Chris Walker

Chris looks after the financial affairs of Tornado. Chris has had various responsibilities since he became an active volunteer with the Trust in 2008; prior to that he was ‘just’ a covenantor paying his monthly dues. He was born in Leeds to a Lancashire father and a Yorkshire mother. The result of that was that his father was an LMS man and his other relations were all LNER! The family moved to Derby from 1944 until 1949, before returning to Leeds. His father worked at Farnley Junction and later Holbeck shed until retirement. His favourite uncle was a signalman at Holbeck Junction and Beeston Station ‘boxes and visits to see him at work were the start of interest in Peppercorn class A1s.

Having finished school he spent time at Leeds Technical College. During this time he had a Saturday job at Boots in Leeds on the chemist counter. After finishing at the technical College, he got a full time job in the chemist stockroom at the Boots shop.  Chris left Boots in 1963 and started a career in the bus industry, rather than rail operations like the rest of the family. He went to work at what was then Leeds City Transport (LCT) as a schedules clerk. LCT was one of the first operators to have radios fitted to buses and Chris was transferred for a spell in the radio control room so was one of the earliest radio operators.

After a spell back in the schedules office, he was offered the chance to go on the Municipal Passenger Transport Association’s (MPTA) Executive Training Course. This involved working at four different bus operators for six months each.  After finishing the MPTA course, Chris returned to Leeds for a short period in the planning office but was then offered a job with what was now West Midlands PTE at Wolverhampton. Starting there as District Road Officer on 1st April 1970, he was responsible for all route operations. His first task was to merge the old separate trolleybus and motorbus routes into a more efficient network. In 1976 he moved to Walsall as District Traffic Superintendent and in 1980 became Operations Manager.  With privatisation in 1986 he was seconded to the Information Technology Department on a temporary basis to develop systems that would be essential for viable commercial operations. As is the case with many temporary secondments, this one lasted until Chris left the PTE in September 1993. He was asked to set up a UK subsidiary company for a Canadian firm dealing with computer scheduling software for transport operations.

His first involvement in merchandising was when Tornado started running at the GCR at Loughborough. He volunteered for the sales stand at the station, selling a very basic selection of Tornado items. The money taken was just collected in a bag and taken home; no receipts or till balances. By the end of the first week, there was about £7,000 in cash in his car. It was eventually handed over to David Elliott for transport to Darlington to be banked. Chris was then approached to be merchandise volunteer co-ordinator, ensuring that teams of sales volunteers were available in the right place at the right time.  Chris has done spells on the support crew and in 2010 project-managed the reassembly of Tornado after the boiler had been back to Germany for repair of the firebox.  With the retirement of Barry Wilson as Finance Director, Chris was asked if he could take over the book-keeping role for the remaining parts of the Trust.  In 2014, Chris was approached about becoming a Trustee and was appointed to this position in April of that year.