Ravenglass set to celebrate at the double as Whillan Beck debuts

THE Ravenglas & Eskdale Railway will be celebrating two major events this year – the debut of its ‘Train from Spain’ and the 50th anniversary of what is considered the heritage sector’s first new-build locomotive.

A photograph of Whillan Beck at the Dalegarth terminus on test on November 23. This was the first attempt the locomotive had made to go up the line under its own steam and was a success. KEITH HERBERT/RER

The Train from Spain, Krauss Pacific No.8457 – which ran at the Ibero-American Exposition in Seville from 1929-32 and was imported to the UK following its purchase by the Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway Preservation Society in the English Lake District – has been named by its supporters.

Originally called Pinta – named after one of Columbus’ three ships – society members voted from six options (including the old name) to call it Whillan Beck, after the stream which passes under the railway at its Dalegarth terminus.

The new name ties with the names of some of the railway’s other engines – River Irt, River Esk and River Mite, which are all named after rivers flowing into the sea at Ravenglass.

Members also voted on a colour scheme for the engine, which is currently in a Midland red resembling the LMS Duchess locomotives so admired by the engineer restoring it in Spain. It will now be replaced by a Caledonian Railway blue, which received more than 50% of society members’ votes!

Read more in Issue 226 of HR – out now!

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