On This Day… The Great Gathering

Eight years ago today I spent an enjoyable couple of hours at the National Railway Museum (NRM) photographing all six preserved London & North Eastern Railway (LNER) class A4 locomotives at ‘The Great Gathering

The Great Gathering-20131111e60007 SIR NIGEL GRESLEY & 60008 DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER
National Railway Museum, 11 November 2013

Gathering all six A4s together was no mean feat, although four of the locos were located in the United Kingdom, 60008 DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER was housed in the National Railroad Museum in Green Bay, Wisconsin and 4489 DOMINION OF CANADA was in the Canadian Railway Museum in Montreal!

The Great Gathering-20131111g60009 UNION OF SOUTH AFRICA, 4464 BITTERN, 4468 MALLARD & 4489 DOMINION OF CANADA
National Railway Museum, 11 November 2013

I did manage to get all six locos in one image (just) but the distortion caused by the wide-angle lens used makes 60007 and 4489 look twice as wide as the others so you’ll have to make do with two separate pics!

On St. David’s Day – The Great Little Trains of Wales (Trenau Bach Arbennig Cymru)

Or two of them at least!

2013 saw me pay visits to the Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway (W&LLR) and the Talyllyn Railway (TR), two of the eleven ‘Great Little Trains of Wales’.

Opened in 1903 the 2ft 6in gauge W&LLR has its headquarters at Llanfair Caereinion in Powys and still operates services with the original locomotives built by Beyer, Peacock & Co Ltd in 1902.

BP 0-6-0T No.823 (works no.3497 of 1902)-20130720Beyer, Peacock & Co Ltd 0-6-0T No.823 COUNTESS
Llanfair Caereinion, W&LLR, 20 July 2013

Great Western Railway-liveried No.823 COUNTESS is seen taking on coal at Llanfair Caereinion, in the background are the three replica R.Y. Pickering & Co Ltd carriages built by the Ffestiniog Railway‘s Boston Lodge works between 2004 and 2010, the original W&LLR carriages having been scrapped in 1931.

BP 0-6-0T No.822 (works no.3496 of 1902)-20130720Beyer, Peacock & Co Ltd 0-6-0T No.822 THE EARL
Sylfaen Halt, W&LLR, 20 July 2013

no.822 THE EARL is seen approaching Sylfaen Halt with a Welshpool Raven Square-Llanfair Caereinion service. The locomotives were named in honour of The Earl and Countess of Powys as the Earl supported the building of the railway. THE COUNTESS had its name shortened to just COUNTESS by the Great Western Railway (GWR) who absorbed the W&LLR in 1923.


The 2ft 3in gauge Talyllyn Railway was opened in 1865 to carry slate from the quarries at Bryn Eglwys to Tywyn on the coast and despite becoming incredibly run-down was never closed, becoming the first heritage railway in the world in 1951.

The TR also uses its original locomotives (amongst others) and on the day I visited No.1 TALYLLYN (built by Fletcher Jennings & Co in 1865) was photographed running round the 12:45 service to Tywyn Wharf at Nant Gwernol at the eastern end of the line.

FJ 0-4-2ST No.1 (works no.42 of 1865)-20130816Fletcher Jennings & Co 0-4-2ST No.1 TALYLLYN
Nant Gwernol, TR, 16 August 2013

Also in operation was Andrew Barclay, Sons & Co Ltd 0-4-0WT No.6 DOUGLAS (works no.1431 of 1918). The ‘Modified E Class’ locomotive was built for the railway serving RAF Calshot in Hampshire. The locomotive was donated to the Talyllyn Railway in 1953, regauged from 2ft gauge and named after Douglas Abelson, who donated it.

AB 0-4-0WT No.1 (works no.1431 of 1918)-20130816Andrew Barclay, Sons & Co Ltd 0-4-0WT No.6 DOUGLAS
Tywyn, TR, 16 August 2013

Both railways are on my ‘to be revisited’ list and both are accepting donations to help them survive COVID-19 enforced shut-downs, please support them if you can…