Weston-super-Mare firm to restore historic steam engine

Jon Jones-Pratt from Crosville with the new steam engine.

Jon Jones-Pratt from Crosville with the new steam engine. - Credit: Archant

A Weston transport boss says buying a historic steam engine to restore and turn into a tourist train is a ‘once-in-a-lifetime opportunity’.

Jon Jones-Pratt, who owns Crosville Motor Services, bought the Thornbury Castle engine – the last remaining one of its kind – from a railway heritage trust and has now brought the engine to Weston.

The engine will now be restored to full working order and Mr Jones-Pratt hopes to eventually use it to run excursions on the main railway line between Weston, Bristol and Bath.

Mr Jones-Pratt told the Mercury the whole Crosville team is very excited by the engine’s arrival and is looking forward to getting it up and running.

He said: “It was my passion to secure (this) steam engine – it will be about as good as it ever gets and this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

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“This was something very different for our depot but I am sure my staff are now convinced this is normal practice. It’s great – we have a fantastic company and we care about our heritage.

“The wider vision is to offer educational trips for schools who can come to see the restoration, as well as offering apprentices the opportunity to learn bygone skills.

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“I am passionate about creating jobs in Weston and see this as another string to our offerings in the town. We will be engaging soon with North Somerset Council and tourism committees to see how we can look to run regular main-line activities connecting Bath, Bristol and Weston.”

The Thornbury Castle engine will be on show at Crosville’s upcoming bus and steam rally on September 11. It will take place at the Helicopter Museum, in Locking Moor Road, from 10am-4.30pm.

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