Aberystwyth’s Vale of Rheidol Railway has welcomed the NG G13 Beyer Garratt locomotive No. 60 ‘Drakensberg’ after a long journey from Switzerland.
The locomotive’s arrival this week signalled the completion of three years of careful negotiations and an 800-mile journey. The move began on July 12 with a police escort through the centre of Basel, continuing through Germany overnight, arriving at Antwerp on Friday, ready to board a ferry.
The locomotive arrived in Hull at 7am on Saturday before continuing to Birmingham and then onto the Vale of Rheidol arriving on Monday.
The privately owned locomotive has been loaned long-term to the railway. After some restoration work, No 60 will be available to bolster the operational fleet at the Vale of Rheidol Railway if required, offering extended service periods for the current locomotives.
No 60 will not be replacing the iconic Rheidol tanks, but just spreading the load on the existing fleet. Many readers will be aware that the Vale of Rheidol has an extensive museum collection comprising a variety of steam locomotives from all over the world. It is most likely No 60 will operate some heavy summer trains and special charter trains.
Keep an eye on the Vale of Rheidol web page www.rheidolrailway.co.uk or check out the railway’s Facebook page for updates and news on the restoration progress. The first chance to see the locomotive on display will be at the railway’s Roaring 1920s and ‘30s weekend on September 14 and 15.
Llŷr ap Iolo, the railway’s general manager, said: “We are looking forward to having another locomotive join our fleet, as it will offer more flexibility and back up in our operation and something different for those who are interested.
“It has been a long time in the making and our work begins over the next 12 to 18 months preparing her to work the VoR with a 10-year ticket on the boiler. We are very grateful to the owner for allowing the VoR to have a long-term loan of the locomotive on the railway.”
Robert Gambrill, the railway’s chief executive, thanked Schinzacher Baumschulbahn, haulage contractors Allelys and the railway’s staff for their hard work to welcome No 60 to the UK.
“We are now all looking forward to seeing her climb the 1 in 40 to Devils Bridge, enabling everyone to enjoy the spectacular views from our railway, offering yet another excuse to come and see us if one was needed,” he added.
Opened in 1902, the railway is a masterpiece of engineering and has been delighting passengers for generations. Although the line no longer carries lead ore from the mines, it has been carrying tourists to the beauty spot of Devil’s Bridge for more than 100 years.
The journey starts in Aberystwyth and runs for 12 miles to Devil’s Bridge, home of the famous Mynach Falls, passing through some of Wales’ most spectacular scenery.