Edward Thomas (locomotive)

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Edward Thomas
Talyllyn Railway No. 4 Edward Thomas - 2006-10-21.jpg
Type and origin
Power type Steam
Builder Kerr, Stuart & Co. Ltd.
Serial number 4047
ModelTattoo class
Build date 1921
   Whyte 0-4-2ST
Gauge 2 ft 3 in (686 mm)
Driver dia. 2 ft 0 in (610 mm)
Trailing dia. 1 ft 4 in (406 mm)
Wheelbase 7 ft 6 in (2.29 m)
Length 16 ft 8 in (5.08 m)
Loco weight 9.25 long tons 19 cwt (22,800 lb or 10.4 t)
(11.4 short tons)
Boiler pressure 160 lbf/in2 (1.10 MPa)
Cylinders Two, outside
Cylinder size 7 18 in × 12 in (181 mm × 305 mm)
Performance figures
Tractive effort 3,450 lbf (15.35 kN)
Numbers CR/GWR/BR/TR: 4

Edward Thomas is a narrow gauge steam locomotive. Built by Kerr Stuart & Co. Ltd. at the California Works, Stoke-on-Trent in 1921, it was delivered new to the Corris Railway where it ran until 1948. After that railway closed, the locomotive was brought to the Talyllyn Railway in 1951, then restored, and remains in working order at the heritage railway. It has carried the operating number 4 under four successive owners.

Steam locomotive railway locomotive that produces its pulling power through a steam engine

A steam locomotive is a type of railway locomotive that produces its pulling power through a steam engine. These locomotives are fueled by burning combustible material – usually coal, wood, or oil – to produce steam in a boiler. The steam moves reciprocating pistons which are mechanically connected to the locomotive's main wheels (drivers). Both fuel and water supplies are carried with the locomotive, either on the locomotive itself or in wagons (tenders) pulled behind.

Stoke-on-Trent City and unitary authority in England

Stoke-on-Trent is a city and unitary authority area in Staffordshire, England, with an area of 36 square miles (93 km2). Together with the neighbouring boroughs of Newcastle-under-Lyme and Staffordshire Moorlands, it is part of North Staffordshire. In 2016, the city had a population of 261,302.

Corris Railway transport company

The Corris Railway is a narrow gauge preserved railway based in Corris on the border between Merionethshire and Montgomeryshire in Mid-Wales.



Corris Railway

The Corris Railway was a 2 ft 3 in (686 mm) gauge tramway built in 1859, which ran from Machynlleth north to Corris and on to Aberllefenni to serve local slate quarries. The railway company owned three locomotives, built in 1878; by the end of World War I all three were in poor condition, and the railway ordered a fourth, a modified version of Kerr Stuart's 0-4-2   ST "Tattoo" class, in 1921. [1] It initially struggled with the workload on the Corris and was provided with a new boiler with a greater number of tubes in 1928.

Machynlleth town in Powys, Wales

Machynlleth, sometimes referred to colloquially as Mach, is a market town, community and electoral ward in Powys, Wales and within the historic boundaries of Montgomeryshire. It is in the Dyfi Valley at the intersection of the A487 and the A489 roads. At the 2001 Census it had a population of 2,147, rising to 2,235 in 2011.

Aberllefenni village in United Kingdom

Aberllefenni is a village in the south of Gwynedd, Wales. It lies in the historic county of Merionethshire/Sir Feirionnydd, in the valley of the Afon Dulas.

Slate industry in Wales

The existence of a slate industry in Wales is attested since the Roman period, when slate was used to roof the fort at Segontium, now Caernarfon. The slate industry grew slowly until the early 18th century, then expanded rapidly until the late 19th century, at which time the most important slate producing areas were in northwest Wales, including the Penrhyn Quarry near Bethesda, the Dinorwic Quarry near Llanberis, the Nantlle Valley quarries, and Blaenau Ffestiniog, where the slate was mined rather than quarried. Penrhyn and Dinorwig were the two largest slate quarries in the world, and the Oakeley mine at Blaenau Ffestiniog was the largest slate mine in the world. Slate is mainly used for roofing, but is also produced as thicker slab for a variety of uses including flooring, worktops and headstones.

The Corris Railway was taken over by the Great Western Railway in 1930, after which duties were shared between No.4 and the surviving original loco, No. 3. By late 1947 No. 4 was out of service needing a major overhaul, and as a result never worked under British Railways following nationalisation in 1948, as the Corris closed on 20 August that year. It then was left under tarpaulin at the rear of the Corris Railway Machynlleth Station, along with No. 3. [2]

Great Western Railway former railway company in the United Kingdom

The Great Western Railway (GWR) was a British railway company that linked London with the south-west and west of England, the Midlands, and most of Wales. It was founded in 1833, received its enabling Act of Parliament on 31 August 1835 and ran its first trains in 1838. It was engineered by Isambard Kingdom Brunel, who chose a broad gauge of 7 ft —later slightly widened to 7 ft 14 in —but, from 1854, a series of amalgamations saw it also operate 4 ft 8 12 in standard-gauge trains; the last broad-gauge services were operated in 1892. The GWR was the only company to keep its identity through the Railways Act 1921, which amalgamated it with the remaining independent railways within its territory, and it was finally merged at the end of 1947 when it was nationalised and became the Western Region of British Railways.

