Phil Sanderson

Engineering Liaison Principal & Trustee

Why are you interested in steam engines generally, and the Duke specifically? When did your interest begin?

My mother reckons I was born with an interest in steam engines. My grandparents lived close to the Doncaster-Leeds railway line and from the end of their garden I could see steam trains passing every few minutes and apparently from the age of about 4 I used to run and watch them whenever I heard one.

My interest really developed in my first year at Secondary school when one of my classmates showed me an Ian Allan Combined volume. From then on I was hooked and regularly used to go and watch Black Fives and 8Fs shunting the coal yard in Keighley (for anyone who knows Keighley this is where Sainsbury’s supermarket is now). A gang of us from school then started venturing further afield with trainspotting trips to York, Doncaster & Crewe amongst a variety of places. I was also fortunate that the KWVR was on my doorstep and I am still a member.

I first saw the Duke on a visit to Crewe in 1967 when parts had started to be stripped from it. My interest really started a couple of years ago when I was looking for a retirement project.

How long have you been involved in the Trust, and what is your role? What does the role involve?
I have been a Trust Member for approx. 4 years. My role is to liaise with Tyseley Locomotive Works (TLW) who are overhauling the Duke, this includes: holding meetings with them to monitor progress and ensure they have everything they need from The Trust; arranging working days for the support crew members of The Trust; determining priorities for the support crew that feed into TLW’s work schedule.

What kind of work have you performed during your lifetime, what kind of person are you, and what values do you bring to the Trust?

I worked in IT for 43 years, the last 33 years were with Fujitsu for whom I performed a number of roles but spent the last 16 years as a Project Manager.

I bring to the Trust a number of attributes gained through my business career including hard-work, organisational, planning and communication skills, people management and financial management.

Describe the passion that you feel for the Duke, and explain why you think that others should help to get the locomotive back in to working order.

The Duke is unique – it was the only class 8 locomotive built by British Railways. When it had been stripped in the late 1960s and the hulk sent to Barry scrapyard nobody thought it would ever steam again but a group of extremely dedicated people realised the Impossible Dream and restored it to the main line.

There is now a shortage of class 8 locomotives available for main line work – The Duke will be a welcome addition back to the ranks when the overhaul is completed.

Do you believe that there are now sufficient members of the new Trust, and do you think that the officers and trustee have sufficient breadth of experience to see the locomotive through an overhaul and then to manage it when it is back on the mainline?
The members of the Trust are its lifeblood and as such new members are always required, especially younger members as they are key to securing the Duke’s long-term future. I am convinced that the existing officers and Trustees have the experience, skills and knowledge to see the locomotive through its overhaul and manage it once it is back on the main line.

How long do you think it will take to get the Duke back ‘up-and-running’ again, and why do you believe this?
This should be achieved no later than Summer 2021. I see the excellent progress being made with the overhaul on a regular basis and see no reason why we will not achieve this.

What do you think is the most important next step towards getting the Duke back on the mainline, and why do you say that?
Increasing the Trust Membership is key as this will pay for the overhaul and fund main line running.

When the Duke is operational again, where would you like to see it running first, and why?
The Settle & Carlisle Railway is my favourite line and where I go regularly to photograph steam – fortunately I live less than an hour away from Ribblehead Viaduct. So it would have to be the ‘Long Drag’ for me.

What do your family and friends think about your involvement in the Trust? How do you manage your Duke-Life Balance?!?

My family are very supportive although sometimes I see my daughter’s face glaze over when I’m talking about the Duke. My friends are largely very interested as most of them are, or were, steam buffs.

As I’m now retired I have much more time for the Duke.

Updated March 2020