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Thursday, 18 December 2014

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Race to get steam loco repaired for 150th birthday

A steam locomotive which was built in Whitehaven is getting ready to celebrate its 150th birthday – as long as it gets repaired in time.

Whitehaven steam engine photo
Loco No.1

Loco No.1 was built at Lowca Works by Fletcher Jennings & Co in 1864 and ever since then it has been working at the Talyllyn Railway in Wales.

But, with less than six months to go before the milestone anniversary, it suffered a major mechanical failure and is now set to undergo repairs at Porthmadog.

However, bosses at the railway are hopeful that it will be back on the track for its birthday in September.

Chris Price, Talyllyn Railway’s general manager, said that everyone involved had their fingers crossed it would happen.

“If all goes according to plan, No.1 will be back to celebrate its 150th anniversary in September, which will be another milestone in its remarkable career,” he added.

It is believed that after being built at Lowca, the locomotive was taken by boat to Tywyn and has returned a number of times to its birthplace in Whitehaven.

It is now being shipped to the Ffestiniog Railway’s Boston Lodge Works where it will be stripped for a full assessment of the damage.

Assuming that no significantly extra damage is found repair work will then be carried out.

Loco No.1 was rebuilt in 1957 after falling into a poor condition. It then underwent modification as it “proved problematic”.

One of the parts believed to be damaged earlier this month is one of its original features.

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