Thorough maintenance

During the operating season, the locomotive shed is mainly preoccupied with reacting to any issues with the rolling stock, as well as servicing the locomotives. This includes things like changing oils and filters on the diesel locomotives and washing out the boilers on the steam locomotives to make sure they’re running smoothly. Thankfully, the schedule for preventative maintenance is strict to avoid breakdowns or issues during the season.

Tool Shed wide
Tools laid out

The work never stops

Most of the winter months are spent fully servicing the locomotives. A diesel locomotive may be stripped completely, including removing the engine and associated parts. Once they’re out, the components will be taken apart and serviced before being rebuilt one by one. The steam locomotive will have its boiler lifted out to carry out maintenance works. This could involve welding and replacing the inner tubes, which is an extremely difficult skill to teach and learn. Our welder has been at the railway for more than 45 years!

Keeping a lost art alive

Many of the parts we need are now being made in-house by the machine shop as our locomotives are so old that parts are not readily available, especially as we're the only rack and pinion railway in the UK. Some of the equipment in the machine shop even dates back to the 1920s! The diesel engines are no longer available to buy, so the tool shed has been forced to rebuild and repurpose similar engines to use on our locomotives. This means each diesel locomotive is different, although you’d never know from looking at them.


Meet our longest-serving team members

Robert Henry Jones – Driver

Robert Henry joined the team in 1993 and followed in his father’s footsteps.

As a child, he used to ride on the footplate of the locomotives without permission and was forced to hide in the coal bunker when passing his father’s train.

Gwyn Jones – Driver & Coded Welder

Gwyn started working at the railway in 1977 and is currently our longest-serving team member. His father worked at the railway for more than 30 years as well.

During the operating season, Gwyn can be found driving our steam locomotives and the occasional diesel one too.

Pete Williams – Driver & Machinist

Pete joined the team in 1987. You’ll find him busy machining the intricate parts for our locomotives and passing on his unique skills to the future generation of apprentices.

His father and uncle had more than 150 years of service between them and pretty much all his family has worked here at some point. His great great grandfather Thomas was one of the railway’s first drivers!