Blanche at Glan-y-Mor
|Built By||Hunslet Engine Company|
|Designed By||Hunslet Engine Company|
|Type||Penrhyn Mainline Hunslet|
|December 1963||Arrived from the Penrhyn Railway|
|1972||Converted to oil|
|May 2005||Return to traffic following major overhaul.|
This powerful engine was built as an 0-4-0ST by the Hunslet Engine Company, Leeds in 1893 (works No. 589) for main-line service on the Penrhyn Quarry Railway. Costing £800 new. She is one of a class of three , the other two being Linda (q.v.) and Charles. The latter is preserved in the museum at Penrhyn Castle. She was named after Blanche Georgina Fitzroy (1865-1944) who married Edward Sholto Douglas-Pennant (the 3rd Baron of Penrhyn). Blanche was sent from Hunslets on 29th June 1893. She had a new firebox in 1920 and a new boiler in 1925. A full height cabsheet was fitted in 1934. She was repainted in the 'new livery' in June 1936 (sky blue lining instead of chocolate brown). An axle broke in June 1937 and the boiler off Linda and a new firebox were fitted in October 1939. An all welded tank was fitted in September 1949 and a new boiler in 1955. She worked the last steam trip over the Penrhyn main line on 27th July 1962
 Arrival on the FR
She was purchased by the FR in December 1963. The cab roof was reprofiled as a result of clearance tests at Garnedd tunnel Equipped with a new tender which incorporated an extended cab. Wheel back to back dimension adjusted to fit the FR track gauge (Penrhyn gauge was 1ft 10.5"). Blanche initially ran on the FR as an 0-4-0STT and was photographed in this condition by Cyril Perrier in 1968.
In the 60's Blanche had a prang in the woods, this location now carrying the name Blanche's Bump.
Rebuilt as a 2-4-0STT (saddle-tank tender engine) in 1972, with extended frames, new piston valve cylinders, oil burning and superheating. The pony truck fitted as part of the rebuild used a pair of wheels from the rear bogie of Single Fairlie Moel Tryfan (the other pair of wheels having already been used for a pony truck for Linda).
The principal stated dimensions are: Cylinders: 10.5" x 12", Nominal wheel diameter: 2' 2", Boiler pressure: 160 psi., Rigid wheelbase 5' 0". Tractive Effort (85% BP): 6,320lb, Weight: 12¼ tons (excluding tender)
 Recent Years
Blanche was used on the Welsh Highland Railway (C) between Dinas and Caernarfon in 1999, returning to the railway and requiring heavy maintenance in 2000. She was withdrawn from service when her boiler ticket expired in March 2003. Despite her status as a "traffic" engine, not part of heritage fleet, the parlous state of the company's finances required extensive fundraising for her new boiler, but following a large number of donations she returned in May 2005. Blanche received an overdue repaint in 2011
Blanche is affectionally known by those who work on her as Ricket.
The engine also has a support site, aptly entitled Ricket Rescue, which detailed her return to active service. Click here (external site)