IT’S 8pm on a mild spring evening and at Carmarthen railway station the cleaning team are setting up ready to get to work.

Amongst them is stalwart William Gwyn Thomas who has just reached the landmark age of 80.

Despite his age, Gwyn, as he prefers to be known, is still working hard as ever. With broom and mop in hand he and the team will get anywhere between 18 and 26 carriages hygienically cleaned and back to their best ready for the next morning.

“I love the job,” says Gwyn, who has been cleaning trains at Carmarthen for the past 25 years.

“It’s the people I work with and knowing you are doing something important for the customers.

“Pride is everything and we are really proud to get the trains looking good for the people using them the next day.”

Gwyn Thomas cleaning trains at 80
(Transport for Wales)

Having worked as a dairy farmer near Lampeter until he was 55, Gwyn decided it was time for a change in the late 1990s, joining what was at the time a much smaller team at Carmarthen.

“I didn’t think I’d get the job but I was delighted when I did and it means a lot to me to be part of the Carmarthen team because it’s a really special station.

“I didn’t expect I’d still be working at 80 but I really love it and I’ll finish when I’m ready and when I feel I can’t do it as well,” added Gwyn who has three children – two of his own and a stepdaughter, three grandchildren and four great grandchildren.

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

Working from 7:30pm to 2:30am, the team will clean each carriage from top to bottom, leaving the cabs, toilets, tables and floors spotless.

While the worst nights tend to be Saturdays when the toilets can be challenging and the amount of rubbish left out tends to increase, Gwyn says they take it all in their stride.

Cleaner 80-year-old Gwyn Thomas at Carmarthen railway station
(Transport for Wales)

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

TfW’s Cleaning Operations Manager Wendy Jones and Carmarthen Station Manager James Nicholas paid tribute to Gwyn, describing him as “part of the fabric of Carmarthen”.

“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,” they said.

“We’d like to thank Gwyn for everything and to wish him a very happy birthday.”