James Spooner II

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James Spooner
Drawing from appeal leaflet
Type Double Fairlie
Home Railway FR
Number 8
Status Under Construction
Designed by Boston Lodge
Built by Boston Lodge
Built 2016-c.2020
Wheel Arrangement 0-4-4-0T

The new James Spooner will be the seventh locomotive to be built by the Ffestiniog Railway Company in its own workshops at Boston Lodge, and the seventh FR Double Fairlie. The building of the new locomotive was announced in 2016, with an anticipated completion date of 2020. It will be a replacement for Earl of Merioneth.

This locomotive takes its name from an earlier FR engine which was named after the company's first manager.


Announcement & Design[edit]

It was announced in March 2016 that Earl of Merioneth was worn out and needed replacement and that the new double engine would be named James Spooner. The power bogies for the new loco, and some cab fittings would come from Earl of Merioneth. The locomotive will feature a boiler the same as that which will replace Merddin Emrys' current boiler. This boiler will be built at Boston Lodge to a hybrid riveted/welded design. It is also planned that the locomotive will have a removable roof section, so it can be presented in the style of Merddin Emrys when new. It is planned the locomotive will be complete in 2020, in time for the 150th anniversary of Little Wonder's trials of 1870. At the time of the announcement some boiler components had been delivered.[1]

In December 2016 the Ffestiniog Railway Society distributed appeal leaflets with the magazine to raise money for the new loco. This leaflet featured the first concept drawing for the loco. At the same time it was stated that the appeal would help fund new components so that (with the exception of the power bogies) parts from Earl of Merioneth would not be needed and that James Spooner would be entirely new. This will additionally make it easier to restore Earl of Merioneth in the future.[2]

December 2016 also saw more boiler components, including the ready formed tapered barrels arrive at Boston Lodge.[3]

The design work on the new loco is being carried out with the aid of modern 3D solid modelling techniques. This work is being carried out remotely by a volunteer and was considered around 90% complete at the end of 2017. The use of digital modelling techniques allowed the design to be easily modified as it progressed with the result that the proportions of the final design could be adjusted to be more representative of historic practice.[4] The boiler design is such that it is the same overall size as the Hunslet boilers of Earl of Merioneth and Merddin Emrys and could be used to replace the boilers of those locos. The detailed design includes the successful taper shape used in David Lloyd George but with fireboxes more like those of the Hunslet boilers which have proved less prone to broken stays. The tube layout is also the same as the Hunslet boilers which are known to steam well and be more suited to coal firing than that of David Lloyd George. This will also allow the reuse of the superheater castings from the Hunslet boilers.[5]


Boiler construction commenced in January 2018, with major components being welded together by a contractor.[6] During March the cradle was under construction at Boston Lodge.[7]

Design of new boiler for James Spooner

Principal dimensions[edit]

Cylinders (4) 9" x 14"
Nominal wheel diameter 2' 8"
Boiler pressure 160 psi
Tractive effort (85% BP) 9,639 lb
Driving bogie wheelbase 4' 8"

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Inside Motion, March/April 2016
  2. ^ "The Fairlie Appeal", Ffestiniog Railway Magazine, Issue 235 (2016)
  3. ^ Post on F&WHR Insider Facebook apge.
  4. ^ "James Spooner", Ffestiniog Railway Magazine, Issue 239 (2017), page(s): 805
  5. ^ Payling, David (2017). Fairlie Locomotives of North Wales. Harbour Station, Porthmadog: Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland Railways. ISBN 978-0-901848-14-7. OCLC 1006424938. 
  6. ^ Thomas, Cliff (2018). "Narrow Gauge Track Record". The Railway Magazine. 164 (1403): 77. 
  7. ^ Moving Pictures, Fifteen - 14/3/18

External Links[edit]