Lytham St.Annes Coat of Arms
Lytham St.Annes, Lancashire, England


David Hughes

Newspaper report from 1933 about David Hughes, who at 91 years old was thought to be the oldest retired engine driver in the country. He was not connected with the local railways but had retired to Ansdell.

Blackpool Herald August 1935


Many Years' Pilot of the Royal Train.


Probably the oldest retired engine driver in the country, Mr. David Hughes, of Corwen, North Wales, until recently a frequent visitor to Lytham St. Annes, has ad a remarkable experience during his many years of service on the Great Western Railway.

Mr. Hughes, who has reached the age of 91, entered the service of the G.W.R. in 1864 and remained with them until 1906, when he retired. He spent many years on the footplate, being given charge of his first train in 1870, between Chester and London.

David Hughes

Mr. David Hughes.

His skill as a driver received the greatest acknowledgment it could have when he was appointed driver of the Royal train, and he became Queen Victoria's favourite driver. He drove the Queen on her last visit to Wales, and at her death piloted the train which conveyed her remains from Paddington to Windsor.


A singular honour befell Mr. Hughes when, in 1901, he was personally decorated by King Edward with the insignia and medal of the Royal Victorian Order. In the same year the directors of the Great Western Railway Company presented him with a bronze medallion in recognition of his faithful work in his service.

Before that, in 1892, he had received a letter of commendation from the G.W.R. directors, complimenting him upon his prompt and judicious action in saving the life of a man who had stepped in front of his engine near Paddington. He drove the last broad gauge train from Bristol to London.

In his lifetime he has met—and driven —many famous people.

During the Prince of Wales' tour of North Wales in 1934, Mr. Hughes and his wife, who died a short time ago, were presented to the Prince at Glyndyfrdwy, where the Prince opened a new institute.


Mr. J. H. Thomas, who in his younger, days knew Mr. Hughes so well, paid him a tribute in a letter to Mr. Hughes; son, Mr. R. D. Hughes, of Arundel Road, Ansdell. “When I was quite a young man there was no driver so respected as David Hughes." wrote Mr. Thomas.

Now this old gentleman living quietly in his beloved North Wales is finding fame in Germany, where his photograph is on view at the Nuremburg Railway Exhibition. An invitation has been issued to him to attend, but he may not be able to do so.

There his portrait will be displayed with those of other men who have become famous through one cause or another in the railway world.