Peter Townend – A Life Remembered Additional Resources

In a special extra episode of Green Signals (published on December 11), we remembered the life of rail elder statesman Peter Norman Townend who died on October 18th at the grand old age of 98.

A railwayman whose career began in 1941 at the age of 16, as a premium apprentice for the London & North Eastern Railway at Doncaster ‘Plant’ – as its headquarters was known locally – Peter was undoubtedly best-known for his time as Shedmaster at ‘Top Shed’ at London’s King’s Cross during the last great days of steam, in the later 1950s and early 1960s.

Peter’s is a legendary name to many on and around the railway. After steam went, he served the emerging modern industry with distinction too, as the King’s Cross Divisional Traction & Rolling Stock Engineer and took early retirement in 1984.

To the end of his days, Peter acted as a unique adviser to organisations including the National Railway Museum and the A1 Steam Locomotive Trust, during its audacious building of Tornado. No-one understood the Gresley ‘Pacific’ in particular like Peter Townend. In his days at King’s Cross, he had a squadron of 40 ‘Pacifics’ in his care.

We’ve collated below a series of photographs from Peter’s life that were kindly provided by the guests on our special episode: Tony Streeter (Associate Editor, Trackside magazine), Steve Davies (Former Director, NRM), and Mark Townend (Peter’s son).

Our special Green Signals tribute to Peter N Townend was drawn up to present a picture of the man as well as the railway manager and engineer. This group of photographs from the Townend family album, of Peter and Daphne, with Mark and Wendy, continues that theme. With many thanks to Mark Townend for making these family snaps available, to fill out our overall picture of Peter.