Engineering apprentices have been helping the team at Darlington Locomotive Works build new steam locomotive No. 2007 Prince of Wales.
The apprentices, from Virgin Trains, gain firsthand experience of working on a steam engine in a workshop. The scheme is part of a sponsorship agreement established to help the A1 Steam Locomotive Trust. The trust built Peppercorn Class A1 locomotive No. 60163 Tornado from its original drawings.
Says Mark Allat, chairman of the Trust, ‘We’re delighted that apprentices from Virgin Trains are now working with us to build No. 2007 Prince of Wales, a true inheritor to this route’s combination of speed and style.’
Michael Olley and Simon Nadolny, both 23, are usually stationed at Virgin’s Bounds Green depot in London. As part of their apprenticeships in electrical and mechanical systems maintenance engineering, they work on the maintenance and repair of Virgin Trains’ electric 225 fleet, which is in daily service on its east coast route.
Says Simon, who is from Doncaster, ‘We’ve been getting down to basics, bending metal and hammering nuts and bolts into place, helping to install three large fabricated frame stays and assembling the smokebox lifting sheets. It’s been a real privilege and I’m proud to have played a small part in creating what will be the UK’s most powerful steam engine.’
Michael, from London, agrees. ‘It’s been great to have the opportunity to work in a different type of environment. The Trust’s approach to solving problems has provided really good insights which we can take back to the day job.’