New diesel for Torrington revival named

A LARGE crowd gathered at North Devon’s Torrington station (aka The Puffing Billy pub and restaurant complex) on Saturday, August 19, to see the Tarka Valley Railway’s new locomotive officially named Torrington Cavalier.

After an introduction by railway chairman Mark Smith, the unveiling of the nameplate was carried out by Mark Keeley, chairman of re-enactment group the Torrington Cavaliers, after which a bottle of champagne was broken on the running plate of the Ruston & Hornsby locomotive.

Members of the Torrington Cavaliers English civil war re-enactment group cross swords next to the diesel shunter that had just been named after the group. PHIL TARRY/TVR

Many of the Cavaliers were present in full regalia and the occasion was supported by the mayor of Torrington, several past mayors, local, district and county councillors, officials from Rotary, the Balsdon Trust and other local dignitaries. Afterwards, the invited guests adjourned to the Puffing Billy for a buffet lunch.

The six-cylinder 192hp diesel shunter was the last of its type to be built, in February 1969.

It was supplied new to the Nevils Dock & Railway company in Llanelli and worked there until 1990.

It was preserved at the Chasewater Railway from where it was acquired by the revivalists of the LSWR Torrington line.

Mark said: “I was mightily impressed by the good will and enthusiasm for the project, not only from the railway enthusiasts present, but the wider Torrington community, and the councillors from all three local authorities.”

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