A 'RAILWAY MAN' for the past four decades, Kenny Laird has joined the team at the Isle of Wight Steam Railway.

Kenny, who has worked on major railway infrastructure projects around the world, has been appointed engineering manager at the Havenstreet attraction.

In addition to working for Crossrail, Railtrack and Transport for London in the UK, Kenny has worked in the United States and the UAE, where he was involved in a $3 billion project to extend the Dubai Metro.

Isle of Wight Steam Railway general manager Peter Vail said: "We’re extremely fortunate to be benefitting from Kenny’s many years experience of working on railways around the world. Although a little smaller than some of his recent projects, we have some pretty tricky engineering challenges of our own, so we’re extremely happy to have Kenny joining the team.

Kenny said: "I’ve been living here on the Isle of Wight with my family for the past 15 years, whilst my work has taken me all over the globe. Working at the steam railway will be a great experience, there’s a fantastic team in place at Havenstreet and every railway is different. I’m very much looking forward to rolling up my sleeves and getting involved.

"I expect to be just as busy, but with a shorter drive home. As a ‘railway man’ of 40 years, its very hard not to love being part of a railway organisation."

For many years the steam railway has relied on a dedicated band of volunteers, and today there are more than 500 of them. The number of staff has also increased.

Peter said: "When I arrived at the railway in 2005 we had just ten paid staff. To reflect the growing popularity of our preserved railway we now employ 35 people who work alongside our army of valued volunteers. At all times we ensure the volunteers get to do the high profile, public facing jobs, with the majority of our paid staff managing, supervising and ensuring behind the scenes efficiency."