Talyllyn Railway’s locomotive No.4 ‘Edward Thomas’ will be one of the star attractions at the Severn Valley Railway’s Spring Gala over the weekend March 18-20.
The loco will be in steam on a specially laid length of track at Highley Station, near to the railway’s ‘Engine House’ Exhibition. This is the first time that ‘Edward Thomas’ will be in steam in public outside of Wales since it was built in 1921, offering a unique opportunity to experience narrow gauge steam in a new setting.
It was originally built by Kerr, Stuart and Co. of Stafford for Corris Railway to the gauge of 2ft 3 ins, which is shared by both the Talyllyn and Corris Railways. On Corris Railway, the locomotive never carried a number but was known as ‘The Tattoo’, after its design class.
Corris Railway became part of the Great Western Railway (GWR) in 1930 and then British Railways, but was closed in 1948.
However, in 1951 the newly preserved Talyllyn Railway was looking for new motive power to supplement its then only working locomotive, ‘Dolgoch’. ‘The Tattoo’ and the other surviving Corris locomotive, No.3, were purchased by Talyllyn and moved to Tywyn.
No.3 was named ‘Sir Haydn’ and retained its Corris number. ‘The Tattoo’ became Talyllyn No.4 ‘Edward Thomas’ after Talyllyn’s former general manager. Having been previously owned by the GWR, ‘Edward Thomas’ fits with the GWR theme of this year’s Severn Valley’s Spring Gala.
Links between the Talyllyn and the Severn Valley have developed through the years with the Severn Valley constructing a new boiler for Talyllyn’s locomotive ‘Dolgoch’. In 2013, No.3 ‘Sir Haydn’ also visited the Severn Valley and, although not in steam, proved a major attraction.
This included a ride along the line on a flat wagon during the Severn Valley’s autumn gala that year. It was then housed in ‘The Engine House’ for display until returning to Talyllyn in late 2014. It is now at the Vale of Rheidol Railway for overhaul before returning to Tywyn by spring 2018.
A spokesperson for the Talyllyn Railway said: “The visit of ‘Edward Thomas’ to the Severn Valley Railway continues the co-operation between the railways that has developed through the years. Once more we are going to be providing enthusiasts and the general public alike with the opportunity to experience the sight and sound of one of our locomotives operating in a new setting.”