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Matt C. - Meet The Team

This is the second in our weekly "Meet the Team Mondays" where we share more about the people that make MRW what it is today,


Matt Loading Steel into MRW

Hi I'm Matt!

From a young age I have been interested in trains as my parents took me to preserved railways such as Midland Railway Centre (Butterley), Great Central Railway and Nottingham Heritage Centre as well as running a model railway we had at home.


My grandad worked on the railway at “Kirkby Loco'' the nickname given to the Kirkby-in-Ashfield locomotive sheds. He worked as a fireman aged fifteen in 1940 to the 1960s. He wrote a memory about his times on the railways in a handwritten notebook which I am in the process of transcribing. He described to me in person working trains as far as Wellingborough, Birmingham and Manchester. 


I was certainly bitten by the railway bug early on from all the influence from my family.


Kirkby-in-Ashfield and Railways

I have always lived in Kirkby-in-Ashfield (Kirkby) historically you had two main jobs if you lived in Kirkby, to either work down the pits or on the railways. This was the home of the Mansfield and Pinxton railway, an extremely early horse-drawn railway which was completed in 1819 to link Mansfield with the Cromford Canal at Pinxton.


Mansfield and Pinxton horse drawn railway – watercolour illustration by artist Albert Sorby Buxton. Source: Mansfield Museum and Art Gallery.

The Mansfield and Pinxton railway was operational ten years before the construction of Stephenson's Rocket and really was a pioneering railway in the world. It puts Kirkby-in-Ashfield firmly on the historical railway map. Eventually Kirkby was served by three railway companies, the Great Central, Great Northern and Midland Railway; today only the Midland Railway line remains.


School, Media and Autism

I struggled through my school years somewhat and was diagnosed with autism, there were times I wished I hadn’t been born with Autism. My dad assured me that I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t have it and it’s probably what gives me my keen interest for trains and skill for video editing. 


My grandad bought a camcorder in around 2001 which started the ball rolling with my hobby of filming over the years since the age of 7. When my grandad died I inherited the camcorder and continued to use the camera. I have filmed trains at various preserved railways in the country over the years as well as trains on the modern scene. Me and my dad know the GCR like the back of our hands so he would drive to different locations and we’d film at various spots. It was fun to edit the clips into sequences giving the illusion of following the same loco at different points of its journey.  Eventually I would start my own YouTube channel called JintySteam.



I attended a media TV and Film course where I produced a number of short film projects. One of my most memorable projects was when I did a documentary on the Nottingham Tram extension where I interviewed various people including the then Stapleford borough council Chairman and Ex-Mayor of Stapleford.


How I Found MRW


I found MRW quite by accident. While browsing on google maps I came across a business titled “Miniature Railway Workshop.” Upon looking into it I found it was a business involved in miniature trains. I had never imagined a business such as this would exist in my own town of Kirkby-in-Ashfield.


It is also ironic that the workshop unit is situated on the former Mansfield Railway between Kirkby and Clipstone built to serve Clipstone colliery, which would later become part of the GCR. It is somewhat fitting that a company making railway related things should be on a former trackbed.


I thought luck had come my way and I had to find some way to get involved. I messaged MRW on Facebook and then walked down the road to meet them and find out more. They saw I was keen even though I hadn’t been employed anywhere before nor had any prior experience of engineering or metal work. Despite this they set me on a trial period, after which they were happy enough to take me on as part of the team.


Matt stood with track built by him


Working at MRW

My communication skills have certainly improved. When I started at MRW I was quite shy and quiet. I have broken out of my shell and now feel more confident. My other hobbies include bell ringing and gaming; I play a plethora of railway related games as well as others.


Working at MRW has also improved my hand eye coordination skills, DIY skills and decision making which I have been able to use outside of work.

When a pallet of completed track leaves the workshop it gives me a feeling of pride to know something I have helped to make is being used in the world.


Events

One of the highlights of working at MRW is when we do events. It was a big thing for me when we took a portable railway to Toton for the first time as part of the DB Cargo staff day. Toton was once the biggest freight marshalling yard in Britain and is now the main hub for DB Cargo and where they maintain locomotives. I got the opportunity to have a full tour of the depot and sit in the driving seat of a Class 66, a real perk of the job at MRW!



Further Volunteering

Since starting at MRW I have been encouraged to get involved in some miniature railways as a volunteer, a dream truly fulfilled. I am now a regular driver at Pugneys Light Railway and I am also now a regular driver at the Chesterfield and District Model Engineering Society.



Going up in gauge I have also had the privilege of occasionally volunteering at Sherwood Forest Railway which is a very local 15 inch gauge railway where I have worked as a guard.



What it Means to Me to Work at MRW

I enjoy the slowly evolving community MRW has with its workforce and I get along well with the others and help out where necessary. It’s not easy to find a job suited to you, but I feel I have found the right place.


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