Former railway worker creates his own royal jubilee tribute

Former railway worker Vin Wardman is getting up steam after designing and building his very own royal train to mark the Queen's Platinum Jubilee.

Vin Wardman with his Jubilee Train
Vin Wardman with his Jubilee Train

Vin Wardman, 89, from Craven Arms, started making the Queen Elizabeth II train, which is built around a mobility scooter, in December and finally completed it in March.

Vin, who is a full-time carer for his wife, Phyllis, has always enjoyed making models and at one time was a member of Craven Arms Model Railway group.

The father-of-two, who has one grandchild and two great-grandchildren, has created the six foot seven inches long body shell for the train from household items.

He said: "It is made from a pedal bin from the kitchen which acts as a boiler and the two domes on top are created from hairspray lids covered in black, red and purple, the Queen's racing colours.

"The lights are made out of children's building blocks and covered in gold and black paper.

"I found you could buy a smoker to create smoke for the train based on the scooter which runs on a 24-volt battery.

"Although I use my car to reach the shops, I plan to put the train outside my home for people to see on the Thursday of the Jubilee Bank Holiday celebrations.

"I have made another body shell based on the Mallard, the locomotive which set the record for travelling from Lands End to Scotland.

"This is called Vinny and is named after my six-year-old great-grandson.

"Since completing the train I have made a Pullman carriage and named this Paisley, after my four-year-old great-granddaughter.

"I designed and built the train but my friend, Steve Garner, from The Sign Workshop in Craven Arms, designed the graphics."

Vin has a history associated with the railway having worked as a linesman and plate-layer on the Central Wales line, from Craven Arms to Broome, having started work in January 1955 when he was 23-years-old and earning £6 and 4 shillings each week.

In 1960 he went as a sub-ganger on the main Hereford to Shrewsbury Line for British Rail at Leebotwood before getting a job in Church Stretton.

He then went as a time-keeper in the Permanent Way Office at Shrewsbury and then returned to work on the track before taking a desk job and retiring in 1974.

Vin then went to work as a checker loading lorries at the Chuckie Chicken factory and also worked part-time as an antique dealer.

He began making small models of Chuckie lorries and buses and later those of Lloyds of Ludlow using die-cast models and stripping them to replace with the signs of local factories.

Vin said: "It was after learning about a man who made lorries from mobility scooters that I decided to have a go at making cabs which led to me making the train."

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