I would have loved to see him in his top hat and tails what a impression he must have made on the platform amongst the steam.My grandad (George Smith) oversaw the previous modernisation of the Station, he used to wear top hat and tails to work and then it was replaced with a smaller hat in the 1960’s.
I think top hats were only worn on special occasions such as meeting the Royal Train. I doubt if the smaller stations ever had that duty and if they did then the hat would be provided on loan.Top Hats were fine in enclosed large stations but not very good in many smaller and rural places where more traditional headgear was work, just embellished. Those with memories of rail travel will recall what windy places many of them were.
Back in 1956 the Station Master at Plymouth (NR) wore a top hat and a carpet was laid out when Lady Astor travelled to there. She was of course well known and liked in the city where she had represented Sutton,a part of the city, in Westminster for over twenty five years. I can be sure of it as I travelled from Newton Abbot to Plymouth with her (when in the RAF and quite accidentally, as I joined her compartment not realising it was her.) We had a good conversation and she gently nodded to the guard that all was well when he popped by.I think top hats were only worn on special occasions such as meeting the Royal Train. I doubt if the smaller stations ever had that duty and if they did then the hat would be provided on loan.