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Bringing smiles back for Thomas; Firm's expertise will save children's favourite.

Byline: COLIN LEWIS Business Editor

A COVENTRY firm's engineering expertise is helping put the smile back on the faces of hundreds of child and adult fans of Thomas the Tank Engine.

The original 1939 steam loco of the character made famous by the Rev W Awdry is still in operation, but was suffering from a badly worn and rusted main drive cylinder block.

So the volunteers of the Quainton Railway Society in Buckinghamshire turned to Metalock Engineering, of Bayton Road Industrial Estate, for help.

The Coventry firm specialises in making castings for heritage machines. Its list of work includes a number of steam engines, bridges and complex Victorian architecture such as the famous Halfpenny Bridge across the River Liffey in Dublin city centre.

Metalock Engineering, which employs about 65 people, undertook a survey of the work and carried out the necessary reboring work and manufacture and installation of two new cylinder liners.

Mike Fish, who is in charge of sales and service, said: "We have done this sort of work for several steam-engine operators before, so we were happy to undertake the work.

"It is nice to be involved in a project that will bring so much pleasure to children around the country."

Mr Fish said that the amount of heritage work now being carried out by the company was continuing to increase. More than half of the work was abroad.

The company's next major heritage project involved a Victorian steam engine situated in a mill in Wigan.

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READY FOR SMILES: Thomas the Tank Engine at Quainton
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Copyright 2004 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Jan 29, 2004
Words:259
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