was a most impressive act.

      3. Hi Graham, Bruce Duntons words did make me smile, as you say, but also I had a tear in my eye, as I wish I could give my Dad a big proud hug right now! Thank you for letting me know these little snippets about my Dad. I went to a Reunion of Dads Works Colleagues from the continent recently with my Mum-again I heard nice things about Dad-he didn’t talk about work at all, shame to hear it all too late to give him that hug. Many thanks. Kay. X

        Ps. Hope you have had a good year.

        Sent from my iPhone.

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