Ray Bapty

Holbeck shed’s Stanier Black Five 45219 on a Down freight train in July 1964. The loco was built at the Armstrong Whitworth factory in Newcastle in 1935 and cut up for scrap at Ward’s of Killamarsh in February 1968. Photo by Alan Bailey.

Ray Bapty grew up in the Burmantofts area of Leeds and started work for the newly created British Railways in 1949 in the forwarding office at Leeds Hunslet Lane goods station. After serving for two years with the RAF, in 1953 he returned to ask for his old job back but instead was sent to work as a clerk at Woodlesford. He stayed for two years before being promoted to District Relief Clerk working at stations throughout the West Riding.

He went on to the booking offices at both Leeds City and Leeds Central stations and then moved to the Area Office in Aire Street in Leeds. Further promotion took him to the Chief Mechanical Engineer’s office in York and he retired from British Rail in 1990 after a long spell with the BR Property Board.

Ray fondly remembers his time at Woodlesford working with fellow clerks Dennis Jackson and Joe Jessop, porters Freddie James and Joe Harrison, and station master Tom Swaby who he describes as a “true gentleman”.

Click on the links below to hear Ray recollect the daily routine at Woodlesford and how delivery driver Jack Gibbs had regular encounters with a local lady and her false leg! 

Ray Bapty – They didn’t get a right lot of passengers

Ray Bapty – You never knew what was coming next

Ray Bapty in his RAF uniform.