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New Borders Railway train driver’s bittersweet family link

Kevin Slater, who is one of the new Borders Railway train drivers & recently discovered his great grandfather was also a train driver.

Kevin Slater, who is one of the new Borders Railway train drivers & recently discovered his great grandfather was also a train driver.

One of the first drivers in the hotseat on the new Borders Railway has discovered a family connection with his new job – but with a tragic twist.

Kevin Slater (40), originally from Bilston, recently decided on a career change after working as a postman for nearly 25 years, the same job his grandfather had for many years.

However, when he applied to re-train as a train driver on the soon to be re-opened Borders Railway, Kevin had no idea that he was following in the footsteps of another family member.

He said: “It was my mother [Lorna] that told me my great grandfather Frank Wilson was a train driver, she didn’t mention anything until I got a certain way through the process of getting the job.”

But this delight at the unknown family link took a sad turn when Kevin was told the full story.

He said: “My grandfather (John) was taken to the Stalag prisoner of war (POW) camp in Poland.

“At that time my great grandfather used to drive the train down south and it just so happened the other driver he regularly met down in London, his son was a POW too. So they became quite friendly.

“They reckon my great grandfather was crossing the line at Carlisle to meet his friend when he was knocked down and killed.

“So he never saw his son return from war.”

Read more in the December 19 edition of the Midlothian Advertiser.

 

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