Changing lives: full steam ahead for heritage railway careers

Alex Luckham working on a steam train
Alex Luckham first volunteered at a railway aged just eight years old - and now he's turned his love of locos into a career.

"It's always been my passion to work on steam trains and railways and now I get paid to do it!" says Alex Luckham.

Alex and his fellow apprentices Alastair Steele and Oliver Collins are just three of eight chosen to work at Mid-Hants Railway – The Watercress Line – which runs preserved heritage steam trains between Alton and Alresford in Hampshire.

“It's always been my passion to work on steam trains and railways and now I get paid to do it!”

- Apprentice Alex Luckham

Thanks to a grant from HLF the three have been trained in a range of restoration skills, including boiler repairs, sheet metalwork and historic carriage maintenance.

Their three-year training included working on the Winston Churchill, an iconic steam locomotive now on show to the public at the National Railway Museum in York.

The apprenticeships have ensured The Watercress Line has a new generation of locomotive restorers to help keep the heritage railway operating into the future - and also means some young rail enthusiasts are on track for an interesting career.

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