David Lloyd George

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For the Welsh statesman, see David Lloyd George (person).
David Lloyd George
DLG 2015 Red.jpeg
After most recent repaint, 2015. Photo: Andrew Thomas
Type Double Fairlie
Home Railway FR
Number 12
Status Operational
Designed by Boston Lodge
Built by Boston Lodge
Built 1992
2002 Major Overhaul
2013 Overhaul (Converted to Coal)
2014 Returned to Service
Length 31 ft 6 in
Fuel Coal

David Lloyd George is the fourth locomotive to be built by the Festiniog Railway Company in its own workshops at Boston Lodge and is the sixth FR Double Fairlie.


David Lloyd George at Blaenau Ffestiniog in as yet unfinished condition


This 0-4-4-0 Double Fairlie is the fourth steam locomotive to be built by the Festiniog Railway Company in its own workshops at Boston Lodge and was completed in 1992. It carries its name David Lloyd George (after the former Liberal Prime Minister who was brought up locally and travelled on the FR - for more information on the person whose name it takes, please refer to the David Lloyd George page) in English on one side and in Welsh Dafydd Lloyd George on the other side. The locomotive number is 12. In 1989 the FR successfully gained grant funding for a development programme known as the INcreased CApacity or INCA project. Although this financed various projects on the the FR, the largest was the construction of a brand new Double Fairlie locomotive to a new design following the traditional outline. The locomotive was designed to match the appearance of the 1880s Fairlies (using design cues from both Merddin Emrys & Livingston Thompson) but with many improvements to performance and range. The locomotive therefore featured a completely new tapered boiler design with higher degree of superheat than previously used made by Bloomfield Steel Construction Co., Tipton. It was designed from outset to be oil fired. The locomotive was completely new with the exception of the power bogies which came from under Earl Of Merioneth, which had been withdrawn for overhaul.

Recent years[edit]

For the first 10 years of operation David Lloyd George has proved to be a very efficient and reliable machine, providing the backbone on services for most of this period. The locomotive didn't miss a single season. In 2002 it received its first major overhaul which included a retube of the boiler and replacement of some broken stays. From 2002 the use of the locomotive declined, the two factors being the power bogies which were the oldest set still in use on the railway and the fact it was oil fired.

In 2010 an appeal was launched to build two new bogies to fit under DLG. These bogies use the monoblock cylinder design and piston valves as on Taliesin. The frames were erected, and motion parts being machined in spring 2011. The first of the cylinder blocks was machined in May 2012. Use of DLG continued to decline, with 2012 being all time low; despite being "in-ticket" the locomotive only worked the equivalent of two round trips to Blaenau Ffestiniog in the course of the entire year - one of these being a special train carrying in the Olympic Torch on the 28th May 2012. DLG's bogies were removed in February 2013 and fitted to the Earl because, despite being the oldest in use, DLG's bogies were considered in better condition as the Earl had seen very heavy use.

The boiler was stripped and retubed. Broken stays were renewed and new stainless steel superheater elements and smokeboxes fitted. The boiler was converted from oil firing to coal. By November 2013 the boiler was back in the cradle with its cladding fitted and painted in the distinctive red livery and work continuing on the bogies and starting on the tanks. During Winter 2013 and early 2014 the locomotive was reassembled with both its bogies on their wheels with valve gear fitted. New taller chimneys were fitted, and new works plates on the sides of the new smokeboxes. The engine returned to service in May 2014, temporarily painted in grey to imitate the early state of Taliesin in 1956. In 2015 DLG was repainted back into the well known red and re-launched at the May Day Bank Holiday gala.[1]

Principal stated dimensions[edit]

Cylinders (4) 9" x 14"
Nominal wheel diameter 2' 8"
Boiler design pressure 200 psi
(from 2014 operated at 180psi)
Bogie wheelbase 4' 8"
Tractive effort 12,048 lb
(at 85% boiler pressure)

Because the boiler is designed to operate at a higher pressure and has a greater degree of superheat than any other double engine boiler David Lloyd George is the most powerful steam locomotive ever to run in normal service on the Festiniog Railway.


See also[edit]