Princess Anne was in Doncaster to open a new multi-million pound workshop at Wabtec Rail.
The new facility, built just a hundred metres or so of E2 – the workshop that produced the Flying Scotsman and Mallard locomotives, has been constructed to initially support the Class 321 overhaul programme.
The first of 30 units to be refurbished as part of the £60 million Renatus scheme – which means born again in Latin – are already in Doncaster.
Initial ‘dirty’ work will be carried out in the Light Shop before the 321s are moved over to the new facility.
The first complete 321 will take around six months to refurbish, but Wabtec hopes to eventually turn around a complete train in just 36 days. The first vehicles will return to service early next year.
The Princess Royal toured Wabtec’s Station 3, Heavy Shop and Light Shop before unveiling a commemorative plaque in the new workshop, which is still to be named.
She was handed a posy by Beth Marsh, one of 20 apprentices currently working at the 22-acre site.
Also in attendance were senior figures from Wabtec, including president and chief executive Ray Betler, and Eversholt Rail.