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In memory of Bob Whitehouse

We were all saddened to hear that Bob Whitehouse, Chair of the Bishop Line CRP, sadly passed away earlier this month.

Bob’s colleague and Vice Chair of the Bishop Line CRP, Charlie Walton, has kindly provided the following short piece for all those across Bob’s wider community rail family to read and share in his memory. The Community Rail Network team and board pass on their thoughts and condolences to Bob’s colleagues, friends and family.

It is with much sadness that we have to report the death of Bob Whitehouse, Chair of the Bishop Line Community Rail Partnership, on the 2nd November 2022. Bob had been suffering recently from kidney cancer which sadly spread to his lungs. He finally succumbed to a severe chest infection and died peacefully in hospital with his partner Laraine at his side.

I first encountered Bob when we interviewed him for the new partnership officer post in 2009. In typical Bob fashion, he came armed with a report he had written on his vision for the Bishop Line and interviewed very well. Once appointed, he threw himself into the task of promoting the line. At those early meetings with partner organisations, he invariably introduced himself as “not being from around these parts”, his Brummie accent being a bit of a giveaway. He stepped down as our partnership officer after 10 years of loyal service and became our Chair, providing support, friendship and encouragement to his replacement, Felicity, to whom we are indebted to for taking the organisation forward in a proactive and inclusive manner.

His love of all things Great Western and the canals of Birmingham was infectious. A couple of years ago, Bob and I embarked on building a portable exhibition model railway based on a 1930s canal basin railway interchange and high level urban station, entitled respectively Whitehouse Wharf and Smestow Heath. This was, I am pleased to say, almost completed before his passing, and is a fitting tribute to his artwork and modelling skills.

Notwithstanding our passion for railways both real and model, we also shared many other interests, including history, music, art, good food and freemasonry. He will be fondly remembered for his dry sense of humour, kind nature and dedication to the job in hand.

He will be sorely missed and our thoughts and prayers go out to his partner Laraine and his family.

– Charlie Walton, Vice Chair of the Bishop Line CRP