The award-winning South Devon Railway (SDR) will be honouring one of its own popular volunteers on Saturday 25th February 2017 with a special memorial train ‘Running Day’ to celebrate the life of the late John Frood.
Tragically, John was passed out as a Class 09 diesel Driver just days before he died suddenly from a heart attack in November 2016, aged just 56.
John, who was a passionate supporter of Class 33 diesel locos and railways in general, was also an active member of the South Devon Diesel Traction group, the South Devon Railway Association, the Branch Line Society and Irish Traction Group.
Over the years, he had also arranged rail tours himself under the Merlin Railtours brand and was a keen loco timing enthusiast.
His packed funeral was attended by some 250 mourners in Exeter with a collection for the British Heart Foundation, and ended with a sound recording of his favourite Class 33 loco No. 33002 departing from a station stop. The loco will also bear a memorial plaque to him in the cab.
So, in a fitting tribute to John, it’s planned that Class 33 diesel loco No. 33002/D6501 will run a ‘top and tailed’ train operation over the SDR with a steam loco for train heating throughout the day in his memory complete with a personal head-board and wreath. The SDR’s Class 25 diesel will be providing cover if needed.
John worked all his life at the Post Office in Exeter until retiring in 2015. He was a Union Health and Safety Rep with the Communication Workers Union (CWU) at the Exeter sorting office area, but covered most of Devon with his work.
Normal travelling fares for the ‘Running Day’ will apply and the SDR café will be open for refreshments with the SDR’s Red four-train timetable expected to be in operation. There will also be an earlier private ceremony around 10.00 in which his ashes will be scattered down the railway line by his family and close friends.
Trains will run as normal to Totnes during the day on 25th February so people arriving by mainline train can get to the SDR easily via the Totnes footbridge which is being opened up specially that day.
A picture of John Frood driving the Class 09 diesel at the South Devon Rly is attached. He was also passed out on the SDR’s Diesel Multiple Unit and, in time, was looking forward to driving his much loved Class 33 too.
Details for the Tribute ‘Running Day’ on the South Devon Railway – John Frood Memorial Day WTTFollow