Gwyn the great train cleaner celebrates turning 80 and still loves his job

By Jill Dando News

An 80-year-old train cleaner who works shifts until the early hours of the morning says he loves his job – and has no plans to retire just yet.

William Gwyn Thomas, who used to be a dairy farmer in Lampeter, Ceredigion, Wales, has been cleaning trains at Carmarthen station for 25 years.

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Gwyn, as he prefers to be known, works with a team to clean anywhere between 18 and 26 carriages a night.

“I didn’t expect I’d still be working at 80,” said Gwyn. 

“But I really love it, and I’ll finish when I’m ready and when I feel I can’t do it as well.”


Gwyn – who has three children, three grandchildren and four great-grandchildren – joined the train cleaning team in the late 1990s.

He credits his long working life to “eating well, not drinking anything stronger than a shandy and cutting down on smoking”.

Working from 19:30 to 02:30, Gwyn and his team clean each carriage from top to bottom, including the cabs, toilets, tables and floors.

The worst shifts tend to be Saturdays, when Transport for Wales (TfW) said the toilets can be “challenging”, but Gwyn said he takes it all in his stride.

“It’s annoying but there’s no point moaning about it because that’s the job and we just have to get on with it,” he said.

“Someone has to get it looking nice for customers again.”

TfW’s cleaning manager Wendy Jones, and Carmarthen station manager James Nicholas, described Gwyn as “part of the fabric of Carmarthen”.

Wishing him a happy 80th birthday, they added: “The standard of work Gwyn puts in night after night is a true example to us all on how to show pride in your work”.

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