A career railwayman of some 39 years Paul comes from a family of rail workers dating back to 1841. Paul had an inevitable enthusiasm for all things rail and for steam in particular. After ‘A’ levels in 1979 he deferred the lure of university ‘til later in life and joined British Railways Operations Department in York. Initially in Signalling & Accidents he moved into the maintenance control looking after locomotive maintenance scheduling before taking an area operating role at Bounds Green depot in 1982. Here he met fellow A1 Trust member, Richard Peck, and in 1984 joined Richard at Thornaby depot. This was the period when DMU operations were transferred to Teesside after the closure of Darlington depot.
After marrying Sue in 1985, Darlington was once again playing a greater part in the Bruce life and they have made it their home ever since. In 1988 Paul took a role as Operating Manager at Heaton Depot, restructuring the cleaning and operations team to reflect the increasing move of the workload to nights. He set up a dedicated team to look after the presentation of the then Tees-Tyne Pullman. A similar venture yielded rewards, and awards, when he managed the postal fleet based there for Rail Express Systems.
After secondment to the Engineering HQ in Derby during the early 90s he became Fleet Commercial Manager for Regional Railway North East in Leeds. That caused paths to cross again with Richard during negotiations with First North Western for depot servicing. Responsible for managing stores and stock holdings as well as heavy maintenance and train refurbishments it was the period leading into privatisation. With a move to York he eventually became Head of Procurement and Head of Property in RRNE’s successor organisations of Northern Spirit, Arriva Trains North East and Northern Rail.
Having long hankered to ‘go it alone’, 2006 saw Paul finally taking the leap into being self-employed and with a specialism in procurement, rail franchising and the Access Regulations he has been kept busy ever since. His commissions have involved mobilising a number of new franchises including East Midlands Trains, Southern Rail, Anglia and more recently Caledonian Sleeper. He has also occupied various interim roles such as Head of Rail Procurement for Stagecoach, Lead Procurement Manager for Tube Lines as well as Lead Procurement and Head of Regulatory for HS1 supporting the sale of the High Speed rail network in 2010.
More recently he could be found around the Highlands of Scotland with Caledonian Sleeper delivering new facilities such as Guest Lounges, introducing wi-fi to Corrour (the UK’s highest and most remote main line station) as well as supporting the introduction of the new Mk5 overnight sleeper trains. It was this period in Scotland where he was working with Graeme Bunker, the Trust’s Operations Director. After a number of discussions over merlot, the link to the Trust grew and he took on the role of project manager for the Trust’s new Whessoe Road steam depot which will provide a new home for Tornado, Prince of Wales, the V4 and the new train, joining the board of Trustees in 2017. His key area of focus with the Trust is property management but he is also the Trust’s representative on Darlington Council’s Rail Heritage Steering Group Board. This is driving development of the North Road Railway Heritage Quarter and its part in the 2025 celebrations.