Daily Archives: July 22, 2011

Steam Locos of a More Leisurely Era 1863 – 0-4-0s of the Festiniog Railway

Steam Locos of a More Leisurely Era

1863      0-4-0s of the Festiniog Railway

No.4 – Palmerstone as running in 1926

 The first four of these engines, which were built in 1863-4, came out with side tanks.  They have always run with small 4-wheeled tenders attached, and are therefore in effect both tank and tender engines.  Their numbers and names were: 1 – Princess,  2 – Prince,  3 – Mountaineer,  and 4 – Palmerstone.c1870 Princess at Porthmadog Harbour Station

Nos.5 – Welsh Pony and 6 – Little Giant, which followed in 1867, were somewhat larger and fitted with saddle tanks from the start, and Nos. 1, 2 and 4 later had their tanks altered from the side to the saddle variety.  All of these engines were built by George England & Co., of Hatcham Ironworks, London.  The gauge of the Festiniog Railway is only 1’ 11½”, and this was the first attempt to use steam locomotives on so narrow a track.  Charles Spooner, the line’s General Manager and Engineer, was, however, convinced that such small engines would be a practical proposition, a suggestion which was challenged amongst others by such a notable personality as Robert Stephenson.  Events, however, proved Spooner to have been right, and these remarkable little machines were the forerunners of many thousands of other narrow gauge engines which were to be built later in all parts of the world.Little Giant Duffws Station  c1889-92

No.3 had a very short life as it met with an accident in 1879 and was damaged beyond repair.  No.6 was cut up in 1936, but the other four were still in existence when the line closed in 1946, although in varying states of repair or disrepair.   Upon the line being re-opened in 1955 by the Festiniog Railway Society, No.2 – Prince was the first engine to be restored to work the traffic, and was in 2010 in the Engine House at Highley on the Severn Valley Railway, and will hopefully be restored for the 150th Anniversary in 2013.Prince in the Engine House on the Severn Valley Railway

No. 1 – Princess has been on display in Spooner’s Bar at the Harbour Station.  No.4 – Palmerstone was restored in 1993, converted to coal firing from oil in 2005 and is currently in traffic.  No. 5 – Welsh Pony is currently under consideration for restoration – possibly for the 150th Anniversary in 2013.Welsh Pony Porthmadog Harbour Station

Nos. 1 – 4   Driving wheels – 2’ 0”,  Cylinders – 8¼”x 12”, Pressure – 140 lb,

Weight – 8½ tons

Nos. 5 – 6   Driving wheels – 2’ 2”,  Cylinders – 8½”x 12”,  Pressure – 150 lb,

Weight – 11 tons

Both classes were originally pressured at 200lbPalmerston at Porthmadog Gala 2005