Tag Archives: Little Wonder

2 Centenarians at Chasewater Railway

On platform colour

2 Centenarians at Chasewater Railway

The Chasewater Railway Museum has  a significant amount of paperwork formerly belonging to David Ives, a founder member of the Railway Preservation Society and a long-time Board Member of the Chasewater Railway.  Our curator is working his way through this paperwork to put it in some sort of order, and is finding some interesting photographs in some of the boxes, including the ones shown here.B&W no people

The centenarians involved are the traction engine ‘Little Wonder’ and the Neilson steam locomotive known as ‘Alfred Paget’  (2937/1882).

The gentlemen in the photo holding the cake are the late Johnny Mayes, at the time the owner of ‘Little Wonder’,  and the late David Ives of Chasewater Railway, on the right.

Hats off

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Steam Locos of a Leisurely Era – 1869 – Fairlie Engines of the Festiniog Railway

Steam Locos of a Leisurely Era

1869  Fairlie Engines of the Festiniog Railway

Taliesin as running in 1932 HCC

With the rapid growth of traffic, the Festiniog Railway soon found it necessary to provide a more powerful locomotive than the 0-4-0engines mentioned in the previous post to handle the more lengthy trains necessary to avoid doubling the line, a costly alternative.  It was decided therefore to try a design patented by one Robert Fairlie in which the locomotive incorporated two separate boilers with a common central firebox.  The two independent swivelling steam bogies each carry a saddle on which its own boiler rests, steam connections being made by means of flexible pipes.  The driver occupies one side of the central cab, and the fireman the other, on which the firehole is situated.James Spooner – Blaenau Ffestiniog 1879

The first Fairlie engine had been built in 1852 for the Semmering Incline in Austria, but it was its application to so narrow a gauge as 1’ 11½” coupled with its flexibility on extremely sharp curves which attracted railway engineers, from many parts of the world, who came to see it in action.  As a result the design became widely used abroad, chiefly in Sweden, Russia and South America, particularly Mexico.Merddyn Emrys – Porthmadog Harbour Station – Andrew Stawartz 2007

The first engine, No.7 – Little Wonder, did not last very long, being broken up in 1883.  It was largely experimental, and a certain number of initial faults found in operation were rectified in the subsequent engines, which were eminently successful.  No.7 had been built by George England & Co. in 1869, but No.8 – James Spooner, which came in 1872, was the product of the Avonside Engine Co.  The last two, Nos.10 – Merddyn Emrys and 11 – Livingstone Thompson were constructed in 1879 and 1885 in the Festiniog’s own shops at Boston Lodge, but the boilers were probably supplied by Avonsides.Livingstone Thompson – Porthmadog Harbour Station – 1879  DH Bleasdale

No.8 – James Spooner worked until 1929, when it was thoroughly worn out, but parts of it were cannibalised to repair the remaining two engines.  No.11 had been renamed Taliesin and renumbered 3.  Both this engine and No.10 were still in existence when the line was closed in 1946, and since re-opening in 1955 Taliesin has been repaired and put into service again.  It is hoped to renovate Merddyn Emrys similarly.Little Wonder – Porthmadog Harbour Station –  RH Bleasdale

                                      No.7                       No.8                            Nos.10 & 11

Driving wheels              2’ 4”                       2’ 8”                                      2’ 9¼”

Cylinders (4)                 8¼”x 13”               8½”x 14”                     9”x 14”

Pressure                       160 lb                    140 lb                          160 lb

Tractive Effort               5357 lb                  5410 lb                        6059 lb

Weight                          19 tons 10 cwt      20 tons 1cwt               24 tonsTaliesin as single Fairlie – Guy Chapman 2007

Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces 43.1 – Neilson on its way – most of it!

A not very satisfactory day

By G. Wildish

June 16th 1968, we were on our way to collect the Neilson locomotive – ‘we’ being Mary Grisdale and myself, Gerald Wildish.  The 4.00am train landed us in Glasgow shortly before 8.00am and after breakfast we arrived at Gartsherrie at 8.30.  Since our last visit, the works had been completely taken over by the scrap merchants, T.W.Ward, and this was the beginning of our trouble.

Reporting at the works – the manager said ‘Oh yes, the engine is there – go up and I will join you later.’  I went to the shed and was disgusted.  Some scrap thieves had removed all the brass clack and water valves.  The coupling and connecting rods had also been removed and cut up by oxy-acetylene equipment and were lying in pieces around the engine.  I returned to the manager and told him the story, ‘Oh yes, that happened yesterday, the police have been told’ – but why hadn’t he mentioned it to me earlier!

There was one locomotive with its motions still intact – No.3, and the manager agreed that we should tale these rods.  The next job was to remove them, they were stuck fast!  Mary traced some welders nearby with some cutting equipment and I gave them a back-hander to remove these for me – it took two and a half hours to get these pieces off satisfactorily. (It is highly probable that these men were the culprits from the day before).

Meanwhile the other problem was to remove the locomotive.  The line which we were to use for the removal – which it had been promised would be left for us – had been taken up!  At 9.00am the Wrekin Haulage people arrived and I took the driver on a tour of the lines and eventually we found one road-level stretch of line, but this was a mile and a quarter away.  The problem was to get the loco there.  The diesel loco of T.W.Ward was also in trouble and was unlikely to work.  However, I prevailed on two men to start and operate the diesel, but the brakes failed.  We agreed that I should operate the Neilson as a brake.  At 11 o’clock we succeeded in getting the Neilson to the low loader.  Two hours later we had got the coupling rods off the other Neilson and taken over to the low loader by a dumper truck.On her way!

Just before 4 o’clock the Neilson was loaded, but on arrival at the works entrance, the driver estimated that he could not get out!  Half-an-hour later, with the police controlling the traffic, the lorry nosed its way out and we set off for home.

Despite all our efforts, we are still two water and clack valves and injectors short.  New piping will be required to connect them with the loco and screws holding them to the boiler will have to be renewed as these have been mutilated by the acetylene equipment.  However, we have the loco – I pray that No.3’s rods fit.  Now that Millom Haematite Iron Ore Co. is to close down, we may be able to obtain spares from their Neilson, I sincerely hope so – I have written to them in anticipation.

Steaming at Chasewater

That is the end of Gerald Wildish’s article, but just to conclude – the Neilson locomotive took a while before it was used at Chasewater but was steamed successfully from 1975 till 1982.  After some years in storage and in the Heritage Centre it has now been moved into the workshop ready for renovation work, probably after the Hudswell Clarke S100 has been completed.In the Heritage Centre workshop

PS from Barry Bull – steamed September or October 1982 for her 100th birthday together with McLaren traction engine ‘Little Wonder’, also 100 years old, owned by the late John Mayes.Picture from http://www.steamscenes.org