Heckmondwike firm has a brush with Ashley

SCENE: Ashley with some of his work adorning the train's interior.
SCENE: Ashley with some of his work adorning the train's interior.

A HECKMONDWIKE firm has helped make railway history.

Procast foundry, which makes name and number plates for trains, street name signs, boat nameplates, blue heritage plaques and house numbers, was chosen to create a plate for a Grand Central Railway train which has been named after Yorkshire painter Ashley Jackson.

The locomotive is said to be the first ever art train and features examples of Ashley’s work within the carriages and even the onboard toilets.

The plate created by Procast features the name of the train, The Yorkshire Artist, as well as Ashley’s signature embossed in the metal.

Procast owner Stephen Cliff said he was very pleased to be asked to create the plate.

He said: “This was quite high profile because of how well known Ashley Jackson is. We were pleased to do it and Ashley was over the moon with it.”

He said Ashley’s signature was precision cut into the metal using a computer.

He said: “A Bradford company called Hallco CNC cut it all out for us and we painted it up and polished it. The plate had to be very thin so the only way to do it was to make it from a solid piece.

“We usually make traditional pieces using wood and cast them in a foundry. We send them off all over the world.”

Procast has made signs for Grand Central for the Royal train and for TV presenter Pete Waterman, who is a railway enthusiast.”

Ashley said: “This is fantastic for art, for Yorkshire, and the country as a whole. I am thrilled to launch what is the first high speed exhibition space of its kind in the country.

“It will allow passengers to enjoy an artistic experience whilst on the move, bringing art into every day life. This will undoubtedly make train journeys more enjoyable and thought-provoking.”

The train will operate between the North East of England, Yorkshire and London King’s Cross.

Procast, which is in Spen Vale Street, has been run by Stephen and his son James since 1992.

In 2004 it was given a right royal appointment when it was commissioned to manufacture polished aluminium nameplates for the Royal train.

Stephen was given strict guidelines for the name plates, and the first, for the main engine, had to be a special royal burgundy with the letters in polished aluminuim.

The company also made the finials for the fencing of the Aakash in Cleckheaton.