Reg trained to win

By Jade Lawton
BEACONSFIELD’S Reginald Topp (MBE) has been recognised for decades of work in the railway industry.
Mr Topp, 89, received the Australasian Railway Association’s 2009 Rail Industry Award for Excellence, collecting the honour in front of 1000 of his peers at a conference in Adelaide in November.
Australasia’s peak railway body gave Mr Topp the title in recognition of his involvement in saving Puffing Billy and later work as a telecommunications engineer.
“It was quite a surprise,” Mr Topp said.
“The ARA was more concerned with the latter work. I’ve been working as a consultant for the last 20 years – even as an old bloke.”
Mr Topp, a Beaconsfield resident for more than 30 years, was part of a group of people that fought to save Puffing Billy in the 1950s.
The Puffing Billy Preservation Society now has hundreds of volunteers who donate their time to ensure the steam trains continue to run daily.
Mr Topp was made a life member of the society in 1984.
Their work has been a success, with the trains carrying about 250,000 passengers a year through the picturesque Dandenong Ranges.
“I hope Puffing Billy continues to prosper and provide wholesome, simple entertainment to the community,” he said.
Mr Topp only retired last year, at age 88, but is still involved behind the scenes with the Puffing Billy Preservation Society.
“I recommend it to everyone – it keeps you alive,” he said.