<i>Sir Haydn</i> (locomotive) preserved British 0-4-2ST locomotive

Sir Haydn is a narrow gauge steam locomotive, built by Hughes's Locomotive & Tramway Engine Works of the Falcon Works, Loughborough in 1878. It operated on the Corris Railway in Wales, until closure in 1948, and since 1951 has operated on the nearby Talyllyn Railway. It has carried the operating number 3 under four successive owners.

Machynlleth railway station

Machynlleth railway station is a railway station on the Cambrian Line in mid-Wales, serving the historic town of Machynlleth. It was built by the Newtown and Machynlleth Railway (N&MR), and subsequently passed into the ownership of the Cambrian Railways, the Great Western Railway, British Railways and British Railways. It is notable that there is a distance of 22 miles (35 km) between this station and Caersws, the longest distance between two intermediate stations in Wales.

Talyllyn Railway

Locomotive No.4 Edward Thomas stands at Tywyn Wharf station Edward Thomas at Tywyn Wharf - 2005-04-29.jpg
Locomotive No.4 Edward Thomas stands at Tywyn Wharf station

The Talyllyn Railway was opened in 1866 and ran from Towyn (now called Tywyn) to the slate quarries of Bryn Eglwys, only a few miles from Corris. It was built to the same gauge as the Corris Railway, but unlike that line used steam traction from the start. The line and quarries were bought by Sir Henry Haydn Jones, the local member of parliament, in 1911. The venture made little money, but despite the closure of the quarries in 1946, Haydn Jones continued to operate the railway at a loss until his death in 1950. [3]

Tywyn town and seaside resort on the Cardigan Bay coast of southern Gwynedd, Wales

Tywyn, formerly spelled to Towyn, is a town, community, and seaside resort on the Cardigan Bay coast of southern Gwynedd, Wales. It was previously in the historic county of Merionethshire. It is famous as the location of the Cadfan Stone, a stone cross with the earliest known example of written Welsh, and the home of the Talyllyn Railway.

Bryn Eglwys

Bryn Eglwys was a slate quarry and mine located near Abergynolwyn in Gwynedd, Wales. More than 300 men worked at the site, making it the principal employer in the area. Two veins of slate, known as the Broad and Narrow Veins, were worked. The geology continues across the mountains to Corris and Dinas Mawddwy. It was one of many quarries that worked the same geological feature because the slate went through sedimentary rock that suited mining.

Henry Haydn Jones British politician

Sir Henry Haydn Jones was a Welsh Liberal Party politician.

That same year, a group of enthusiasts, including the author Tom Rolt, had looked at the possibility of operating the railway on a volunteer basis. With the agreement of Haydn Jones' widow a deal was made, and control of the railway passed to the newly formed preservation society. [4] One of the major problems facing the railway was the lack of motive power; the railway owned two locomotives, the first of which, Talyllyn , had been out of service for some years, and the second, Dolgoch , was in need of a major overhaul. The society therefore approached British Railways to attempt to purchase the two remaining Corris locos, and successfully negotiated to purchase them at £25 each [5] (equivalent to £721 in present-day terms). [6]

Railfan Rail transport hobby

A railfan, rail buff, or train buff, railway enthusiast or railway buff, trainspotter or anorak is a person interested, recreationally, in rail transport. Railfans of many ages can be found worldwide. Railfans often combine their interest with other hobbies, especially photography and videography, radio scanning, model railroading, studying railroad history and participating in railway station and rolling stock preservation efforts. Magazines dedicated to railfanning include Trains and Railfan & Railroad.

<i>Talyllyn</i> (locomotive) preserved British 0-4-2T locomotive

Talyllyn is a narrow gauge steam locomotive. It was built by Fletcher, Jennings & Co. in 1864 and is one of the oldest locomotives still in active service. It was delivered to the Talyllyn Railway on 24 September 1864 and continues to run on this railway.

<i>Dolgoch</i> (locomotive) preserved British 0-4-0T locomotive

Dolgoch is a narrow gauge 0-4-0 well tank steam locomotive. It was built by Fletcher, Jennings & Co. in 1866 and is one of the oldest locomotives still in active service. It was delivered to the Talyllyn Railway in 1866 and continues to run on this railway.

