The Memorial Ceremony was held on Sunday 16th September, when a Class 507 train, No.507 023 was named "Operations Inspector Stuart Mason", and the name plate was unveiled by his widow, Debbie Mason. Debbie also unveiled a plaque in Stuart's honour, on the wall at the Booking On Point in Southport Train Crew Depot.
Stuart was a life-long railwayman, starting on the railway when he left school as a "Booking Boy" in the signalboxes around Manchester Victoria. As soon as he was old enough he became a fully qualified signalman, a position he held for a couple of years. He transferred over to the footplate, accepting a secondman's position at Dover, returning to Manchester a few years later, where he became a qualified driver at Newton Heath. He transferred to Southport in the early 1980's where he held the position of Driver Instructor. He became a Traction Inspector on the Liverpool Division of British Rail in 1988, a position he held until his retirement in 2009 by which time he was again based at Southport.
Known to and loved by many, Stuart was responsible for the training, instructing and nurturing of countless train drivers across the North-West of England. The Merseyrail operations team from the top to the bottom all owe a huge debt of gratitude to Stuart who, at some point, trained, coached and mentored every single member of the current Operations Managers, Inspectors and Leader Drivers.
He was deeply respected by all who knew him and by those worked alongside him, for he was a person of enormous integrity. He had the highest moral values and always displayed a great sense of fair-play. Added to that, he possessed a phenomenal knowledge of railway operations, which it could be argued, was second to none in the company.
Occasionally cynical and resilient to change he may have been, but it was mostly good natured and he very rarely complained, taking all the anti-social shifts and the massive industry changes in almost forty years of service in his stride. Always witty, he never missed the opportunity to share a laugh and a joke and could often be heard bursting into song or putting into rhyme the latest occurrence on the line.
Away from the railway Stuart was enthusiastic about all things aviation and enjoyed using computer flight simulators. He was also a keen model maker. In recent years, Stuart enjoyed crown green bowling, playing regularly in the local leagues and competitions. At the time of his death he held the position of President at the Scarisbrick Bowling Club in Southport.
Until his early retirement in 2009 he served the railways and the people of Merseyside and the North-West with great pride and dedication. He was a truly vocational railwayman who will be deeply missed by all who knew him. Our thoughts are with his widow Debbie.
Stuart Andrew Mason (1953-2011)
Once met, never forgotten.