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Richard Westwood is a retired English teacher who has been a local councillor since 1989. He is of the first generation of his family not to have worked on the railways for approximately 150 years; his father was a 'passed' fireman and then a linesman or 'signals and telecommunication technician', his mother was a wartime booking office clerk and his grandfathers/great-grandfathers were shunters, locomotive shed fitters, and engine drivers on both the GWR and the LMS prior to nationalisation, and on British Railways afterwards. He does, however, have a lifelong interest in Britain's railways.

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