No. 4 had been unnamed on the Corris under Great Western ownership (it has been suggested that it carried the name Tattoo prior to 1930 [7] but photographs suggest otherwise). Upon arrival on the Talyllyn Railway it was named Edward Thomas after the former manager of the railway, though another suggested name had been James Swinton Spooner , after the engineer who had built the line. [5] Although it was not realised at the time, Edward Thomas, in his role as Secretary of the Aberllefenni Slate and Slab Quarries Co after 1935, had played an important role in helping keep the Corris Railway open and so ensuring the survival of the locomotive. [8]

Aberllefenni Slate Quarry

Aberllefenni Slate Quarry is the collective name of three slate quarries, Foel Grochan, Hen Chwarel and Ceunant Ddu, located in Aberllefenni, Gwynedd, North Wales. It was the longest continually operated slate mine in the world until its closure in 2003. Foel Grochan is the quarry on the eastern side of the valley, facing Ceunant Ddu and Hen Gloddfa on the west; all three were worked as a single concern throughout their history. Technically all three of these are mines, not quarries, since all rock extraction takes place underground, though they are often referred to as quarries.

Along with No. 3, it kept its Corris number, giving both locos the unusual distinction of carrying the same number though the ownership of four different railway companies (the Corris, Great Western, British Railways and Talyllyn Railway). [9] [10] Because both railways were built to the unusual gauge of 2 ft 3 in (686 mm) it was relatively easy to adapt the Corris locomotives to work on the Talyllyn Railway. Upon arriving, No.4 was in need of a major overhaul but was unserviceable as the Talyllyn Railway were struggling for money. John Alcock, the chairman of the Hunslet Engine Company, was a member of the Preservation Society and had No. 4 overhauled free of charge at his works. Like Sir Haydn when it arrived at the Talyllyn Railway it had no buffers, so was subsequently fitted with them.

Edward Thomas, fitted with its Giesl Ejector in 1962 Towyn (Pendre) Shed geograph-3278305-by-Ben-Brooksbank.jpg
Edward Thomas, fitted with its Giesl Ejector in 1962

In 1958, Dr Giesl-Gieslingen approached British Railways to offer a free trial of his Giesl ejector. When this offer was turned down, the inventor made the same offer to the preserved Talyllyn Railway in Wales, and Edward Thomas was fitted with one. [11] Although a coal saving of 40% was officially announced at the time, this has since been disputed by the railway's chief engineer. [12] The ejector was removed in 1969, and no difference in coal consumption was found. [13] The ejector is now on display in the Narrow Gauge Railway Museum at Tywyn.

Edward Thomas has been painted red, as Peter Sam, but as of 2010 is running in the standard Talyllyn Railway livery of deep bronze green lined with black borders and yellow lining.

Rebirth of Corris

New-build Corris No. 7 (left), and Edward Thomas, during a visit of the former to the Talyllyn Railway. Corris 7 and 4 on Talyllyn - 2011-10-23.jpg
New-build Corris No. 7 (left), and Edward Thomas, during a visit of the former to the Talyllyn Railway.

Reconstruction of the Corris Railway commenced in the 1970s and in October 1996 No.4 returned there for a brief visit to run demonstration trains. On 17 May 2005 a new-build Tattoo class locomotive, similar in design to No.4, arrived on the Corris Railway and currently hauls passenger trains there.

In fiction

Edward Thomas in 1988, in the guise of "Peter Sam", with the fictional character's creator, Rev W Awdry Rev W Awdry and Peter Sam - 1988-05-14.jpg
Edward Thomas in 1988, in the guise of "Peter Sam", with the fictional character's creator, Rev W Awdry

The character Peter Sam in The Railway Series books by the Rev. W. Awdry is based on Edward Thomas.

Related Research Articles

Talyllyn Railway A preserved narrow gauge railway in Wales, UK

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Giesl ejector

A Giesl ejector is a suction draught system for steam locomotives that works on the same principle as a feedwater pump. This ejector was invented in 1951 by the Austrian engineer, Dr. Adolph Giesl-Gieslingen. The Giesl ejector ensures improved suction draught and a correspondingly better use of energy. The existing blastpipe in a locomotive is replaced by several, small, fan-shaped, diverging blast pipes, from which the diffuser gets its flat, long, drawn-out shape.

<i>Douglas</i> (locomotive) narrow gauge steam locomotive

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  1. Boyd 1965 , p. 45
  2. Potter 1990 , p. 176
  3. Potter 1990 , p. 41
  4. Potter 1990 , pp. 69 71
  5. 1 2 Potter 1990 , p. 194
  6. UK Retail Price Index inflation figures are based on data from Clark, Gregory (2017). "The Annual RPI and Average Earnings for Britain, 1209 to Present (New Series)". MeasuringWorth. Retrieved November 6, 2017.
  7. Cozens 1987 , p. 25
  8. Corris Railway Society Journal 1988
  9. Holmes 2009 , p. 39
  10. Davies et al. 1966 , p. K265
  11. Potter 1990 , p. 198
  12. Bate 2001 , p. 81
  13. Bate 2001 , p. 153