Shunting School at Locomotion

Last week a course for shunters and drivers was held at Locomotion for Richard Pearson and the team – plus recertification in both grades for myself.

The course was led by Martyn Ashworth and Alan Freebury, both of whom have long experience in training heritage railway staff. The successful passing of the course by the team and the final passing out of Fred Ramshaw as a diesel driver adds considerably to the operational flexibility of Shildon and also allows the team to help out at York if necessary in future.

Classroom sessions led on to practical training, followed by a written shunters exam and drivers exam, and then finally a practical assessment. Mercifully everything stayed on the rails – not that there was ever any doubt! – and the pressure is now eased on the existing hardworking shunting crew.

Jason calls Jeff on to the bolster wagon whilst Martyn and Johnny talk the move through.

Jason slows down the 03 shunting engine as it approaches the ICI hopper wagon. Martyn watches to see that Jason gets it right!

Alan Freebury explains to Richard one of the foibles of the English Electric 350hp shunting loco - Dutch version.

At the end of two solid days and a successful exam, new driver Fred Ramshaw takes the 03 down the line on his own for the first time.

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About Anthony Coulls

Anthony is Senior Curator of Rail Vehicles at the NRM and has been an active heritage railway volunteer since 1988
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