Little train, big city, massive station

ONE of the smallest locomotives ever to have stood in King’s Cross station, the LNER’s great cathedral of steam, wowed the crowds in the Western Concourse during a February visit.

Left to right in front of Palmerston are Network Rail chairman Sir Peter Hendy, Tracey Parkinson, general manager of the Talyllyn Railway and Paul Lewin, general manager of the Ffestiniog & Welsh Highland Railways with the Big Train meets Little Train guide.

The Ffestiniog Railway’s George England 0-4-0STT Palmerston along with the line’s four-wheeled coach No. 10 was on static display from February 18-26.

Its appearance a long, long way from its Snowdonia slate country home was to promote Big Train meets Little Train, a recently-published Government-funded free guide to Welsh narrow gauge railways and how to visit them by rail.

It was also a homecoming for Palmerston, which was built at George England’s Hatcham Ironworks in East London, and completed in March 1864. It was named after Viscount Palmerston, Liberal Prime Minister and chairman of the Welsh Slate, Copper & Lead Mining Company’s quarry at Blaenau Ffestiniog.

The locomotive saw extensive use on both the Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland railways until withdrawal in 1937. Despite being deemed beyond repair, Palmerston underwent a long restoration, and eventually re-entered service in 1993.

Read more in Issue 226 of HR – out now!

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