Rhyl Billie to steam again

After many years out of use, one of the 15in gauge Atlantics built at Rhyl in the 1920s finally has a secure future and is set to return to steam.

The Rhyl Miniature Railway was built by Miniature Railways of Great Britain Ltd which had been founded in 1904, with W J Bassett-Lowke as managing director, and Henry Greenly as engineer.

To operate the railway, a standard Greenly-designed Bassett-Lowke Little Giant 4-4-2 was provided, named Prince Edward of Wales.

New owner Austin Moss with Billie. FIONA KENNAUGH

The line was quickly sold to Rhyl Amusements Ltd, owned by a Mr Butler, which already operated the other attractions at the Marine Lake in Rhyl. The company had a manager named Albert Barnes.

Although a second Little Giant was purchased second-hand, the two engines struggled as traffic grew. Bassett-Lowke had already produced larger versions of the Little Giant, but Greenly designed the more powerful Albion class for Rhyl and six were built by Albert Barnes & Co at its Albion Works in Rhyl. The two original engines were disposed of, as were two of the relatively-new Barnes engines, but their names Michael and Billie were transferred to the last two of the new ones so they remained all named after Mr Butler’s children.

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