Le 25 septembre 2015 notre ami David Black nous a quitté après avoir lutté contre un mal que nous connaissons bien et qui nous prend ceux que nous aimons.
Son ami Bob qui lui aussi a partagé avec nous de bons moments en France et au Pays de Galles lui rend hommage.
David John Black
12th August 1952 - 15th September 2015
Well respected in the narrow and miniature railway world David was a long standing member of the Heywood Society. He had a BA in Industrial Design and was for many years Chief Mechanical Engineer at the Fairbourne Railway and the owner of Mawddach Pottery and a potter in Fairbourne.
He also had a spell in France in 1978 helping to develop the Réseau Guerlédan in Brittany returning to Wales to work at the Bala Lake Railway for eight years. He played a major part in the revival of the railway which had suffered from lack of investment for a number of years. As well as his engineering work he organised volunteer working parties on lineside clearance, fencing and the resleepering of major sections of track. He quickly gained the respect and affection of volunteers and staff alike. A major achievement during this time was the support, time and effort he lent to friend Chris Scott after Chris’s purchase of what remained of Quarry Hunslet Alice. That Alice is still a sought after turn at Bala is a tribute to David’s skill and commitment.
There follow a period at the Ffestiniog Railway where he was kept busy as fleet manager, a role which grew tremendously with the reopening of the Welsh Highland Railway. This is when I really got to know David as we worked together one winter on NG15 Garratt 138 which had recently arrived from South Africa in less than the promised perfect state. The Boston Lodge Works had recently taken on the overhaul of Bernard Latham’s ex Cilgwyn Quarry Hunslet Lilla. David almost single handed completed the task. Lilla stayed at the Ffestiniog and was eventually purchased for the Railway by a group of volunteers of which one was David. Again without David’s knowledge and skill this would have come to naught. As it was, he dedicated much time to the further improvement of the locomotive. Key in my mind was the time he spent teaching myself and others the basic skills of locomotive maintenance such as boiler washouts, locomotive preparation and coal firing. David always made sure that novices like myself got plenty of enjoyment following the work we had done together. I well remember taking Lilla from Boston Lodge to Blaenau Ffestiniog with David and Keith Cranfield one dark evening in preparation for a photo charter weekend.
David took a redundancy package from the FR in 2002 and went back to his first love, the restoration and construction of miniature locomotives at his home in Arthog. Notable in this was the restoration of a 15" Peruvian Cagney and the construction of a ¼ scale replica of one of the Chilean North British 2’ 6" gauge 2-8-0 locomotives. During this time he also became the proud owner of Aveling and Porter Steamroller XD 8230 which had at one time been the property of Camden Council in London and, after war service, had been buried in Cumberland Housing Estate Park. David could often be seen trundling about the lanes around his home with new wife Ritta. Their home at Arthog had by now become my bolt hole on North Wales where myself and Keith Cranfield were royally welcomed on many occasions before being transported to Boston Lodge or later Pendre on the Talyllyn Railway to assist David. David and Ritta were rightly proud of the wealth of home grown produce they produced at Arthog which they fed to many guests over the years.
I mention the Talyllyn Railway as by now David had been contracted to assist with the overhaul of Locomotive No. 1 Talyllyn, a locomotive very dear to his heart. Of course the locomotive was returned to traffic in tip top condition. An overhaul of No. 6 Douglas followed. In 2010 David was again called on to help with the overhaul and commissioning of a new boiler on No. 2 Dolgoch in time for the 2011 commemoration of the first train run under preservation.
David and Ritta celebrated their 10th wedding anniversary with a special train on the TR in November 2011. David carried on with his work at Arthog but during 2013 he was diagnose with bowel cancer. Despite his loathing of hospitals he gamely accepted the various procedures and treatments he was offered. David was thrilled during this time to become a proud grandfather to Tom and his wife’s daughter Amélie. He seemed to be doing well but in summer 2015 the cancer returned. He died at home on 15th September. His packed funeral at Aberystwyth Crematorium demonstrated the affection and esteem in which David was held by so many. The TR hosted a reception afterwards and ran a special train to Quarry Siding for mourners.
Our deepest sympathies are extended to wife Ritta, his sons Merion and Tom and sister Gillian.
Nous apprenons par le Dauphinée.com, le
décès d'un des pionniers de la sauvegarde du patrimoine
ferroviaire. Ingénieur aux Onmibus et Tramway de Lyon (OTL), c'est lui
qui a sauvegardé le Chemin de fer du Vivarais dans les années 60.