Sam takes the controls

A day to remember for three-year-old Sam at the launch of Seaton Tramway’s summer season.

It was a very momentous occasion for one young passenger as he followed in the footsteps of his grandfather, who used to be a volunteer driver for Seaton Tramway.

Sam Hugo jumped on board the tramways new pink tram for his first ride along the Axe Estuary, with his cousin Luke Farmer, auntie Kye and grandma Karen, during the official launch of the attractions summer season.

The three-year-old said: “Riding on the tram is fun. I liked everything about it and I would go on the tram again.”

His cousin Luke, who would often help his grandfather, Graham Farmer, on the tram, said: “I’ve been on the tramway lots of times before but this is the first time I’ve brought my little cousin. It is nice to see him so excited and enjoy what I used to like doing.

“It has brought back a lot of memories. When I used to go on the tram, I would help to welcome all the people on to the tram. I would also help set up the seats and would press the buttons when I used to ride with him when I was younger.”

Unfortunately, Graham was unable to join his family on the day due to work commitments back in Bristol, where he now lives, but shared his experiences of driving the trams.

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Graham was born and raised in Seaton and started as a volunteer tram driver in 1997 - usually during the holiday season, when he would return to his bungalow in the town - and recalls many happy memories on the tracks.

The 65-year-old took up the hobby after retiring from his job as a music teacher, when his daughters gave him a tram driving day experience for Father’s Day.

From then on, Graham was hooked. He said: “I had never done anything like that at all and when I retired I was determined to try a few things I hadn’t had time to do before.

“When I was volunteering on the tramway, I liked meeting people and it was an interesting experience to share my knowledge of the local history, chugging up and down the line. It was something I really enjoyed.

“It is something I am pleased that I did back then as I met some extraordinary characters.”

However, his interest in trains and trams was sparked when he was a young boy growing up in Seaton, where he would often go up to Seaton Junction railway station with his aunt, who worked in a nearby factory, where he would see the staff shunting the carriages, to change the trains direction ready to disembark.

He would often help the staff by hosing down the carriages They would also let him sit in the locomotive while they shunted the carriages.

Graham also said he would sometimes catch a free ride home on the train as he would quickly sneak into the carriage when no one was looking.

He hung up his tram driver’s hat in 2000 when he was given the opportunity to pursue another of his great loves – playing the organ, but still finds time to get back on the tracks every now and again.

He added: “I still do have a ride on the tram and it does bring back happy memories and some people I used to work with are still there now.

“It was a great pleasure to take that interest further by driving the trams and re-live some experiences from my childhood.”