Retaining heritage skills for the future

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This month’s feature about apprentices at the Severn Valley Railway focuses on Richard Davis, who first joined the railway as a cleaner, but has since moved into the carriage & wagon workshop to hone his engineering skills. 

AT THE age of 30, Richard Davis is a good few years older than the Severn Valley Railway’s (SVR) other apprentices, but he believes this training opportunity came at just the right time. In our latest update from the SVR, we visit Richard in Kidderminster, where he’s worked 18 months of his apprenticeship in the railway’s carriage & wagon mechanical workshop.

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“I joined the SVR as a 17-year-old carriage cleaner, and worked my way up to become team supervisor. However, I don’t think I’d really appreciated the care and attention that goes into the maintenance and restoration side, until I got the chance to become an engineering apprentice.

Richard checks the wheel diameter on a shunter’s truck in the C&W inspection pit.

“It gives you a completely different perspective on the railway. Previously I was moving the coaches around and cleaning them, but had no idea what makes them work. Coaches really are more complex than they look. Most people only get to see the painted coach body, because that’s all that’s visible alongside the platform.

Read more and view more images in the August 2019 issue of The RM – on sale now!

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About the Author

Nigel Devereux

Let off some steam...