Curious Devon: Pecorama tour
- Credit: Archant
Did you know that there is a factory at Pecorama, making a range of model railway tracks? We take a look around to see how the track is manufactured.
Nestled on a hillside overlooking the historic East Devon fishing village of Beer is the family attraction of Pecorama - famed for its award-winning mile-long 'Beer Heights Light Railway'.
But did you know that Pecorama is also home to a model railway track factory, steaming away behind the scenes to produce around 6500 points and 12,500 yards of track each week?
Pritchard Patent Product Co Ltd (PECO) has been laying down track since 1946 when railway enthusiast Sydney Pritchard founded the company from a small unit in Branscombe. After moving to Sidmouth and then Seaton, the company finally relocated to Beer in 1970 to build a brand-new production facility.
Factory manager Tim Vincent gave Curious Devon a guided tour around PECO's busy workshop, which employs 81 staff in daily production activities, this includes 14 technical/engineering employees.
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Mr Vincent said: "We have estimated that we have produced enough track to fit around the circumference of the world (24,901 miles).
"PECO is a family owned business, now into its third generation and continues to grow as it follows its business plan 'to aspire to being the world's leader in track manufacturing.
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"Success in the factory depends on the highly trained staff, each of whom are multi-skilled, giving us that edge and allowing us to be flexible and nimble to deal with changes or large orders."
PECO currently sells over 1,000 types of products in over 400 outlets across the UK and ships worldwide to 35 countries.
The company prides itself on being a forward-thinking innovative business and its ethos is that the 'management does not dwell over the past but uses the knowledge as important inspiration for the development of the future.'
This is particularly evident when looking around the factory, which still uses some original presses - installed just after World War Two - alongside its modern, state-of-the-art, machines.
Mr Vincent said: "We are busy recruiting at the moment to help manage stocks. Part of the increase in demand is due to producing track and points for other companies, which sits firmly as part of the business plan...
"We are always busy but with these extra demands we find ourselves working overtime to cover this - hence the requirement for more staff.
It goes without saying that Pecorama is a fantastic place to visit for all the family, appealing to all ages of people who have an interest in trains and railway modelling.
Curious Devon would like to thank Tim Vincent and Peco for giving a tour around its factory.
Find out more about what PECO has to offer model railway enthusiasts or visit Pecorama's website to see the latest news and book tickets for your next visit to the attraction.
Send us your stories: Curious Devon is a new series of features highlighting interesting and special places from around the region and the people who live and work there. If you know of a place or a person you would like us to feature then get in touch at email@example.com