The National Railway Museum and the Welsh Railways Trust (Formerly Gwili Vintage Carriages Group) have agreed a new three-year overhaul agreement to bring Welsh locomotive Taff Vale Railway No.28 back into steam.
The locomotive will be based at the Gwili Railway near Carmarthen and will be overhauled onsite by the railway’s in-house engineering team.
The overhaul will be part-funded by an £18,000 grant from the Association for Industrial Archaeology (AIA). This grant will be used to undertake the restoration of the rolling chassis of the locomotive, which includes original Taff Vale Railway components. The total cost of the overhaul has been estimated at £160,000.
Project manager Dr David Murray said:
“This locomotive is a unique survivor and is an important part of Welsh railway history. Thanks to the support of the National Railway Museum and the Association for Industrial Archaeology, we are now able to commence returning this magnificent piece of industrial heritage to fully operational condition.”
Once work is complete, the locomotive will operate passenger services on the heritage railway line, the first time the engine will have operated in steam in over 30 years.
Taff Vale Railway locomotive No.28 was built at Cardiff Works in 1897 and is the last surviving Welsh-built standard-gauge locomotive. The 0-6-2 tank engine spent almost 30 years hauling iron and coal trucks in South Wales and is a unique surviving example of the area’s industrial heritage.
The locomotive has been on static loan under the care of the Gwili Vintage Carriages Group since 2014, with the current agreement due to expire in February 2020.
National Railway Museum Assistant Director & Head Curator Andrew McLean said:
“I am pleased to confirm a new overhaul agreement with the Welsh Railways Trust which ensures the locomotive will continue to be well looked after and paves the way for a return to steam.
“This engine has very strong local connections and tells a number of important stories about the railways and industry in South Wales. No.28 was identified in our operational rail vehicle strategy as a possible candidate for overhaul and I look forward to seeing the engine back in operation.”
The Gwili Railway was established in 1974 on a section of the Carmarthen to Aberystwyth railway line that closed to passenger traffic in 1965. The railway became the first standard-gauge preserved railway to operate in south-west Wales when it re-opened a one-mile section of the Carmarthen- Aberyswyth route. Since then, the railway has expanded to Danycoed and the company hopes to expand to Llanpumsaint.
Taff Vale locomotive No.28 has had an interesting life and has carried at least six different names and numbers, escaping the scrapyard on several occasions.
After being withdrawn from service in 1926, the locomotive was acquired by the army and renamed Gordon, working at the Longmoor Military Railway in Hampshire. The engine was renumbered twice during the war, before being sold to the National Coal Board, where it was renumbered again and put into service at the Hetton Colliery Railway. No.28 was finally withdrawn from active service for the last time in 1960 and entered preservation in 1962.
In preservation, the locomotive has been based at Caerphilly under the custodianship of the National Museum of Wales where the engine was brought back into steam by the Caerphilly Railway Society. No.28 then passed to the Dean Forest Railway and the Llangollen Railway before moving to the Gwili Railway in 2014.
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About the National Railway Museum
- The National Railway Museum in York has the largest collection of railway objects in the world and attracts more than 750,000 visitors per year
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