Chaloner at Peterborugh. Courtesy of Cliff Thomas

Have steam locomotive, will travel!

Published 08th May 2013

Three narrow gauge steam locomotives exhibited in unusual locations over the weekend 27-28 April.

Moving steam locomotives around the country to visit gala events is common practice these days. However, when it is a narrow gauge locomotive there are even more possibilities and day (or weekend) trips for publicity purposes rather than operating are a realistic option.

Three locos clocking up the miles without moving a wheel could be found in unusual locations over the weekend April 27-28 and www.rail.co.uk was there to record the occasions.

Sir Haydn at Quorn for start of summer tour

The Talyllyn Railway’s Hughes 0-4-2ST No. 3 Sir Haydn is undertaking a tour of various sites this year. Its boiler ticket expired in 2012 and the Talyllyn has launched an appeal to build funds towards its overhaul. The series of visits publicise the appeal and, of course, its home railway in Mid-Wales.

The locomotive was originally built (for the Corris Railway) at the Falcon works of Hughes Locomotive & Tramway Engine Works in Loughborough. Loughborough is also the home of the famous Brush Locomotive Works next to the station.

No surprise then that it should appear a few miles from where it was constructed at the Great Central Railway’s Quorn station during the GCR’s April 26-28 Swithland Steam Gala.

Following that appearance, Sir Haydn moved to The Great Central Railway (Nottingham) for display during that line’s May 4-6 ‘Closing the Gap’ gala. It will leave Ruddington on June 21 to appear at the June 22-23 Tyseley Works Open Days in Birmingham, followed by display at the Midland Railway-Butterley’s museum at Swanwick Junction between June 24 and September 19.

See www.talyllyn.co.uk/loco-3-appeal for full details

Chaloner and Mountaineer at Peterborough

While the Talyllyn Railway’s Sir Haydn looked across the yard towards passing standard gauge locos on April 27, two nominally 2ft gauge engines were the biggest locos by far on display at the National Garden Railway Show.

De Winton 0-4-0VBT Chaloner from the Leighton Buzzard Railway and the Ffestiniog Railway’s ALCO 2-6-2T Mountaineer appeared as ‘prototype inspiration’ exhibits at the Peterborough Arena during the event organised by The Association of 16mm Narrow Gauge Modellers.

Chaloner, which dates from 1877, is in full working order and taking a brief time out from running at Leighton Buzzard. It was displayed with the cab fitted last year following discovery of a photograph showing this previously unknown feature, but is expected to revert to its more familiar form on returning to LBR.

The Ffestiniog’s Mountaineer was built in 1916 for the War Department Light Railways in France. After post-war work in France on a sugar beet line it was bought for use by the FR where it entered service in 1968 following some modifications to its appearance. It has been out of traffic since its boiler ticket expired in February 2006.

Historic model bonus

The Garden Railway show also had another very special visitor on display, the historic model 0-4-0TT Topsy built in 1869 at Boston Lodge which is normally displayed in a glass cabinet in ‘Spooner’s Bar’ at the FR’s Harbour station.

The model, the oldest known narrow gauge garden railway locomotive in the world, was built to run on a 3 1/8 in gauge railway in the grounds of the Bron-y-Garth home of Charles Easton Spooner, then secretary and manager of the Ffestiniog Railway.

Written by Cliff Thomas

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