THE influence of a local family on the fortunes of the Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway has been celebrated in the latest open wagon to join the line’s heritage fleet.
John Lloyd Peate was a coal merchant based in Llanfair Caereinion, and when the railway opened in 1903 he ordered five private owner coal wagons from R Y Pickering & Co Ltd, the supplier of the 2ft 6in gauge railway’s rolling stock. Peate’s wagons carried coal between Welshpool and his Llanfair facility in the railway’s yard.
While used extensively by standard gauge companies, private owner wagons were very rare on the narrow gauge, with only the WLLR and the Southwold Railway known to have employed them.
WLLR members have long wanted to add an example of the Peate wagon to the heritage fleet, which replicates the type of trains that would have run in the railway’s pre-preservation days.
Among those contributing to the project were members of the Peate family, still well known in the district, and Shrewsbury-based coal factor J A Smallshaw, which supplied JL Peate in 1903 – and which still supplies the WLLR today.
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