Graham is responsible for the day to day maintenance and editing of the A1 and P2 websites, managing The Trust Facebook pages and YouTube channels and editing ‘The Communication Cord’, ‘The Tornado Telegraph’ and ‘The Mikado Messenger’, ensuring that The Trust’s primary points of contact for covenantors and the public are kept up to date.
Graham’s involvement with the A1 Steam Locomotive Trust dates back to his first donation in 2002 and attendance at the 2004 Convention after which he got steadily more drawn into the machinery of Trust operations! Upon discovering that Graham was working with websites, in 2008 Mark Allatt ‘persuaded’ him to take on the day to day management of the Trust website, in line with an A1SLT policy of fitting ‘square pegs into square holes’.
You could say that steam is in Graham’s genes; his great-grandfather, Carl Langer, a chemist who developed the fuel cell, was a railway enthusiast, as was his son, Carl, who served with Welsh Regiment in WW1 before taking up farming, as was Graham’s father, Charles, who was a talented model engineer and President of the Tonbridge Model Engineering Society. Growing up on a farm in East Sussex in the 1960s with a 31/2” gauge railway in the garden ensured that Graham had little chance of avoiding the steam bug and regular trips to fetch cattle feed from Hodson’s Mill in Robertsbridge with his father allowed him to enjoy his first footplate rides on the SE&CR ‘P’ Class which had been acquired by the mill following the closure of the Kent & East Sussex Railway.
As soon as he was old enough (well, eleven actually) Graham started volunteering on the fledgling K&ESR at Rolvenden, initially helping in the Locomotive Department under the eyes of Colin Edwards and Jack Hoad, one of the original Colonel Stephens’ drivers. He remembers helping to repaint one of the Terriers, Sutton, and being the ideal size to be inserted into parts of a locomotive which adults couldn’t reach, including the smokeboxes of the Terriers! Involvement in the preservation movement brought him into contact with David Dore and this resulted in his making trips to Peterborough to work on the de Glehn Compound 4-6-0 No. 3.628 when she was active on the Nene Valley Railway (leading to a life-long admiration for the work of French locomotive engineers). In his late teens Graham’s railway modelling interests grew to encompass 16mm scale live steam in the garden and attending college in Tonbridge enabled him to enjoy travelling there on the Hastings line ‘Thumpers’, often in the cab if the driver was local.
A degree in Landscape Architecture was followed by a number of years working with horses, both in the UK and Ireland, then seven years in the wine trade before a complete change of course found Graham moving to Herefordshire to farm in the mid-90s. In 1999 he married Jackie, the daughter of a senior BR railwayman herself, and it was the arrival of their daughter in 2003 that led to a further change of career, Graham finding a role with a local online model railway retailer, a job out of which he was head-hunted by his current business partner, Ian Pearse of Accucraft, makers of small scale live steam engines! In 2018 he was appointed Managing Director of Accucraft UK Ltd. and is also involved in the UK distribution of Aster-Accucraft products.
To ensure he didn’t spend his entire life in front of a PC, Graham also joined Tornado’s support crew during her first few years on the mainline but pressures of work and the locomotive being based in London have prevented him fulfilling this duty of late. One consolation is that his firm was able to produce a limited run of Gauge 1, live steam models of No. 60163, allowing to him present the Trust with £10,000 commission from sales, a perfect way to mix business and hobby! In 2017 he was appointed a trustee and director of the A1 Steam Locomotive Trust.