THE boss of Nene Valley Railway has retired – so he can spend more time playing with trains.
Cris Rees, 61, has been general manager at the steam train attraction near Stibbington for five-and-a-half years, after 35 years working in the travel industry.
He is officially retiring in March but staff let him hand over the reins on Christmas Eve, so he has more time to work as a volunteer with the trains at Nene Valley Railway.
He said: “I’ve always wanted to train as a signal man and be in the signal box but I knew if I did that while I was a paid member of staff I would never get any work done. It’s going to be lovely to come back as a volunteer and help out.
“It’s a win-win situation because I’ll still be contributing something to the railway and also get to play with trains. It’s what I wanted to do all those years ago when I first moved to this area.”
Cris got involved with Nene Valley Railway in 1981 after he moved to Peterborough to work for Thomas Cook.
The father-of-three would take regular walks, first with his dogs and later with his children and was fascinated by the passing steam trains.
After being made redundant from Thomas Cook he took several management jobs at other travel firms in London. In 2006, fed up with the commute, he applied for the Nene Valley Railway position and was surprised to be offered the job.
In his retirement, as well as spending time at the railway, he will serve on the boards of the probation service and the Greater Peterborough Partnership.
He will also be on hand to give advice to Hannah Hackett who is temporarily taking over the railway’s manager’s role before trustees make a decision about his replacement in January.
She said: “We’d miss him if he was leaving but thankfully he is coming back as a volunteer.”