Rydal Penrhos are always pleased to see former pupils making their dreams a reality, something Jack Bowley recently accomplished.
We are fortunate enough to have had many talented Rydal Penrhos alumni go on to become highly successful in the working world. Jack Bowley, who attended the school from 2007-12, is the son of long-time and beloved Maths teacher Mrs Jean Mottershead, explains the steps that led him from a childhood fascination with trains to a career driving them for a living.
“Ever since a young age, I’ve always been that nerdy kid at school who liked trains. For those who knew me, you’ll be able to back me up. Anyway, having left Rydal Penrhos after finishing my GCSEs, I spent a year at college to get qualifications in electrical engineering, hoping it would lead to an engineering career in the railways.
“After numerous failed attempts at apprenticeships, I spent some time volunteering at the Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland Railway only a short drive from Colwyn Bay. There, I met some incredible and inspiring people, along with gaining some valuable skills.
“Conversations in the pub after the working day led to me getting a few contact details, and I eventually managed to make contact with a company that was looking for station staff at Manchester Piccadilly. Low and behold, January 2015 arrived and so did chapter one of my railway career, albeit on the customer service side of it.
“After just shy of a year on the platforms, I worked my way onto the trains themselves as a guard. From collecting tickets, to opening and closing the doors, I certainly found myself at ease with my feet up in the back cab of the train.
“The views were amazing at times, and not so much at others. It certainly gave me solid grounds for a lifetime career. A couple of years passed, and I applied for a job with another company doing the same job in York.
“Travelling further distances, and gaining more experience along the way, I was certainly loving my time on the iron road. However, come early 2021, and as the country was back in lockdown, I was about to start my next chapter – sitting at the front of the train. Yes, that’s right, they were desperate enough to give me the job of a train driver.
“This is by no means an easy job. Yes, it involves drinking tea by the bucket-load, and staring out of a window at a pretty sunset… But the thought of transporting hundreds, possibly thousands, of people at speeds of up to 125mph in a metal horizontal rocket is not easy to appreciate.
“A year of classroom and practical based days has resulted in bringing me to where I am now. March 2022 – now deemed competent to drive a train. You’ll be pleased to know that I’m not quite solo just yet. Despite all the rules-based stuff in my head, I still must go out and learn the routes that I’ll be driving. I mean, who wouldn’t want to go to Birmingham every day for a month, right?
“Despite all the ups and downs I’ve had since leaving Rydal Penrhos to get my dream job, I’ve not given up, and have just tried various ways of achieving my goal. I guess the moral of the story here is this – don’t give up.
“If you’re passionate about something, keep going and show the world who you are. You won’t regret it. I don’t, and I don’t think I ever will…”
Thank you Jack for sharing your experience with us. Your story is a perfect example of the kind of enthusiasm and perseverance that we hope to inspire in all Rydal Penrhos children and young people.
With so many of our alumni travelling up and down the country for business, family and leisure, there is little doubt that many readers will travel in a Jack Bowley-driven train over the coming years.