A Talyllyn Railway locomotive has had a busy and varied few weeks celebrating its centenary during September.
Locomotive No 4, named ‘Edward Thomas’ after the former general manager prior to Talyllyn becoming the UK’s first ever preserved railway, was originally built by manufacturers Kerr Stuart of Stoke on Trent in 1921 for Corris Railway.
It was Corris Railway’s fourth operational locomotive, the other three being, at that time, in a poor condition and in need of overhaul.
When the railway was taken over by Great Western Railway in 1930, Loco No 4 was working the line with the one surviving and now overhauled Loco No 3, dating back to 1878.
By the time of nationalisation in 1948, Loco No 4 was out of service and in need of overhaul. When Corris Railway was closed by British Railways in the same year, Corris Locos No 3 and No 4, were stored under a tarpaulin on a siding behind Machynlleth Station.
They remained there for a further three years until both were purchased by the newly formed Talyllyn Railway Preservation Society in 1951, to be named “Sir Haydn” and “Edward Thomas” respectively. They joined existing Talyllyn locos No 1 (Talyllyn) and No 2 (Dolgoch), both of which needed overhaul.
On September 4 and 5, Loco No 4 made a nostalgic return visit to Corris Railway for a gala weekend in celebration of its 100th birthday. The loco back at Talyllyn Railway to continue is centenary celebrations on September 11 and 12.
Over the weekend, special trains were made up in which Edward Thomas ran as a double header with visiting Corris Loco No 7.
The gala weekend also featured Diana and Apedale Valley Light Railway locomotive S4 “Stanhope” Kerr Stuart Tattoo Class 2395. These two locos ran on a temporary 2ft gauge track, giving cab rides in the yard at Tywyn Wharf Station.
Diana was purchased in 2014 by Talyllyn Railway member and volunteer Phil Mason who completed its restoration following year and the loco was serving on Bala Lake Railway by the end of that year.
Diana’s own centenary, in 2017, was celebrated by a tour of several of the UK railways including Statfold Barn, Beamish, Ffestiniog and the Welsh Highland. The loco is currently operating on the Amerton Railway, Staffordshire
Stanhope was also completed in 1917 and has passed through the ownership of a number of companies, including civil engineers ‘Holloway Brothers’ for work on the construction of 1,000 homes in Rosyth, relating to the Royal Naval Dockyard.
It then transferred to Kent for the construction of the Swanley bypass, following which ownership passed to Durham County Water Board, where it acquired its name “Stanhope.”
The gala weekend was complemented by Talyllyn Railway Craft Beer, Cider and Gin Festival, with 10 locally brewed real ales available as well as a variety of ciders and locally sourced gins.
Society chairman, Jonathan Mann, said: “It was a real treat to have the two visiting Kerr Stuart locomotives with us for the event. Seeing ‘Stanhope’ and our No 4 ‘Edward Thomas’ side by side revealed both the similarities and the differences.
“I would like to thank the owners for making their locomotives available and for letting me drive them both. Thanks also go to our friends at Corris Railway for their co-operation and for allowing their replica locomotive, No 7, to visit us.”
>> Find out more about Talyllyn Railway on the Visit Mid Wales website
Visiting Kerr Stuart locomotives Diana and Stanhope.
Edward Thomas double heads with Corris Railway locomotive No 7.
Photos: Glenn Cannon.
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