MUSIC mogul and train entrepreneur Pete Waterman has joined up with a major rail engineering firm to open up a railway academy in Crewe.

OSL Rail Limited and Mr Waterman, who is widely known for his work in the music industry, announced a new academy that will provide a comprehensive training utility to the railway industry.

Railway Exchange Training Academy (RETA), which will be based in Crewe, will focus on training people already employed in the industry as well as the next generation of engineers.

The academy plans to open later in 2015.

Mr Waterman said: “I’m delighted to be working with OSL, a business I’ve got to know well over the last few years. Railways are my passion, as is training.

“The railway faces many challenges and opportunities over the coming years and if it is to meet these it must as an industry train the next generation of engineers as well as maintaining and enhancing the competencies of the existing employees.”

Mr Waterman, who was awarded an OBE in 2004 for services to the music industry, has had a lifelong association with railways, having owned several railway businesses.

The former Pop Idol judger recently sat on the government’s HS2 Growth Taskforce, which was charged with responsibility for ensuring that the benefits of HS2 are full realised.

He is also director of the Crewe and Warrington Local Enterprise Partnership and chairman of Tomorrow’s Rail, an industry forum established to develop an agenda for the future of rail.

John O'Boyle, OSL managing director, said the joint-venture marks a ‘positive step in the direction of a belief that OSL and Mr Waterman have separately been striving for, for years’.

He said: “It signifies an innovative, balanced and collaborative approach to training.

“By combining both skills that have existed for 150 years and the very latest technologies, the aim of RETA is to provide young professionals of the future with a holistic systems training focus that will encourage natural progression routes into the rail industry.”