Keeping childhood dreams on track with ageing steam trains

‘Beware of moving trains’ reads the old sign outside Gert Jubileus’ workshop. Ironically, locomotives only end up inside after their industry has pulled up their brakes for good. Exiled from the track to make way for progress, the handsome antiques would be heading for the scrap yard if not for Jubileus’ intervention.

Backed by investors who likewise see the trains as treasures, he has made it his job to restore and preserve their magic. But for Jubileus, who grew up enthralled by the artistry involved in building these beauties, it’s more than an occupation. Returning the steamers to their prime to see them once again chug down the track is his pleasure. “As long as there are places like this, my childhood dream will be alive,” he says, speaking of the workshop.

With technological advancement making steam trains redundant in the public transport sector, Jubileus is giving them new purpose as a point of nostalgia. “Every day coming to work is exciting,” says the craftsman. “Walking past them, working on them, touching them, seeing them come alive when you steam them up.” Jubileus’ work brings to life his inner child.