James Spooner: The Ffestiniog’s next double Fairlie

The history of the double Fairlies is complicated. Allan George unravels the story and explains why the Ffestiniog Railway is building another one at Boston Lodge.

David Lloyd George is seen at Tanygrisiau in 2005. BRIAN SHARPE
David Lloyd George is seen at Tanygrisiau in 2005. BRIAN SHARPE

One of the most successful tourist railways in the world, the Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland, is to build a new double Fairlie locomotive, continuing the company’s pioneering spirit.

Throughout its long history, the railway has innovated and set standards and trends followed by others around the world.

The new engine will be the seventh double Fairlie to run on the railway and the fifth built entirely at its workshops at Boston Lodge.

To be named James Spooner, it will carry the number 8, as did the predecessor James Spooner built by Avonside in 1872 and withdrawn in 1928. Some parts of the original survive to the present day, the wheels being under Livingston Thompson at the National Railway Museum in York.

Read more in the latest issue of Heritage Railway

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