Express & Star

Meet the man who has spent 72 years working on Black Country buses

An engineer who has been fixing buses at West Bromwich garage since 1951 was choked up when his colleagues marked his 87th birthday.

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Len Stanton

National Express West Midlands is celebrating the remarkable 72-year career of Len Stanton, their longest serving engineer.

Len, from West Bromwich, started as an apprentice aged just 15 with what was then the West Bromwich Corporation. He’s been at the West Bromwich garage since 1951.

Joining a six-year apprenticeship straight from school and boasting an engineering career spanning over seven decades, his expertise and knowledge has earned the admiration and respect of his peers throughout National Express, who often pick his brains and share a joke.

From his early days as a young apprentice, Len consistently demonstrated exceptional skill and mentorship. He plays a critical role in helping to maintain the bus fleet and ensure vehicles are ready for service to take thousands of customers to school, work and shopping every day.

During his time at National Express West Midlands, Len has seen the evolution of the motor industry, from when buses would have been made down the road in Longbridge to now tending to an swish all-electric vehicles.

Len said: “Things here have definitely changed. We used to start engines with a starting handle! But it’s like an old coat, you just fit it on. Whatever happened I just got my head down and did my job.”

John Guest, a fellow National Express West Midlands engineer, said: “I’ve known Len since 1978 when I started here as a youngster myself. Over the years I’ve learnt a lot from him. He’s a rock - he’s always been there.

“He’s become part of the furniture here at West Brom garage. Half the garage was built around him and everybody knows him and what a character he is.”

Nigel Thomas, fleet engineer at the West Bromwich garage started as an apprentice learning from Len.

He said: “Len is a true gentleman and a father figure to everyone that comes to the garage. He’s always willing to share his wisdom and experience with the next generation of engineers.

“I first met him in 1983 when I was an apprentice myself and what I learnt from him was invaluable. He’s always been very friendly, knowledgeable and a real good chap.

"On behalf of all of us at the garage we would like to say thank you to Len for all of his years of hard work.”