|Company||Welshpool and Llanfair Light Railway|
|Driving Wheels||2ft 9ins|
|Boiler Pressure||150 psi|
|Cylinders||2 outside – 11.5in x 16 in|
|Tractive Effort||8,175 lbf|
The 2 ft 6 in gauge Welshpool and Llanfair Light Railway was opened on 4 April 1903 to aid economic development in a remote area, never making a profit. It was originally operated by the Cambrian Railways, connecting with it at the former Oswestry and Newtown Railway station in the town of Welshpool. The line was built through difficult country, having a great number of curves in order to reach the summit of 600 ft (180 m). This meant that the engines had to be built to a compact and sturdy design capable of handling trains on the steep gradients. The original builders of the W&L chose a gauge of 2ft 6ins to allow for tight curves and steep gradients so that the railway could traverse the rolling landscape.
Operated at first by the Cambrian Railways, the line was taken over by the Great Western and then British Railways.
After 1931 the railway only carried freight traffic and was finally closed in 1956.
1 The Earl and 2 the Countess (BR 822 & BR 823)
By 1959 negotiations had begun with British Railways and the Welshpool and Llanfair Light Railway Preservation Company had leased the line from British Railways by the end of 1962. On 28 July 1961, The Earl returned after storage and overhaul at Oswestry Works, with Countess following not long after. They have continued to work on the line ever since.
The two original locomotives, No. 1 The Earl and No. 2 the Countess, were built by Beyer Peacock & Co. Ltd. at their Gorton Foundry, Manchester in 1902. The pair coped with all the traffic on the line from its opening in 1903 to closure in 1956. Under the GWR and BR, they ran as Nos. 822 and 823. From time to time they went for overhaul at Oswestry Works and were sent there on closure, returning to Llanfair Caereinion in the 1960s to commence work for the Preservation Company.
During their lifetime they have had many modifications, particularly after the takeover of the Great Western. During this period they were fitted with a larger cab, handles on the smokebox door, rather than the original wheel, a larger dome, a much larger and more sophisticated safety valve and two different funnels. They were painted in Great Western green.
When taken over by British Railways their shunting bells were removed as were their meat chopper couplings.
During the period 1997-2001 the locomotives were fully overhauled at Llanfair. This included the fitting of new boilers and cylinders.
They are currently the same design as the BR era but have been worn different liveries in preservation. Currently The Earl is BR condition and Countess in Great Western livery.
During the period 1997-2001 the locomotives were fully overhauled in the workshops at Llanfair. This included the fitting of new boilers and cylinders, intended to ensure that both were available for operation during their centenary year in 2002 and that of the railway in 2003. The locomotives were named in honour of the Earl and Countess of Powis as the Earl did much to support the construction of the railway at the turn of the last century.
Currently The Earl is in unlined black, representative of the British Railways era.
Currently The Countess is turned out in Great Western livery and represents the locomotive’s appearance during the 1930s.
|Home Base||Current Status||Owner|
Welshpool and Llanfair Light Railway
· The Earl
· The Countess
Welshpool and Llanfair Light Railway Preservation Company