Ffestiniog Railway to restore Velinheli to steam

The Ffestiniog & Welsh Highland Railways has been contracted to build a new boiler for Quarry Hunslet 0-4-0ST No. 409 of 1886 Velinheli.

The former Dinorwic Quarry locomotive, which when built was the prototype for a new class of smaller locomotives now known as the Alice class, for use in quarries where the standard size engines were too large, is owned by James Evans. After spending several years operating on his private garden railway, he had it rebuilt at the Launceston Steam Railway in 1980.

Quarry Hunslet 0-4-0ST Velinheli outside the Great Northern Hotel at King’s Cross at 1am on February 10. FR

Now it needs a new boiler, it will return to Snowdonia. First of all, however, as reported last issue, it was displayed at King’s Cross station’s ticket hall from February 10-18, along with Quarry Hunslet No. 855 of 1904 Hugh Napier, which is owned by the National Trust but spends much time at the Ffestiniog.

Quarry Hunslet 0-4-0ST Hugh Napier being delivered to King’s Cross on Saturday, February 10. It is seen here beneath the St Pancras station clock at 1am. FR

The pair were used to promote North Wales as a tourist destination, and the Ffestiniog & Welsh Highland Railways in particular.

Velinheli’s new boiler will be built at Boston Lodge. Launceston Steam Railway founder Nigel Bowman said: “Having built two new ‘Quarry Hunslet’ boilers ourselves, we have much useful experience which we have been very happy to share with our friends in Wales.”

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