Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Saving trains will stop teenagers going off the rails, says former locomotive man Pete Waterman

In 2004 I presented a television series called Trains, about the history and development of the railways. I still get letters from mothers about it, telling me their children watch it again and again.

Yet the children who loved my documentary, or who adored Thomas when they were five or six, have no interest in the industry by the time they leave school. And that means we have a problem.

The average age of the engineers working for my train maintenance company, London and North Western Railway, is 56. We need to recruit another 70 engineers but we just can't find them.

The situation is only going to get worse as our current crop of railway engineers - the average age at Network Rail is 54 - approaches retirement because we are faced with a number of what MPs like to call 'challenges'....

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