Published: 15th August 2015
Already heralded as Vale of Rheidol Railway’s biggest enthusiast event (see http://www.rail.co.uk/rail-news/2015/vale-of-rheidols-biggest-ever-event/ ) the identities of two visiting locomotives can now been unveiled.
With the public steam debut of VoRs ex-Penrhyn slate quarry Hunslet 0-4-0ST Margaret (605/1894) already a central feature of the festival the locos to help celebrate Margaret’s return to steam for the first time since November 1950 are also members of Penrhyn’s one-time steam fleet.
Hunslet 0-4-0STs Sybil Mary (921/1906) from Statfold Barn Railway and Winifred (364/1885) from Bala Lake Railway will be visiting Aberystwyth for a Penrhyn reunion in the year which marks the 50th anniversary of the last locomotive to work in Penrhyn quarry and closure of the Coed-y-Parc site at Bethesda.
Vale of Rheidol Railway is pulling out all the stops for the Festival - seven locomotives in steam on this 2ft gauge line in Mid-Wales will be unprecedented.
The visiting pair will join Margaret and privately owned Kerr Stuart ‘Sirdar’ class 0-4-0T 1158/1917 Diana, the latter also newly restored in VoR’s magnificent workshop facility and making its first public appearance in steam since 1950.
VoR main line trains to Devil’s Bridge will feature 2-6-2Ts No. 8 Llywelyn and No. 9 Prince of Wales with VoR’s Kerr Stuart ‘Wren’ 0-4-0ST 3114/1918 also to be in steam. In all, a very impressive line-up of narrow gauge motive power.
Having spent many years since the line was privately purchased from BR in 1989 reversing years of decline by concentrating on the infrastructure and building a firm foundation for the future, VoR is now significantly raising its enthusiast profile. Last year, Ffestiniog Railway’s George England 0-4-0STT Palmerston visited, thus becoming the first guest locomotive at the Vale of Rheidol Railway since the lines privatisation.
Incredibly Palmerston, built in 1864, was the oldest engine still in existence to have worked on the Vale of Rheidol line, which opened in 1902. Moreover, it was actually making a return to old haunts since it had been hired from the Ffestiniog by VoR in the early part of the last century.
Historic as Palmerston’s visit was, the Steam Festival raises VoR’s game by a significant margin, hence our assertion this is going to be a ‘must visit’ event!
While comparatively remote from the conventional epicentre of Welsh narrow gauge action, VoR is easily reached by rail, its terminus being shared with Aberystwyth’s national network station.