Devon

Devon steam railway brings repair firm in house

Steam train 'press'
Image caption The purchase will safeguard equipment needed to maintain steam trains

The South Devon Railway has bought a local steam boiler repair company to help it maintain its locomotives and safeguard jobs.

The voluntary organisation operates steam trains between Totnes and Buckfastleigh and has 13 trains.

It has acquired R.K. Pridham Engineering in Tavistock, whose founder was due to retire.

The purchase is intended to preserve the specialist equipment and skills needed to maintain the railway's stock.

Dick Wood, South Devon Railway general manager, said: "It's not only important to us for repairing our own railway engines in the future, but also for the whole heritage railway movement.

"It safeguards both the skilled expertise of boiler making and equipment in the UK for posterity, and also has ensured that some very skilled engineering jobs have been retained in the West Country.

R.K. Pridham's engineers and equipment have already been relocated to the South Devon Railway's base at Buckfastleigh.

The railway attracts more than 100,000 visitors a year and has about 400 volunteers.

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