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FR Locomotives as found

Discussion in 'Narrow Gauge Railways' started by Eagle1711, May 26, 2014.

  1. RalphW

    RalphW Part of the furniture Staff Member Administrator Friend

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    Yes it was, I was there in the early 50's mabe the year the above picture was taken, everything looked as thought it had just been left on a friday evening with the expectation of starting work again monday... And no sign of looting or vandalism...
     
  2. jma1009

    jma1009 Well-Known Member

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    there is quite an extensive database on the Rev W Awdry's books online which many above have referred to.

    i dont myself think that 'Duke' being lost is based on the foreign story. Fire Queen is very likely, but i also recall something about a small standard gauge industrial loco on one of the private lines west of swansea being put away in it's shed by it's driver and forgotten about and the shed being partly or completely hidden till discovered many years later. my vague memory says Margaret of the Burry Port line, but i cant find anything online to confirm this. does this ring a bell with anyone else?

    cheers,
    julian
     
  3. andrewtoplis

    andrewtoplis Member

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    An amazing experience for you Ralph, and one that will probably never be repeated. How long were they dormant for?
     
  4. RalphW

    RalphW Part of the furniture Staff Member Administrator Friend

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    Yes, I guess today you use the word 'timewarp' but there was no such word then. As I was about 10 I don't really remember that much, but visiting the site some 50+ years later was awsome to see it all back to life and so much going on...
     
  5. jma1009

    jma1009 Well-Known Member

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    as a bit of a round up,

    the Corris locos No.3 and 4 were not 'dumped' at Machynlleth as previously stated - they had to be moved there in 1948 due to the impending breach of the track by the River Dovey near the bridge. after closure they were very well looked after by the stationmaster and kept behind the old station.

    the old FR 'closed' on 9th August 1946, the last working being on 2nd August of that year. Alan Pegler acquired the controlling interest in the shares of the old company in the later part of 1954. so effectively everything was 'abandoned' for 8 years.

    when the Rev Timothy Phillips retired in 1949 he moved into No.4 Boston Lodge Cottages and kept a close eye on the buildings and their historic contents. he had a key to the works.

    as correctly stated previously, Prince had been withdrawn in 1936 and was in the old erecting shop dismantled awaiting a new boiler which arrived in July 1945 (having been ordered in september 1943), payment for which is supposed to have precipitated the closure, though 'Immortal Rails' is silent on this if i remember correctly. Taliesin (double fairlee) was also in the erecting shop awaiting boiler repairs.

    Merddin Emrys was in the old loco shed complete with boiler and tanks containing water and the last fire remains still on the grate. so was Princess. these were the last 2 operable locos. also in the old loco shed was Moel Tryfan (WHR) (dismantled), and Welsh Pony. Moel Tryfan had been dismantled in 1936 for repairs but then laid aside - its driving bogie and boiler were scrapped by the new FR in october 1954. Welsh Pony had been in use till at least september 1939 having the tender from Little Giant and was therefore 'complete' in the shed. some parts were removed in 1955 to enable Prince to be put back into service.

    cheers,
    julian
     
  6. RalphW

    RalphW Part of the furniture Staff Member Administrator Friend

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    Thanks for that Julian, I'm certain we did not go there before 1949, yet when we visited there were no locked doors...
     
  7. Eagle1711

    Eagle1711 New Member

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    Thanks for all the replies. It's really interesting to read. Where was the diesels moelwyn and Mary Ann found?

    It's weird to think that towards the end of the railways working life there were effectively 6 locomotives left.. 2 in working condition. 2 in for repairs and maybe 2 condemed?

    Was Palmerston round the back at this time?

    Were there any frames/cabs/tanks remaining from any of the scrapped engines?
     
  8. marshall5

    marshall5 Well-Known Member

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    I think Moelwyn and Mary Ann were in the works, the latter appears in the background of several of the photos of the dismantled Prince. Palmerston was in Glan-y-Mor yard possibly in the same position where it was last used to supply the steam hammer. I'm not aware of any frames remaining but there were certainly other parts of dismantled locos - I seem to remember they included Little Giant's tanks were there but could be wrong! Ray.
     
  9. narrowgauge

    narrowgauge New Member

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    Immortal Rails is silent on this because there is nothing in the records about the boiler and the payment for it. There has never been any suggestion elsewhere that the boiler order had anything to do with the railway's closure and I don't believe that to be the case.
    Peter Johnson
     
  10. jma1009

    jma1009 Well-Known Member

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    hi peter,
    i am quite sure i read many years ago that the demand for payment of PRINCE's boiler had something to do with the closure. though where and in which book/journal i cant remember. i can imagine Ninian Davies in his Westminster Solicitor's office exclaiming when the reminder for payment of the bill arrived
    ' that's it, we cant go on with this anymore!'

    hi danny,
    there was an awful lot of stuff at Boston Lodge during the closure that has since disappeared. there was quite a lot of JAMES SPOONER, and bits of single fairlee TALIESIN. what else was in the 'stores' removed from such locos and others has never been fully documented to the best of my knowledge - though would be fascinating to hear of same!

    cheers,
    julian
     
  11. Miff

    Miff Well-Known Member

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    Festipedia says "a new boiler was ordered from Adamsons in September 1943 for £546, with a steel firebox and tubes. The actual cost had risen to £620 when delivered in July 1945". Were boilers generally built on credit in those days or would a substantial advance payment have been required? There was a war on, you know.

    If it wasn't Prince's boiler was there some other last straw that triggered the decision to suspend services from August '46 ?
     
