On Friday June 23, Peter Watts named GBRf Class 69 No. 69006 at Gloucester Railway Station to celebrate his 50th anniversary in the railtour industry.

An eight month secret plan came to fruition as eighty guests, including industry colleagues and Pathfinder stewards, gathered to witness the unveiling.

With thanks to GBRf and rail industry partners planning for the event commence back in October 2022 and resulted in one of the latest Class 69s to enter traffic being named Pathfinder Railtours. The decoys involved in the event to ensure that Peter remained unaware were varied, including false light engine timings to ensure that his inquisitive nature did not give the game away!

Peter drew back the curtains to reveal the name 'Pathfinder Railtours' along with a sub-plate stating 'Peter Watts 50 years service 1973-2023'

The two locomotives involved in the event, Nos. 69005 and 69006 worked light engine from Doncaster Roberts Road to Gloucester ahead of working the company’s 'Mazey Day' excursion the following day to Penzance.

Peter's wife, Jane, and two daughters Hannah and Katie have assisted and supported Peter throughout his railtouring career and were present to watch the unveiling at Gloucester.

In addition to friends and family, the guest list also included Pathfinder stewards past and present, various chums from the Rail industry, and even a small number of passengers who were on the very first tour back in 1973. Peter’s shock at realising what was going on following his arrival at Gloucester by train, with his two son-in-laws, apparently for a family lunch was overwhelming, although his verbal reaction was somewhat unrepeatable!

Peter commented, “Pathfinder is a family organisation, and, while it may be my name mentioned on the plate on the locomotive, it is undoubtably the effort of the entire team over the years that has got the company to where it is today.”

To date, Peter has organised over 1,100 Railtours in the past 50 years, raised well over £100,000 for charity and covered the vast majority of the rail network in Great Britain. Long may it continue.