Back on track

October 2, 2008

Geoffrey Alderman has found a way of letting off steam now that he is semi-retired.

The professor of politics and contemporary history at the University of Buckingham is learning to drive a steam train, more than 50 years after he first rode on the footplate of a miner's train.

He said: "I'm learning to be a steam locomotive driver - it's a second career. My first doctorate was on the involvement of the private railway companies in British party politics in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. So I am not just something of an expert, I am the world's leading expert - let's not beat about the locomotive regulator here."

Professor Alderman, who is taking lessons on the Mid-Hampshire Railway, traces his love of trains to the 1940s.

"I grew up with railways; it's in my blood. But don't ever let anyone tell you that firing and driving a steam locomotive is anything other than bloody hard work."

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