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From this month's featured article

Vintage Weekend 2004 - A week after returning to working order. Photo: Martin Ellis

The Simplex (officially the Simplex tractor) also known as Mary Ann is a small petrol locomotive operating on the Ffestiniog Railway. Originally built for the trench railways of the First World War the Simplex tractor arrived on the FR in 1923 where it was used for shunting work. In 1954 it became the first locomotive to work on the revived FR and for many years remained an important member of the FR works fleet. It was retired from front line service after the acquisition of more powerful diesel locomotives and has recently been restored, initially to '50s condition, and more recently to First World War condition.

The loco was not originally named when she arrived at the FR and was known as 'The Simplex'. Later it acquired the nickname Mary-Ann which later became official as 'Mary Ann' (without hyphen). Since the locomotives restoration to 1950s condition for the FR50 events the loco is once again unnamed. (more...)

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Festipedia is dedicated to recording the history of the Festiniog Railway from the 19th Century to the present day. There is a user friendly index to help you find your way around the main categories. You will also find much detail on the Welsh Highland Railway

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This month's featured picture

William Parkins, Station master at Minffordd.

William Parkins was a clerk with the Festiniog Railway from 1890 and a Porter at Harbour Station from 1901 to about 1906. The 1901 census shows him as a Station master but he may only have been a "Porter in Charge" but not known where. However he resigned in 1902 to work on Vale of Rheidol (maybe never actually left). In September 1906 was still a porter at Portmadoc but applied for the post of relief signalman which he does not seem to have taken up either. He eventually became a Station Master at Minffordd in 1911. He departed 24th March 1917 apparently accused of causing delays to passenger trains. There had also been shortages in the money under his control although he left with all his debts cleared.

He left the FR when he volunteered to serve in the forces but no service record has been found. He did not return to the railway.

Photo courtesy Tom Bowen

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