Double centenary for Talyllyn RAF engine


A SPECIAL celebration is to be held on the Talyllyn Railway to mark the 100th birthdays of Barclay 0-4-0WT No. 1431 of 1918 No. 6 Douglas and also that of the Royal Air Force which once owned it.

On June 1-3, Douglas – which has already been repainted in RAF Traffic Blue – is to be lined up alongside a full-size Spitfire in an event titled Leave on the Line.

Douglas spent most of its working life at RAF Calshot near Southampton, and was later bought by engineering company Abelson’s. In the early days of its volunteer operation, the railway had contacted firms asking for redundant equipment. Abelson’s offered the locomotive to the Talyllyn, and in return it named it after the donor, Douglas Abelson.

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Recently repainted in RAF blue livery, Barclay 0-4-0WT Douglas crosses Dolgoch viaduct. TR

After presentation in 1953 the locomotive was retubed and converted from 2ft to 2ft 3in gauge at Griffin Foundry, Oldbury before being taken by road to Towyn.

Leave on the Line will recall the locomotive’s days of active service during the two world wars, in particular the time it spent at RAF Calshot, while capturing the wartime atmosphere in West Wales during the Second World War.

During the war the Tywyn area was used as a base for training for anti-aircraft battery personnel, while the beaches were used to practice amphibious landings, including for D-Day itself.

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However, people still took holidays during the war, and the area was also where people came to take a break from the dangers of the big cities and nightly bombing. Here service personnel could also relax and unwind when on leave.

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