More Virgin apprentices at Darlington

As the project to build new Gresley class P2 steam locomotive No. 2007 Prince of Wales starts to manufacture the cladding to fit around the boiler, a third group of engineering apprentices from Virgin Trains has joined the team in Darlington Locomotive Works to help with the construction of this iconic new steam locomotive.

As part of an on-going sponsorship agreement with Virgin Trains, apprentices are being given the opportunity to experience a different railway environment at The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust’s Darlington Locomotive Works where Peppercorn class A1 No. 60163 Tornado was completed in 2008 and No. 2007 Prince of Wales is now under construction.

The third group of apprentices, Ondre Brooks, James Henshaw and David Harrison from Virgin Trains’ Bounds Green depot in London, have just completed a two-week-long stint with the Trust at DLW working on No. 2007 Prince of Wales. Over this period, they have worked with A1SLT staff, helping with the shaping and fabrication of the locomotive’s distinctive boiler cladding using the dinosaur-like former nick-named ‘Craig the Cretaceous’. More apprentices are expected to follow in the coming months.

John Doughty, Engineering Director for Virgin Trains on its east coast route, commented, “While we look forward to introducing our new Virgin Azuma train fleet from 2018, it’s important to promote and preserve the history and heritage of our east coast route. Our sponsorship of the Trust gives our apprentices the opportunity to experience a very valuable taste of the heavier side of railway mechanical engineering.”

Mark Allatt, Trustee and P2 Project Director, The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust, commented, “The original Gresley class P2s worked the arduous Edinburgh to Aberdeen route for the LNER in the late 1930s, a route now operated by Virgin Trains East Coast. We are delighted that apprentices from Virgin Trains is now working with us to build No. 2007 Prince of Wales at our Darlington Locomotive Works, true inheritors to the LNER’s combination of speed and style. We look forward to welcoming many more apprentices to DLW over the next few years.”

David Harrison uses the mag drill on the backhead cladding – David Elliott

James Henshaw tidies up with an angle grinder – David Elliott

Ondre Brooks at the workbench – David Elliott