Taziker Assist the Restoration of St Blazey Turntable Ready for a Visit from the Flying Scotsman

Taziker worked with rail industry partners to restore the St Blazey turntable ready for a visit from the world-famous Flying Scotsman.

The ultimate aim of the project was to establish a new servicing facility for heritage railway locomotives at the heart of Cornwall’s rail network.  Taziker provided grit-blasting, painting expertise and local labour to carry out the works.

The turntable, which allows trains to be turned back in the direction they came from, is an important part of Cornwall’s industrial heritage. The project is managed by MPower Kernow C.I.C. (MPKC), a social enterprise established to create a unique technical training centre for STEM, Construction Industry and Environmental Technology Skills.  They enlisted a team of contractors, volunteers, and trainees to work on the project.

Restored St Blazey turntable

The St Blazey turntable was completed in time for a special visit from the Flying Scotsman on Sunday 30th April, when the locomotive was turned around in order to make its way to Bristol. This was a historical event as it was the first time that the St Blazey turntable had assisted the Flying Scotsman.

The project had support from Network Rail and DB Cargo UK to inspect and upgrade the turntable access lines.  Additionally, in conjunction with Taziker, rail industry specialists Ground Control Ltd, GPX Engineering, and Quattro also assisted with ‘in kind’ sponsorship.

Restored St Blazey turntable.

Tom Nicotra, Business Development Director – South, Taziker said: “I first heard of MPower and the turntable whilst onsite at our Lostwithiel Legacy Footbridge project. I was approached by the Mayor at the time enquiring if this was something that Taziker could support. At Taziker we are always looking for opportunities to give back to the local community for projects we are engaged on, and this one fell perfectly in line with our EPIC values which are core to our business.

“I’d like to say a big well done to everyone involved in the project who delivered the works and made it such a success.”

Karl Butler, Senior Project Manager, Taziker said: “Cornwall was historically an engineering county but in recent years this valued skillset has departed leaving a significant shortage. This project represents the very best in collaboratively introducing young people and adults alike to new skills and trades, whilst providing the industry with valuable development and training opportunities.

“I was incredibly pleased to be asked to get involved with the project and the culmination of the first stage in turning such an iconic locomotive, in its 100th anniversary year, was a monumental achievement by the MPower team.

“Taziker was an important cog in the greater machine providing metal preparation, grit-blasting, and painting of structural elements of the turntable.  This work was carried out at our Ivybridge depot by Coatings Manager, Damian Smith, and Site Manager, Adam Jones. These elements were incorporated into the rebuild of the turntable once the main carriage was reinstalled into the main ‘pit’.”

Volunteers working on the restoration project.

MPower is led by Duncan Mitchell, a locally born Merchant Navy chief engineer, and Mervyn Allcock MBE.

Duncan said: “On behalf of the MPower team, I would like to thank Taziker for the assistance in preparing the turntable components for the St Blazey turntable. Without your assistance, the project simply would not have achieved our exceedingly tight deadline.

“This is the culmination of several years’ planning and hard work. It’s my passion to provide practical training and employment opportunities for disadvantaged youngsters in Cornwall.

“But it’s not just about turning a few steam locomotives; this is a long-term project to provide a sustainable and viable facility that will benefit this community and the region’s engineering industry. Cornwall has a rich engineering history and we want to exploit that to inspire the next generation of engineers.”