1933 - 2013
Alan Skellern's Railway career started from school in 1947 on London & North Eastern Railway, as Telegraph Lad in Finsbury Park No. 5 Signal box. He was Porter Signalman at Winchmore Hill and also Bayford 1950-1951, then he did his National service in the Royal Corps of Signals to 1953, then Signalman in various boxes in the London area until January 1961. He was a F.R. volunteer from 1957 to 1960 (S&T Dept.) as a participant in the London Area Group's working parties. From his mainline experience he was familiar with signaling systems and proved to be adept at diagnosing and fixing problems with signals and telegraph equipment. He was F.R. permanent staff from January 1961 to February 1973 at first as Booking Clerk and general factotum at Harbour Station. As the peak season traffic boomed on the FR, Alan became the most important member of the Operating Department staff at Harbour Station, overseeing the Booking Office and Shop. He also oversaw the work of the seasonally-employed and volunteer (mainly student) Guards and Buffet Car staff. He also took on the role of Senior Controller. He worked very long hours - up to 99 per week. Work on the FR was not very well remunerated and in early 1973 he left the railway for better paid and more regular employment in the Porthmadog GPO telephone exchange. For this period he was a volunteer on the FR with the S&T Dept until 1977. He rejoined the permanent staff February 1977 to retirement at the end of March 1998. His employment in the S&T section was as Supervising Maintenance Technician 1977 to 1998. In 1998 & 1999 he was Volunteer Booking Clerk covering Caernarfon, two days a week in 1999.
Alan married Rhiannon Rouse, née Evans in the 1960s but the marriage was marred by tragedy when their son Jonathon was killed in an accident on the Trawsfynydd-Bala road at an unfortunately early age. Alan had interests outside of railways and was a member of the local rifle club, Madoc amateur dramatic society, the Porthmadog and District Amateur Radio Society, a licensed radio ham and Criccieth Starlight Players.
At the time of his death Alan was engaged in the refurbishment of the 12-lever Westinghouse L-type miniature frame for the Harbour Station re-signaling project.
FR Heritage Group Journal No, 113 contains a personal appreciation by Fred Howes.
- "Alan Skellern 1933 - 2013", Ffestiniog Railway Magazine, Issue 221, page(s): 317