Engineering Apprentice Helps Restore World Famous Steam Locomotive

In Apprenticeships, News, on the 28th, March 2014

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LNER Class A4 4489 Dominion of Canada - Apprentice Engineering Apprentice, Jason Brown restores World famous steam locomotive

IT’S full steam ahead for a young apprentice after helping to restore one of the world’s most famous locomotives.

Darlington College HND engineering apprentice Jason Brown has his career on the right tracks after working to return the LNER Class A4 4489 Dominion of Canada back to its former glory at the Locomotion Railway Museum, Shildon.

For Jason, 21, of Darlington working on the historic locomotive has given him the opportunity to follow in the footsteps of his grandfather who worked as a train fitter in Darlington.

“I always knew that I wanted to do something that involved getting my hands dirty,” said Jason.

“I saw that Darlington College was offering engineering apprenticeships with Locomotion and applied as soon as I left school. I got an interview and was offered the position.

“Being able to work on these incredible steam trains is amazing. I feel really good knowing that I have helped to restore such a historically important train for generations to come.”

Built in Doncaster works in May 1937 the 100 tonne Dominion of Canada, one of only 35 A4 locomotives, was designed by Sir Nigel Gresley.

It was withdrawn from railway service in 1965 and left lying derelict behind Darlington’s motive power depot until March 1966 when it was donated to the Canadian Railroad Historical Association and put on display at the Canadian Railway Museum at Delson/Saint-Constant, Quebec, near Montreal.

“We were told that the Dominion of Canada would be coming back to us at Locomotion for restoration in October 2012 as a start to the preparations for The Great Gathering of all the remaining six A4 locomotives,” said Jason.

“When it arrived it was in a terrible state with some pieces literally being held on with gaffer tape.”

Following a £50,000 cosmetic renovation the train was fully restored to its original condition including a new front end, side skirtings, a modified chimney, new blue livery and the replacement of the Canadian bell.

“It took us until May 2013 to get the train ready using traditional engineering methods from the 1930s including hand painting the entire engine,” said Jason.

“I was extremely proud to see it alongside the other five A4 locomotives at The Great Gathering in February and I think that the Canadian Railway Museum will be really pleased to see what we have done with it when it returns to them in April.”

Jason, who is set to complete his HND apprenticeship in mechanical engineering in May this year, has also qualified as a guard and steam locomotive fireman.

“I have really enjoyed my apprenticeship – it really is the best way to get hands on experience in any job,” he added.

“As well as being here at Shildon I get to work at the National Railway Museum in York and at Beamish Museum.

“I’ve also travelled to Fort William and to Austria on a European exchange with other young train engineers.

“I get to do all sorts of running repairs and maintenance on the trains and even get to drive them, which for me really is the best bit.”



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