APPRENTICES from a cement works learned unique skills while helping restore a historic steam locomotive.

The young men were invited to spend three days working alongside volunteers on 'Coal Tank' at Ingrow West railway station.

The little engine was recently removed from service on the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway so it could receive a full overhaul.

The Bahamas Society has long-established links from Hope Cement Works because it owns another engine, Nunlow, that spent its working life at the works.

Jake Saxon, Alex Dunsby, Harrison Winters and Daniel Hobson spent three days working in the society's workshop at Ingrow Loco Museum, which is housed in the former Midland Railway goods warehouse adjacent to Ingrow West station.

Bahamas Society chairman Keith Whitmore said the Ingrow volunteers had been thrilled and excited with their joint work with the cement works.

He said: "We were delighted to be able to accommodate the four apprentices for the three-day experience of working in a heritage engineering environment.

"They worked on the dismantling of our 1888-built Coal Tank Locomotive which was in steam at the beginning of November last year for the last time.

"The lads worked as part of a team and fitted in extremely well, and I think enjoyed themselves at the same time as seeing skills which are no longer part of a training programme in the modern rail industry.

They removed parts from the cab of the locomotive, which is now totally stripped down and the boiler has been lifted. With the apprentices' help we are now about five months ahead of schedule in the overhaul of the locomotive.

"We look forward to welcoming the apprentices again in the New Year and especially to the time when they will be able to work on 1704 Nunlow which spent its entire working life at the cement works in Hope. Following the Coal Tank, Nunlow will be next in line for overhaul.

"The name Nunlow comes from the hill at the back of the works, and the loco is all that is left of the name as the hill has completely gone as cement!

"We so much appreciate the cooperation of the management at Hope and are looking forward to working with them on other projects with us. In the meantime we will be ensuring the apprentices receive certificates to acknowledge their work with us and to thank them for being with us."

Hope has thanked the Bahamas Locomotive Society for supporting it with the development and enhancement of its apprentice programme.