A former Colonel in the British Army, Steve has been a lifelong railway enthusiast, and is involved in a significant number of heritage railway projects both on a professional and voluntary basis. Born in 1959 and raised in Darwen in Lancashire, his youth and formative years were spent in the heart of industrial Lancashire in the dying days of steam on the main lines of British Railways, with his railway interests heavily influenced by his grandfather, a former driver at Lower Darwen engine shed. Steve joined the Army at 16 as an electronics apprentice, entering Sandhurst at the age of 18. Commissioned into The Queen’s Lancashire Regiment in 1978, his Army career saw him serve in a wide variety of countries, many on operations. He rose to become the Commanding Officer of his Regiment. He enjoyed two tours in the Ministry of Defence in London engaged at the military/political strategic level, and his final military appointment was as Chief of Staff of a Division with responsibility for military planning across 45% of the UK land mass.
It was whilst on secondment to the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces that he exercised his personal initiative to create the Country’s National Railway Museum. On retirement from the Army he subsequently served as Director of the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester then as Director of the National Railway Museum. During his time at the NRM, Steve achieved possibly the most incredible and imaginative project ever seen in the history of railway preservation by bringing together all six surviving Class A4 Pacific steam locomotives, two of which were resident on the other side of the Atlantic. This allowed the 75th anniversary of Mallard’s world record-breaking 126 mph run to be celebrated in considerable style, attracting literally hundreds of thousands of visitors to York and Shildon, some from the other side of the World.
A natural leader, organiser and communicator, Steve has had wide experience on TV and radio, notably appearing in the ‘Caravan Train’ episode of Top Gear, and his railway heritage consultancy also managed the development of the Channel 4 carriage restoration series fronted by Peter Snow. Steve has been working alongside the Trustees at The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust in an advisory capacity for some time, and recently formed part of the negotiating team at Meiningen resulting in the placement of the order for two new boilers, joining the Board in 2019.