Bob Randall was born in 1950 and raised in Orpington, Kent. From an early age he thrilled to the steam engines on the Kent Coast line, whether it was gleaming Britannia class William Shakespeare at the head of the Golden Arrow or a grubby C class goods engine trundling along with the pick up freight.
Steam power in Kent came to an end in 1961 when the electrics took over. But carefully saved earnings from his paper round allowed Bob to venture further afield. He would regularly visit London termini – brief stops at Waterloo, Paddington, Euston, St Pancras, King's Cross and Liverpool Street could all be achieved in the one day – and gradually his ABC loco book gathered more ticks!
Shed bashing was also a popular pastime and, when he was flush with funds, rail tours added variety to locations visited.
But one by one Britain’s railway lines succumbed to diesel or electric power and by 1968 mainline steam was finished. The industrial lines that soldiered on with steam for a few more years were largely (and now regretfully) overlooked by Bob who by this time was more interested in girls than in steam trains!
Many (many!) years later and Bob has rekindled his interest in steam railways and now spends a lot of his time taking photographs of Heritage Railways and rail tours.
Bob has worked as a graphic designer for over 50 years and has recently turned his hand to writing, designing and self-publishing books about steam locomotives.