The Footplate Padre ministry was initiated during my years at seminary 1977–1980 at Morling College having been a locomotive driver for 10 years and my interest in industrial chaplaincy with the InterChurch Trade and Industry Mission.
I wrote my first railway book Driving Trains — The Australian Way in 1984 and these followed by an additional 15 books on train driver's anecdotes with the 16th published in 1996.
These books not only told railway stories by train drivers, they had a Christian message in one of the stories in each book, and the funding went into the sport ministry. When I undertook the sport ministry ATO audit in 1997 for the Sports and Leisure Ministry, these monies were documented and never claimed back or deemed as tax deductions.
In our ministry newsletter I wrote a monthly Footplate Padre feature which was often published elsewhere and in 1999 the late Dave Moyle editor of the railway magazine On Track, invited me to write a monthly Footplate Padre article.
This Footplate Padre ministry video with a selection of video from Inform as I had permission as I fired the Moss Vale train and this was shown to friends, at men's outreach breakfasts and dinners when evangelising as the Footplate Padre. For most men, it was a joy in the Lord.
This 25 year old video is shown here.
Dr Mark Tronson is a Baptist minister (retired) who served as the Australian cricket team chaplain for 17 years (2000 ret) and established Life After Cricket in 2001. He was recognised by the Olympic Ministry Medal in 2009 presented by Carl Lewis Olympian of the Century. He mentors young writers and has written 24 books, and enjoys writing. He is married to Delma, with four adult children and grand-children. Dr Tronson writes a daily article for Christian Today Australia (since 2008) and in November 2016 established Christian Today New Zealand.
Mark Tronson's archive of articles can be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/mark-tronson.html