Sheffield apprentices putting loco project on right lines

Young apprentices Josh Simpson and Josh Turner who made the pattern
Young apprentices Josh Simpson and Josh Turner who made the pattern
Have your say

A team of Sheffield apprentices are on track to help build only the second mainline steam locomotive to be constructed in Britain since 1960.

The group of 21 from William Cook Cast Products Ltd will play a key role in the creation of the No. 2007 Prince of Wales.

They will make the pattern equipment and cast and machine the loco’s eight massive 6ft 2in diameter driving wheels as part of the £5 million project.

The giant will be put together by the P2 Steam Loco Company, based in Darlington, over the next seven years.

It is set to be the most powerful steam loco ever to be built in this country, with the first steel cut for it in May.

William Cook won the contract for supplying the steel castings after doing the same job for the company’s first locomotive, The Tornado.

Andy Fox, based at the company’s city headquarters, said: “The Prince of Wales wheels project has been handed to our apprentices to sort out from method through to moulding – every aspect of the job.

“Lewis Room is leading the project and doing the method statements but it will involve all our apprentices on site.

“We do get involved in quite a few projects – our chairman Andrew Cook has his own train in Switzerland and has a keen interest in railways.

“We helped out with the Tornado.

“It is a great project for the apprentices. They have to think on their own, they are not being told what to do.

“It will go down as evidence for their qualification in welding and fabrication and it will be good for them to have been involved with William Cook’s major input into another steam train.”

Semta Apprenticeship Service helps William Cook recruit its apprentices, providing ongoing training, personal development, functional skills, monitoring and support.

Semta chief operating officer Ann Watson said: “This is a fantastic, real time project for apprentices to work on.

“They have an opportunity to create a piece of history and showcase the talents of our young engineers.”

The No.2007 Prince of Wales is being entirely funded by donations from the public with £850,000 so far pledged. Once built it will run on charter trains on the mainline and heritage lines.