Long-time master looking forward to new station
18 Jul 2018
At 16, Frankston local Tom Yates started his railway career in 1946 at Moreland, selling tickets and “scrubbing the lavs”.
He ended it 39 years later in 1985 as station master of Flinders Street Station, with 354 staff working under him.
Between 1968 and 1981, Tom was station master at Frankston, which at the time was growing into a vital hub to the wider Mornington Peninsula.
When he and his family moved into the station master’s house in Frankston, it was cold and uninviting with faulty wiring and an outside pan toilet.
“I had 79 staff back then and we had signalmen on shifts, 24 hours a day,” Tom says.
“Every Monday, we had two parcel trains delivering 10 tonnes of mail. Goods trains with up to 40 wagons delivered anything from briquettes to timber.”
Tom, 88, and his wife Barbara have been married for nearly 60 years and have three children. Moving around was part of the life for a station master and his family.
When he started out, he knew he wanted a career, not just a job – and he loved every minute of it.
After he retired he wrote a book, What a Journey: Life in the Victorian Railway – a labour of love that took over two years to complete. It is full of anecdotes, photographs and history about his life in rail.
Tom is keen to visit the new Frankston Station for a walk down memory lane when it is completed in late 2018.