4:00 PM September 22, 2022
It all started with a job offer in the Ipswich Star, but for one railway worker it was the start of a 35-year career in the industry.
Andrew Murton spotted an advert in the Ipswich Star, when it was the Evening Star, for a flagman in Derby Road in 1987.
35 years later, colleagues past and present bid farewell to Andy with a celebration at The Maltings, Ipswich.
Here he received a plaque showing the Westerfield signal box, which has always been his favourite.
Commenting on his long rail career, Andy said: “It’s a superb environment to work with amazing people.
“No matter how bad things get, you always have help around you. These people become more than just co-workers, they become friends you can trust.
“That’s the part I’ll miss the most, but thankfully many have said they’ll keep in touch.”
When Andy first left school, he had no idea what he wanted to do, so he took a job at an agricultural school.
However, as he had to cycle long distances through wind, rain and mud to get there, he soon started looking for other work.
Andy’s mother gave him an advert for British Rail, encouraged him to apply, and after eight weeks of training Andy passed out as a Grade A signalman for the Derby Road box.
He was promoted to Grade B Signalman at Westerfield Junction after a year and, after its closure with the Felixstowe line upgrade, moved to Colchester Power Signal Box for 10 years.
After a short stint in Ipswich, Andy returned to Colchester and eventually became a train conductor for the Great Eastern Mainline.
Then, during Covid-19, he moved on to his last role as Road Freight Manager.
Speaking about the change he has seen over the years, Andy said: “So much precise data is now available to help you with your decision making.
“We can now see where the trains are in real time and therefore judge the best result, minimizing the overall delay of services.”
Andy plans to spend his retirement making memories with his two adult sons, as well as enjoying his static caravan on the North Norfolk coast.