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7 1/4 inch narrow gauge Festiniog & Blaenau Railway 0-4-2ST - stock code 9500

The Festiniog & Blaenau Railway was built in 1868, connecting Blaenau Ffestiniog with local slate quarries and Llan Ffestiniog 3 1/2 miles away - it also had a connection to the Festiniog Railway. It survived in its narrow gauge form for 15 years, before being bought up and relaid to standard gauge in 1883.

With no locomotives of its own, the line relied on leased motive power from the Festiniog Railway. Finally, three months after opening, the railway took delivery of a pair of 0-4-2 saddle tank engines, built for it by Manning Wardle of Leeds, their works numbers 259 and 260. The engines worked the line until it was regauged, when it is believed they were scrapped at Swindon.

The only live steam model of one of these engines I'd ever seen belongs to my friend James, who owns a very fine 2 1/2 inch gauge example - visitors to our Heywood Collection "At Home" in 2019 may remember seeing it in the library, next to my Stirling Single. So it was somewhat of a surprise when we recently went to collect what had been described as a Manning Wardle "Anna", only to see this emerge from the shed!

A well made engine - "proper engineering" the opinion in the workshop here - this 7 1/4 inch gauge locomotive is something around 80% complete, including a commercially built silver soldered copper boiler built for it in 2009. A large engine, the boiler alone weighs over ten stone!

Work to date is to a high standard - fit and finish of motionwork and valve gear is good, wheels are keyed to axles, collars taper-pinned to shafts.

The chassis runs well on air - there's some video of it on the rolling road in the workshop here - with clear well-defined exhaust beats in both directions. The slide valves, mounted beneath the cylinders, seat with a satisfying "pop" when the regulator is opened.

A great deal of care has been taken to ensure things fit correctly, including the fabrication of a detailed dummy boiler to check the fit of platework and tank.

The saddle tank, in copper and brass, is a magnificent thing - the lead weighted filler cap stamped up "8 gallons". Handrails and nameplates are all mounted to soldered-in bushes.

The CE-marked boiler was made for the locomotive by GB Boilers, delivered in 2009 - it's copper, all silver soldered a 180psi test pressure stamp on the backhead for 90psi working.

gauge 7 1/4 inch
length/inches 65
width/inches 18
height/inches 31
weight/kg est 250
wheel material steel
axlebox type plain bearing
cylinder material cast iron
valve type slide
valve gear Stephensons
reverser type pole
lubricator type mechanical
boiler number GB-380
year built 2009
boiler maker GB Boiler Services
CE mark yes
working pressure/psi 90
boiler type locomotive
boiler material copper
boiler construction silver soldered