You may or may not associate pop legend Pete Waterman with steam trains, but he is a keen collector, and having sold one of his engines (GWR Castle class 4-6-0 7027 Thornbury Castle) to JJP Holdings South West Ltd (known for owning companies which are based within Somerset), operating local buses as well as notably building the transport provision for Hinkley Point - Pete is involved in an exciting collaboration project to restore the engine.
The collaborative group, which includes the engine’s new owner Jonathan Jones-Pratt, Ian Coleby (West Somerset Railway Chairman), Pete Waterman and many volunteers, met at Bridgwater & Taunton College to discuss their plans moving forward, and how the College and its students could get involved in the restoration project, which may take five to six years dependant on funding.
“We have a vision to show the students at Bridgwater & Taunton College how we can get this engine back on the main line network. It’s a great pedigree engine, and we want to open up this opportunity to the students with a new energy”, said JJP Holdings owner Jonathan Jones-Pratt. “We’ll create a legacy, with skills development, work experience and Apprenticeships, and promote the industry as an attractive career and bring these skills back into the UK.”
After a welcome from College Assistant Principal for Construction, Automotive & Engineering, Jason Kilduff, the group were taken on a tour of the relevant facilities in the College – the Energy Skills Centre, Advanced Engineering Centre, Motorsport Workshop, Automotive Accident/Repair and Heavy Vehicle Centre, with Pete Waterman commenting,
“I think the project will fit great. This is perfect – all these skills you’ve got here are fantastic.”
Bridgwater & Taunton College is totally committed to finding training solutions that contribute towards the education, job-readiness and welfare of current and future generations, and has a wealth of expertise and an excellent reputation, working in unique and innovative ways to deliver the training and skills needed. Head of Employer Relations at the College, Liz Redwood said,
“This is such an exciting project and we are really pleased to be involved.”