Kenny Middlemist is the last footplateman
from the days of steam on the Alnwick line and, like his father before him, was based at the locomotive shed at Alnmouth.
Bedford OBE - awarded for his services to journalism in the New Year's Honours of 1982 - was born in 1921 in Walton, near Wakefield, the only child of a railway footplateman
. He was educated at Wakefield Academy and learned to play the piano, winning the open class for under-14s at the 1934 London Musical Festival.
Gerald also sent me his father's reminiscences as a footplateman
, going right back to 1925 when he joined the LMS as an engine cleaner and "knocker-up" through to driving on the notorious Settle-Carlisle line and taking a Merchant Navy Pacific on a special from Birmingham New Street to York.
He also gained railway experience as an LMS footplateman
Alongside is Gary Blackburn, an IT manager from Castleford, aged 45, a veteran footplateman
who says "she sounds like a sewing machine at 70mph" on the East Coast Main Line.