The Earl of Merioneth
Blaenau Ffestiniog is not just the home of Welsh Slate it is also the terminus of one of the most famous of Welsh Narrow Gauge Railways, the Ffestiniog Railway. The Railway Comapny is the oldest independant railway company in the world, being formed in 1832 to carry slate products from the ffestiniog quarries to the port at Porthmadog for onwards hippment all around the world.
With the decline of the slate industry the railway was closed in 1946 but re-opened through the efforts of volounteers and enthusiasts in 1956 and in over more than fifty years has proven to be one of the finest tourist attractions to be found in Snowdonia.
The design of locomotive is unique to Ffestiniog, I think, the Double Fairle Patent is a twin boilered articulated engine with an 0-4-4-0 wheel arrangement that provides great power and agility to haul heavy freight trains through the mountains. This engine, The Earl of Merioneth, is a relatively new one, worked started on buiilding it in Boston Lodge Engineering Works just outside of Porthmadog in 1972 and completed in 1979.
It is seen here approaching Tan - y - Bwlch (Welsh for "Under the Pass") station halfway between Porthmadog and Blaenau Ffestiniog.
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