Crewe Railway Stories: A Rail Family for 125 Years


Rail really is in the blood of Crewe’s population and one of the best examples of this rail heritage being passed down through the generations is the story of Pete Edwards, board member of Crewe Heritage Trust.

Pete Edwards

In 1896 his great grandfather John Ollerhead started working at Crewe Works, followed by all four of his sons, including Pete’s grandfather, who began work as an apprentice fitter on the same day as his twin brother.

Pete’s father also had a 50-year career on the railways, ending up as a guard based at Crewe Station, while Pete’s first job was as an apprentice at Crewe Works in 1985. His skills and experience may have taken him around the world to Dubai, Krakow, Munich and Copenhagen but he was drawn back home and is currently Director of Rail Systems Engineering for Capita.

Ollerhead Family circa 1912

He is also an industry advisor and STEM ambassador at the UTC, passing on his knowledge to future generations of Crewe rail workers just as it was passed down the generations of his own family.

“Crewe has always been central to the wider rail network since 1833 providing a unique pedigree of manufacturing, engineering and operations. In Crewe, Great British Railways can embrace putting people first, whether this is the travelling public, or facilitating the vast movement of freight through the Basford Hall freight facility. Connectivity through the ‘six legs of the Crewe network’, gives the opportunity for the interchange of the public and freight to all areas of the UK, itself a unique trait.

“The impassioned and embedded heritage that Crewe brings to the rail industry affords the town to be given maximum opportunity to thrive on its roots and develop the next generation of rail workers, SMEs, socio-economic development and education. This will also allow the town to once again be the epicentre of the industry and give people like me the chance to know that their family was part of that second generation or indeed, first generation.”