Operations Director

Huw Parker

huw.parker@a1steam.com

Huw was a serving Lieutenant Colonel with the Corps of Royal Engineers, which he joined directly from school through RMA Sandhurst in 1980 and was commissioned in 1981.  He has held a variety of military appointments and seen tours of duty ranging from the Falkland Islands, Germany, Canada, Northern Ireland, the Balkans and the Middle East.  Latterly, he has been based at the Defence Equipment and Support organisation in Bristol where he has primarily been responsible for Deployable Infrastructure, Protected Mobility and Logistic Vehicles.

Only just old enough to remember steam on the mainline, he has been told that watching trains from his pushchair gave his mother some respite from an energetic two year old!  Born and brought up in Formby, he has memories of watching steam locos for hours (probably Jinties!) shunting the coal yard at Freshfield Station on the Liverpool-Southport line and having to be prised away from the chain link fence when it was time to go home!  He was only five when he joined his father and uncle following No. 70013 Oliver Cromwell through to Southport and out over the Moss towards Wigan on one of the last days of steam specials.

Huw began his involvement within the Railway Preservation scene at Steamport Southport as the embryonic railway centre began to develop the ex-Southport MPD (27C) into a local transport museum.  H&S rules were much more relaxed in those early years and he began as a very junior member at the age of 11.  Along with members of the Liverpool Locomotive Preservation Group, he became involved with the restoration of ex-LMS Jinty 0-6-0T, No. 7298 after owner Derek Foster asked if he wanted a “little job”.  Years of mentoring and encouragement by Derek followed, to say nothing of collecting up tools and chasing after a youngster who kept finding the next job before the first was finished!  He took part in the Rocket 150 Rainhill Cavalcade celebrations, where No. 7298 became the yard shunter and helped to marshal locomotives and stock prior to the main event and the subsequent exhibition at Bold Colliery.  He moved to the Llangollen Railway in North Wales when the Jinty visited there in 1981 and after a spell at the East Lancashire Railway with both No. 7298 and No. 76079, Llangollen became his home railway. After many years helping to look after No. 7298, often travelling back from Germany and other overseas locations to spend time with the locomotive, Huw eventually bought it from Derek in 1998 and operated the locomotive with support from the Llangollen until it was recently sold.

Huw first became involved with Tornado when the A1 visited Llangollen for the very successful Betton Grange ‘Steam, Steel and Stars III Gala’ in 2012 and he was the rostered driver for several turns during the locomotive’s visit. Tornado opened the first section of the extension to Corwen, which Huw and a small group of individuals had planned and built in the previous 12 months.  Although not driving the first train, he enjoyed the experience so much that he took an offer to join them for a run on the Mainline. Since those first turns as a support crew member, Huw is now responsible for managing the database of A1SLT support crew volunteers.  As Huw is the first to acknowledge, supporting Tornado is very much a team effort; our DB Cargo Footplate Crews, Support Crew, Merchandising Team and even the chef are key to ensuring that any trip is a success.