LIFE-LONG trainspotter Eric Wadley had the journey of a lifetime yesterday.

He travelled with his grandson Jake to London’s Paddington station in the cab of a train from Swindon station.

The 86-year-old got to watch the world go by from his seat right next to the train’s driver.

Then, he and 21-year-old Jake enjoyed the luxuries of the first-class carriage for free on the way back.

This all came about after Jake wanted to get his grandad something special for Christmas because Eric is losing his memory and becoming less mobile.

Jake turned to Great Western Railway for help and, though they couldn’t name a train after Eric as Jake originally suggested, they did offer free tickets for a return journey anywhere on the network, plus a few extra bonuses.

Jake and Eric received special souvenirs to commemorate their big day out.

They will treasure their limited edition pin badges and a rare framed poster which shows how GWR’s trains have changed over the years - only 100 of the posters were made.

Jake said: “He keeps saying how much of a lovely experience it was and how much he enjoyed it.

“He really enjoyed seeing the journey from a different perspective than we normally get to see.

“We used to watch trains together when I was a kid and it’s nice for me to do something for him for a change.”

Eric said: "It was very pleasant, I enjoyed it immensely and I was over the moon when Jake told me about it, he's a good lad."

Jake added: “The staff were so kind and they went out of their way to make this happen, I really appreciate what they’ve done for us, it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

“Grandad wrote about it in his diary and we have these great souvenirs, this is something he will remember and cherish.”

A spokesperson for GWR said: “We were thrilled to welcome Eric and Jake to Swindon station as part of their special trip to London on-board our ‘Paddington Bear’ Intercity Express Train.

“It was wonderful to see how much they enjoyed it and we hope to see them back on-board with us again soon.”