Avanti West Coast Team Leader, Brian Farish, at Carlisle station where he first began his railway career in 1973

Avanti West Coast employee reaches half a century on railway

Now arriving at a 50-year career milestone: Avanti West Coast Team Leader, Brian Farish, reaches half a century on the railway.

  • Avanti West Coast Team Leader, Brian Farish, reaches 50 years’ service on railway
  • Milestone makes him one of longest current serving employees on West Coast
  • Brian joined the railway in 1973 following in the footsteps of his dad and grandad

A Cumbrian railwayman who is Carlisle station’s longest serving member of staff has achieved 50 years’ service on the West Coast Main Line.  

Team Leader, Brian Farish, 67, who has worked on the railway in Cumbria for five decades joins a handful of colleagues across Avanti West Coast’s route to reach this milestone. It also means his family’s connection to the rail industry has spanned nearly 80 years.

After a local recruitment drive by the rail industry, Brian left sixth form to join the railway in 1973 – following in the footsteps of his dad and grandad who both spent most of their working lives in the industry.

His dad worked as a Goods Guard, which saw him check boxes of ammunition during the Falklands War. While Brian’s grandad was a wheeltapper responsible for inspecting train wheels for signs of stress and fractures.

Brian started his first job in the Admin Office at Carlisle on his 17th birthday – when Sir Edward Heath was Prime Minister and rock band Slade were number one in the UK album chart. His role saw him tasked with issuing ID passes for over 3,000 railway workers, which involved him handwriting the names of each member of staff onto their passes when they came to the admin window. A year later Brian moved into a customer-facing role in Carlisle’s Travel Office.

In 1975, he became an Area GPR (General Purpose Relief) – covering different jobs at Cumbrian stations, including Appleby, Carlisle, Penrith, Whitehaven, and Windermere.

He then returned to Carlisle in 1983 – carrying out roles in the ticket office and on the platform – where he has been ever since. Brian took up the role of Platform Team Leader 13 years ago – working with 30 colleagues to assist customers and dispatch nearly 200 trains that serve the station every day.  

The Farish family have been closely associated with Cumbria’s railways since the 1940s. With half a century of service under his belt, Brian is now the longest serving railwayman of his family.

Reflecting on his career, Brian said: “It has been great to work across stations in Cumbria and continue my family’s connection to the region’s railway. I enjoy the variety it brings. No two days are the same and you get to meet lots of different people.

“The railway is special – it’s like one big family. I’ve worked with some brilliant colleagues that always look out for one another through the good times and the bad.”

One of Brian’s fondest memories of his career was the shifts he spent at Appleby station on the Settle to Carlisle line because the team treated one another as family, and it was a cosy place for staff and customers with the roaring fire in the station building.

“I love helping others and playing a part in getting them on their way – whether it’s to visit a friend or relative, travel to work or follow their football team. Knowing I’ve made their journey that little bit easier gives me real job satisfaction and is what keeps me going! I also enjoy interacting with people and the jobs I’ve held over the last 50 years have allowed me to do this every day,” Brian added.

Michael Byrne, Avanti West Coast Station Manager at Carlisle, said: “Brian has been an integral part of the team for many years and we’re all very proud of him reaching 50 years on the railway. As the longest serving member of the team at Carlisle, he’s a friendly face to many colleagues on the west coast, as well as the local community.

“Brian always takes pride in his work and is happiest when he’s helping customers. On behalf of Avanti West Coast, I’d like to congratulate Brian on his achievement and thank him for all he’s done.”


Contact Information

Laura Normansell

Avanti West Coast


Notes to editors

Main image: Avanti West Coast Team Leader, Brian Farish, at Carlisle station.

About Avanti West Coast   

Avanti West Coast, operator of intercity rail services on the West Coast Main Line, is a joint venture between FirstGroup and Trenitalia, delivering a cleaner, greener railway that drives the West Coast forward.

We’re on a mission to revolutionise train travel. Our refurbed Pendolinos are returning to the rails, with a £117m investment that’s delivering best in class comfort. Rebuilt using sustainable materials wherever possible, including tables made from recycled plastic bottles, our upgraded fleet offers 25,000 brand new seats, free Wi-Fi, onboard recycling and much more.

New Hitachi trains are set to replace our Voyager trains from 2024, leading to a 61% cut in carbon emissions. Quieter and roomier, with more reliable Wi-Fi, wireless charging for electrical devices and a real-time customer information system, the new 23-strong fleet is the result of a £350m investment in sustainable travel.

We’re tackling climate change wherever we can, from reducing energy and water use to training drivers in eco-driving techniques and sourcing food and drink from local suppliers. Our goal is to be net zero carbon by 2031. We’re on track.

For the latest news, visit the Avanti West Coast Media Centre: https://newsdesk.avantiwestcoast.co.uk/

Press Office: 0845 000 3333