Retaining heritage skills for the future

In our latest visit to the Severn Valley Railway (SVR), The Railway Magazine meets its youngest apprentice.

Last summer, at just 16 years old, Jacob Cox joined the SVR’s Heritage Skills Training Academy immediately after completing his GCSEs. He soon settled in, and seems to have relished the challenge of pretty much everything he’s encountered since. Over to Jacob …

Jacob undertakes work on the frames of GWR ‘Hall’ 4-6-0 No. 4930 Hagley Hall in the Bridgnorth workshops. 

“The first thing I had to get used to here was the sheer length of the working day. I now realise how easy we had it at school! But the earlier start and later finish soon became second nature, and I got a great deal of help from everyone here to help me settle in.

“I started in the locomotive works at Bridgnorth, and although I’d say I’m definitely at the bottom of the pyramid experience-wise, I soon felt that other team members were trusting me to do what was required.

“They’ve treated me like an adult, right from the start. Of course there’s plenty of guidance, but people have high expectations, and they expect you to use your initiative and get on with the job.

“My first ‘proper’ project here was working on No. 4930 Hagley Hall, which is known as the SVR’s flagship loco. 

“It’s not steamed since 1986, and there are high expectations for its restoration. I’ve painted a lot of the components and machined bronze bushes for the valve gear as well as machining pins and threads.

Read the FULL feature in the June 2019 issue of The Railway Magazineon sale now!

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