Published: 2nd November 2015
Talyllyn Railway’s Hughes 0-4-2ST No. 3 Sir Haydn was delivered to Vale of Rheidol Railway’s Aberystwyth workshops on October 22 for the first stage of an overhaul aimed at returning it to steam by spring 2018.
Originally built in 1878 for the Corris Railway, where it ran until the 2ft 3in gauge line closed in 1948, in 1951 it was purchased by the nearby Talyllyn Railway which shared the same unusual gauge. On moving a few miles north it was named after the TR’s late owner, Sir Henry Haydn Jones, the loco not previously having carried a name. A second engine was also purchased from the Corris Railway at this time named Tattoo but renamed Edward Thomas.
Sir Haydn went out of ticket in summer 2012, then becoming something of a roving ambassador promoting the Talyllyn as it made guest appearances at Great Central, West Somerset and Severn Valley railway’s including a spell as a static exhibit in SVR’s Engine House at Highley. After appearing at The Caravan Show in Birmingham’s NEC it returned to Tywyn on February 28.
Although initial indications were that No. 3 would be overhauled at TR’s Pendre works Sir Haydn was not dismantled and able to make a ‘surprise’ appearance during the Talyllyn’s July 3-5 ‘150th Party’ event. Contracting its overhaul to Vale of Rheidol Railway follows adoption of a new TR policy of sending locomotives and rolling stock to specialist workshops for major overhauls and rebuilds, enabling staff at Tywyn to concentrate on other work. The decision is in line with the ‘out-sourcing’ of repairs to Fletcher, Jennings 0-4-2ST No. 1 Talyllyn to Ffestiniog Railway’s Boston Lodge works in 2013.
The first phase of work will assess the full scope of required overhaul work. A TR appeal has already raised £30,000 towards the overhaul, but how much more will be needed will only be established following full examination of the chassis and boiler.
Landing the contract is significant for Vale of Rheidol Railway, reinforcing its intentions of becoming an important player in the narrow gauge locomotive and engineering business. This move follows completion of the magnificent new works facility at Aberystwyth, the doors of which were opened to the public for the first time during VoR’s September 26-27 Steam Festival.
The festival also saw unveiling of two recently completed major restoration projects - VoR’s own Hunslet 0-4-0ST Margaret and Phil Mason’s Kerr Stuart ‘Sirdar’ class 0-4-0T Diana ( http://www.rail.co.uk/rail-news/2015/two-steamy-ladies-resume-working-life-after-a-65-year-retirement/ ). Other work in progress within the works includes the overhaul of VoR’s 2-6-2T No. 7 Owain Glyndŵr, which last steamed in 1998.
“Sending locomotive No. 3 to the works at Aberystwyth for this major overhaul means that the staff at Tywyn will be able to concentrate on routine maintenance and other new developments,” commented Talyllyn Railway’s Interim Managing Director, David Ventry. “We have a number of major new projects coming in the future and we need to ensure we have the personnel available here to enable these to happen on schedule. In the meantime we can rest assured that work on Sir Haydn can proceed unhindered, and the locomotive can be in service in time for its 140th Anniversary.
“The Vale of Rheidol’s workshops at Aberystwyth are now developing an excellent track record of locomotive repairs and restoration. It therefore makes eminent sense to utilise their specialist facilities to carry out this work,” David Ventry continued. “Once again it demonstrates the trend for working in partnership rather than being in competition, and also still helps the local economy.”
Llŷr ap Iolo, Director of Vale of Rheidol Trading Ltd commented: “This is a fantastic opportunity for the Vale of Rheidol to work in conjunction with the Talyllyn to overhaul this historic Welsh narrow gauge locomotive and bring it back to working order. No. 3 Sir Haydn has spent its entire working life in Mid-Wales and like our own locomotives, formed part of the Great Western Railway’s fleet. It is fitting that its latest overhaul will take place a short distance from where the locomotive originally worked.”
“The Vale of Rheidol has greatly expanded its workshop facilities over recent years allowing us take on outside contract work and we are delighted that the Talyllyn has awarded us this contract,” Llŷr ap Iolo confirmed.