- This article is about the original Mountaineer. For the 1916 Alco, see Mountaineer II.
Mountaineer was recorded in the Welsh press as being the first loco to be delivered . This engine was carried by the LNWR from London to Caernarfon and then brought (on or before 18 July 1863) by road to Portmadoc on Job and Harry Williams' specially built cart or wain drawn by ten horses. Although the first to arrive, it was numbered 3 in the photograph above and its bell is also numbered 3.
It took part in the trials of Little Wonder in 1870, but only in being tried for its riding qualities across the Cob.
One of the first entries in the Williams' books is for Mountaineer in February 1875 amongst general maintenance is recorded "Brass patch put on Broken Cylinder with 12 of 1/2 Copper Bolts, & 6 of 3/4 studs". It was still well thought of at this time, as it was cleaned and varnished in August 1875. In 1876 Mountaineer had two mishaps. In September "A new chimney holder put on, broke off by running under Bridge at Duffws". On October 19th it is recorded as damaged and in for repairs. This coincides with Boyd (p574 Vol 2) "A goods engine ran into the stop block at Duffws Station and was thrown from the line and slightly damaged". The replacement of the chimney holder dates the above photograph. In March 1877 a further patch was put on the front of a cylinder. The last maintenance entry in the Williams' books is for August 6 1877 when new brake blocks were put on.
In January 1878 it is recorded that The Prince was fitted with Mountaineer's chimney. In December 1879 it is reported that Palmerston was fitted with the tyres of Mountaineer. In 1879 Mountaineer became the first FR engine to be withdrawn, a report of this year states that it was worn out and useless and recommends it to be "dismounted, being unroadworthy". Thus it is the only locomotive of the first four delivered that was not rebuilt to the saddle tank shape and that did not survive. The last mention of the locomotive in the Williams' books is in 1887 when a part was used in the rebuilding of Little Giant, Boston Lodge obviously threw little away!
The name Mountaineer lives on, borne by an Alco 2-6-2T that came to the Ffestiniog in 1967 (see Mountaineer II). The nameplate on that locomotive being a replica of that fitted to this England engine. The bell from the original Mountaineer survives (see England Engine plates) and is fitted to the Alco on special occasions.