James is originally from Bangor, Gwynedd, and gained his BA(Hons) in Ancient History and Archaeology at the University of Liverpool in 2011, with a dissertation on Welsh graveyard culture. His MRes in Archaeological Studies at the University of York in 2013 was written on railway architecture and engineering, a lifelong passion.
Following this he worked in the Operations department of Snowdon Mountain Railway, revitalising their museum and helping keep a fleet of 120 year-old steam locomotives running.
Prior to starting doctoral studies, James worked in a number of roles including as a full-time railway journalist, a heritage outreach officer, a heritage events organiser, and as a museums and heritage education facilitator.
He is currently also a digital content creator and part-time online history tutor alongside his doctoral research work.