T&I News 7 2020...

T&I News 7 2020…

We have a shorter post this week – progress on projects previously reported continuing apace, but which I haven’t had a chance to photograph! We start with two more announcements for the steam fair. Our principle haulage contractor for narrow gauge railway equipment recently informed us they were withdrawing from haulage altogether, which left us in something of a spot. Matt has worked hard to not only secure the haulage for this event, but also to ensure that future events will be provided for, and other railways and events will also benefit – an example of how much goes on behind the scenes in arranging any event, no matter how large or small.

Great North Steam Fair 2020

It is good to be able to announce two more visiting locomotives for the event in three weeks. Both have visited us before, and make a very welcome return for the steam fair this year.

First up is Britomart, one of the well-known and widely dispersed Hunslet Quarry Hunslet locomotives. It made its first, and so far only, visit to Beamish in 2014, operating on a rather smaller narrow gauge railway here.
Britomart was built for the Pen-yr-Oresedd Quarry by the Hunslet Engine Company (works number 707) in 1899.  It was delivered to Pen-yr-Oresedd in January 1900 and spent its entire working life there. The quarry maintained Britomart in working order until 1964.
A consortium of Ffestiniog Railway staff and volunteers purchased Britomart and moved the locomotive to the FR in June 1965. Britomart was overhauled at the FR and entered service there in July 1966. Apart from the fitting of vacuum brakes and FR standard chopper couplings to allow it to haul passenger trains, the locomotive is largely original. The new firebox fitted at the most recent overhaul being a spare purchased with the locomotive.
Britomart appears at the Great North Steam Fair courtesy of the Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland Railway, and Rob Coulson.
The second locomotive here has also appeared at Beamish previously, this time in April 2015.
Built in 1904 by Hunslets (works N°855) Hugh Napier was delivered new to Penrhyn Quarries. The locomotive was named after Hugh Napier Douglas Pennant who inherited the Penrhyn estate and  title on his father’s death in 1927. When the quarry closed Iorwerth Jones, at the time employed in the quarries was able to arrange the locomotive’s transfer to the Penrhyn Castle Museum, where he subsequently worked as Curator/Engineer. The loco arrived at Penrhyn castle in 1966. Restoration of the locomotive started in 1969 lead by Mr Jones with assistance from Bangor University students. By the mid 1990’s the restoration was largely complete excepting the boiler. The locomotive was moved to the Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland Railway’s Boston Lodge works in 2011 where the restoration was completed by Andrew Foulds and Jo Clulow, with the locomotive entering into traffic in May 2012. The locomotive has since been a regular performer on the FR and has travelled the country as an ambassador for the Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland Railways and the National Trust, appearing at the steam fair courtesy of these two organisations.

VK 5401

In including the images of the little Dodge in the last post, I completely forgot to caption this image! It was taken on Hexham Road, Swallwell at the filling station at the bottom of Swallwell Bank. The attractive brick building in the background, in amended form, is now Maquires Fish and Chip Shop. Something about this scene almost makes it look as if it were taken in an open air museum!


The current national situation regarding coronavirus is inevitably at the forefront of everyone’s minds at the moment, and the situation at Beamish is being monitored continuously.

The museum is following all Government and public health guidance and, as such, is following the current advice to remain open as usual.

Government information on hygiene and handwashing is being shared and there are handwashing facilities available across the museum. The health and wellbeing of our visitors, staff and volunteers is, as always, our priority. We are continuing to monitor the guidance and will keep everyone informed of any updates. Please see Beamish’s social media pages (Facebook and Twitter) for latest information and news.