GWR stalwart signals end to 55-year career at Reading station

Wednesday 16th December 2020

Pat started as a porter on January 24, 1966, and this Christmas Eve will signal the end to nearly 55 years of sterling service, stepping down from his current role on the ticket gateline.

Colleagues will gather at the station on Wednesday, December 23, for a socially-distanced retirement party.

GWR staff member Pat Kemp in front of Reading General sign
Mr Versatile: Pat Kemp started at Reading in 1966. The station was known as Reading General
between 1949 and 1974 to distinguish it from the neighbouring ex-South Eastern Railway station

The 76-year-old from Caversham said: 

“You could definitely call me Mr Versatile. I’ve done quite a few jobs down the years, probably the only one I haven’t done is station manager!

“It has been lovely to work with some great colleagues and I’ve always enjoyed meeting the customers – I’ve got friendly with quite a few of them over time. I’ve also seen some famous faces pass through, people like the Princess Royal and the late comedian Frank Carson.”

GWR staff member Pat Kemp in front of Christmas tree
Festive farewell: Pat Kemp retires on Christmas Eve

Reading station has changed significantly during Pat’s career, with the opening of a new concourse including the Brunel shopping arcade in 1989 and its £897m transformation delivering five new platforms in 2014.

GWR staff member Pat Kemp in front of train with station manager
Stalwart: Pat with Flagship Station Manager David Pinder

GWR Flagship Station Manager at Reading, David Pinder, said:

“Pat’s worked in three very different sorts of station and he’s a part of the fixtures and fittings. He’s got an excellent attendance record, has always been friendly towards customers and is well liked by colleagues. He’s going to be sorely missed.”

Pat started off as a member of the parcel post team, helping to sort mail for distribution across the country. He then worked in train dispatch and assisted as a chargeman, helping to shunt trains into sidings.

After 35 years in dispatch he took on a role in the assisted travel team in 2000 before moving across to the ticket gateline in 2009.

“Looking back I think working on the gateline has been one of the best jobs I’ve had. I’m going to miss it but I intend to come back and say hello. It will be nice to actually get to travel on the train and I fancy travelling down to Cheltenham and coming back via Worcester.”

As well as those train trips, Pat is also planning a holiday to Scotland with wife Elaine and intends to spend more time with his three daughters and five grandchildren.

Notes to editors
Great Western Railway (GWR) provides high speed, commuter, regional and branch line train services. We help over 100 million passengers reach their destinations every year - across South Wales, the West Country, the Cotswolds, and large parts of Southern England.

We’re currently seeing the biggest investment in the network since Brunel so we can offer more trains, more seats, and shorter, more frequent journeys and continue the network’s heritage of helping connect more businesses to new and prosperous markets. Through a series of initiatives we aim to be a good neighbour to the communities we serve and are committed to making a positive social impact in those regions. Learn how we're Building a Greater West at GWR is a FirstGroup company.