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From this month's featured article

Makers photograph of Taliesin in 1876

Taliesin was an 0-4-4 Single Fairlie built by the Vulcan Foundry in 1876, originally given the number 9. It had its first run on 10th August 1876, double heading with Little Giant, and was put into service on 17th August. It was completely rebuilt between 1898 and 1900. Over subsequent years the locomotive fell into increasing disrepair and was dismantled in preparation for a new boiler in 1924. However, despite recommendations from the Locomotive Superintendent and Engineer, the Board refused to purchase a boiler and Taliesin was reassembled with its existing boiler. The locomotive was finally dismantled in 1932 and the boiler was sold for scrap in 1935, after being run into by Welsh Pony, whose tender was also damaged in the accident. A replica was built in 1999. The only parts of the original locomotive known to have survived are the reversing lever (used on the replica) and the eccentrics (which were used on Linda). A set of Fairlie wheels survives and may well be from this loco.

The name is that of a legendary Head Bard to Prince Elffin, who maybe lived around 520-560 A.D. The name means 'fair-brow'; it can also mean 'fair pay' or 'reward.' The story is that William Williams (a bard himself, Gwilym Meirion) persuaded the FR Board that the legendary bard was just the name for the loco, but as there was a pay dispute between the Board and their staff at the time, it gave some glee to the men seeing the loco puffing up the line displaying the brass plate 'Fair Pay.' (more...)

Recently featured: Minffordd YardCoed y BleiddiauCharles Easton Spooner


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This month's featured picture


Topsy was, technically, the first steam locomotive to be built at Boston Lodge, in 1869. She is a 3 1/8" gauge working model, based on, but not identical to the England engines as they appeared at the time. She was built on the orders of Charles Easton Spooner and ran on a track built in the garden of Bron-y-Garth, Spooner's home. There are several historical accounts of her being demonstrated to visitors. It is known that modifications were made to the model over the first 20 years or so. Topsy is now displayed in a glass case in Spooner's at Harbour Station and some lengths of a portable, figure 8 track survive, in the FR Museum collection. It is thought that another, permanent, track was laid in the garden of Bron-y-Garth. After Charles' death the loco passed to Percy (who had helped make it) and he kept it in his London flat although it never steamed again. After his death in 1917 it passed to his daughter Kitty Slade Olver. In 1922 she passed to her son John Waldron. About 1961 he lent it to Peter Knight, a school teacher in Shrewsbury. Peter lost touch with John Waldron and decided to lend it to the FR. Soon after this Peter Knight died. Eventually in 1977 John Waldron traced Peter Knight's son and told him to donate it to the FR so it was in the right place all the time. The track was found at Boston Lodge.

Photo credit: Norman Pierce

Recently featured: Arthur LambertTrident signalAlan Heywood

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