David Maidment OBE (born May 16th 1938, Walton-on-Thames, Surrey, England) is a British author, charity director and former railwayman who was the railway consultant for the fifth season of Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends.
In 1960, Maidment joined the Western Region of British Railways as a clerk in the Divisional Passenger Train Office at Paddington, before becoming a ‘Traffic Apprentice’ in September 1961. After completing the two and a half year apprenticeship in April 1964, Maidment was appointed stationmaster of Aberdeeg in South Wales, where he served for ten months until 1965. He then became Area Manager at Bridgend, where he served until 1968. He was then promoted to head the Cardiff Train Planning Office, where he was responsible for overseeing timetabling and diagramming locos and crews of the Valley suburban services and the colliery trains. In 1974, he then became Management Services Manager of the Western Region and Internal Consultancy Services Manager of the BRB. In 1982 he became Chief Operating Manager of the London Midland Region, where he was responsible for responsible for 25,000 Operations staff and the Royal Train, before becoming Reliability & Quality Manager in 1986. In August 1990, he became Head of Safety Policy, which led to the production of BR's first Safety Plan in 1991. Maidment's department became part of Railtrack upon that company's formation on April 1st 1994, and he continued in his post until privatisation in May 1996, when he took early retirement. He finally became Associate Principal Consultant for International Risk Management Services, where he undertook major safety reviews of railways across the world, before retiring in 2001.
In 1989, while on a business trip to India, Maidment encountered a young streetgirl at a Mumbai railway station who was whipping herself to elicit sympathy and earn money. Because of this, he got involved in Amnesty International's Children’s Rights Network, then became their representative on the Consortium for Street Children. There, he did a risk assessment of being a street child - identifying both causes and consequences. This identified a gap - the fact that no established NGO focused specifically on early intervention. Because of this, in May 1995, Maidment founded the charity Railway Children.
In 1997 Maidment wrote to Britt Allcroft asking if her company would consider a donation to the charity because of a common railway interest, and he was invited to lunch with Marketing Director Steve Wright in Southampton. It was explained that the company was reluctant to make a donation as they frequently received such requests, but that they liked the idea of the Railway Children and they would think about it. A couple of days later he received a phone call asking if he would pen a few railway anecdotes as David Mitton was keen to use true stories as the basis of episodes as they were often better than fiction. He spent a couple of mornings typing them out and then sent them off, whereupon he received a £10,000 donation for the charity and a two year contract to vet scripts to ensure there were no railway 'howlers' in the texts or videos that would get complaints.
Many of the story ideas submitted by Maidment were based on incidents he had experienced during his career on British Railways, such as Baa! which was based on an incident which occurred during his time as stationmaster of Aberdeeg, where a ram occupied the abandoned station of Llanhilleth. Others were based on more famous incidents, such as A Better View for Gordon, which was based on the Gare Montparnasse derailment at Paris, France. Maidment visited Shepperton Studios during the filming of the latter episode. Following Britt Allcroft's sale of her company to HiT Entertainment in 2001, Maidment contacted the new owners but received no reply.
In December 2010, Maidment stepped down as Chairman of the Railway Children and became its Founder Ambassador. He is also Chair of Amnesty International UK Children’s Human Rights Network and since May 2012 has been co-ordinator of the Nantwich Street Pastor project; he has been a children's and youth leader in Methodist churches for over 50 years. In April 2013 Colas Rail Class 60 66850 was named David Maidment OBE in his honour. In addition to his charity work, he is an author of a number of books on railway history, safety and street children.
All episodes were written co-written with Britt Allcroft and David Mitton.
- A Better View for Gordon
- Lady Hatt's Birthday Party
- James and the Trouble with Trees
- Gordon and the Gremlin
- Haunted Henry
- Double Teething Troubles
- Busy Going Backwards
- Duncan Gets Spooked