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2014
  12. marshall5

    marshall5 Well-Known Member

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    According to Boyd, the Blaenau quarries would be closing for a week's holiday, as usual, during the second week of August. With the quarry co's increasing use of road transport and the F.R.'s growing overdraft it was simply the "right" time to call it a day and the last train ran on Thursday Aug 1st. Of course a short length of the F.R. in Blaenau was leased to the various quarry companies and that remained in use into the early 60's. Ray.
     
  13. Marquis DeCarabas

    Marquis DeCarabas New Member

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    From memory, the picture in the book of a surprised cleric is based on the inside of Dinas (NWNGR) shed - probably based on the Rimmer picture of same. Somewhere I've seen a list of the narrow gauge locations used as inspirations for the pictures and stories - I think the most 'exotic' (as in difficult-to-work-out) is Carrigohane or somewhere near there on the Cork and Muskerry.
     
  14. Marquis DeCarabas

    Marquis DeCarabas New Member

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    I would also factor in the proceeds of Portmadoc UDC - it is recorded that in their business on the 17/6/46 that considerable investment would be needed to recondition track and carriages - remember that the gloomy 30s is likely a product of a dour old man who hated the WHR. On 15/7/46 it was reported that there was no government money forthcoming for the recondtioning: this is in contradistinction to the early 20s when government monies after the Great War paid for modernisation in signalling and operating practices.

    The real death knell was the opinion of the Slate Quarries Association to Portmadoc UDC - provided that the slate could still be moved around Blaenau the rest of the line was superflous. All the staff bar one were given 24 hour's notice and the quarries were informed on the 2/8/46. The quarries were alarmed, as the letter of cessation of service required all FR wagons to be worked down the inclines by 10 days later - i.e. after the summer quarry closure.

    Of course the quarries didn't actually own any wagons to transport slate, they'd been hiding them away up on the tops since the days of Hovenden: great and long are the litanies of complaint between the FR and the quarries asking for their wagons back and cries of 'Demurrage! Demurrage!' were said by the ghosts of Philistines on the Dwyryd. The quarries also had another reason to be alarmed - they would need to find another carrier for their telephones down the valley.

    It *appears* that the rental arrangements for Votty began in October '46 at 1/ per ton, fiver-per-week minimum. This, together with the rental on various properties scattered about the FR paid Robert Evan's wages - the railway was free from the tolls that had to be paid for every train that went through the long tunnel or across the Cob.

    However, this is an area of FR history that I'm not that familar with - so there may be inaccuracies and tales. The waggonery moved around a fair bit during the closure period - I think I've got a listing of all the wagons and where they were, but you've not asked for that.
     
  15. jma1009

    jma1009 Well-Known Member

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    hi de carabas,
    you need to get hold of a copy of Immortal Rails vol 1 which describes in some detail the Davies family's attempts to close the line and what led up to it.
    the Davies family held the majority of the stock of the FR, and was what was bought by alan pegler in late 1954 to give a controlling interest. the Davies family continued to own and run the Snowdon Mountain Railway. from what i recall a succession of well to do Central London Solicitors, with also strong links to North Wales.
    the income from the renting of the bleanau ffestiniog stretch of line and hire of slate wagons and rental income no doubt paid robert evan's wages, but against that was the demand for payment of Prince's new boiler plus rates etc.
    although somewhat complex, the WHR was already in receivership and so the Porthmadog UDC and other local authorities who had invested in the WHR played no bearing in the demise of the FR. if ive understood correctly Peter Johnston's excellent books, one of the reasons why the WHR was never wound up properly was the land owned at Caernarvon.
    cheers,
    julian
     
  16. Marquis DeCarabas

    Marquis DeCarabas New Member

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    You misunderstand 'not that familiar with' really means 'I've not actually looked at original documents for that period'. ;)

    My 'subject specialism' if you like really begins to peter out after 1945 when the contracts with J B Saunders and Co dry up, still someone must have been engaged to look after the telephone lines.

    However, it is a while since I've looked at Vol 1 so thank-you for the timely reminder.
     
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  17. narrowgauge

    narrowgauge New Member

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    If you read it, it must have been someone's invention; there's a lot of that in the FR story, 'we know the outcome but don't know why, let's invent an explanation that fits the known facts.'
    Ninian Davies, who I met, wasn't involved in the day-to-day affairs of the FR; it was quite clear that he didn't know much about it.
     
  18. jma1009

    jma1009 Well-Known Member

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    we seem to strayed a bit off topic!

    i would still be very interested to know of the parts of withdrawn locos extant in Boston Lodge stores before the new regime took over!

    cheers,
    julian
     
  19. Marquis DeCarabas

    Marquis DeCarabas New Member

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    "Stores" might be overegging the pudding a bit - the best you can hope for is a list of the bits that were photographed strewn allargando over Glanymor and the Top Yard. AFAIAA there wasn't an inventory as such, but the people writing the locomotive history will be addressing exactly what you're asking. Certainly at various times various bits of various engines were photographed, and in the loco record books re-used bits were recorded [1]. At best it would be a process of elimination, at worst it would be a database of lots of photos where you have to try and match up the date.

    [1] Certainly in the time of Wm Wms. and Robert Wms there were comprehensive records kept of what bits were reused. I'm sure Morris Jones also kept notes too, I doubt that there was a 'scrapping register' as such.
     
  20. RalphW

    RalphW Part of the furniture Staff Member Administrator Friend

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    OK thread now open again and you will notice that quite a bit has been removed. I don't want to have to close it again and have another clear out so please keep to topic.
     
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