Rodney Weaver

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Rodney Weaver's enthusiasm for the Festiniog Railway was formed when as a seven year old he bought a copy of Odhams' The World's Railways and How they work and came across the photograph of a Blaenau bound FR train passing the three arm signal outside Harbour Station hauled by a double engine. At that age the statement in the caption that the Fairlie articulated locomotive had a double ended boiler led him to deduce that it must also have two fireboxes.

His natural aptitude for mechanical engineering theory led him to a deep interest in all forms of mechanical propulsion, being it applied to rail, sea or air and he also had an extensive knowledge of the slate quarrying industry. This interest was expressed through copious writings in magazines and newsletters. He was the principal co-author of Festiniog Railway Locomotives[1] and the Mechanical Engineering Editorial Adviser to The Oxford Companion to British Railway History[2].

Rodney had joined the Festiniog Railway Society in 1957 and surprised the mechanically minded of the railway's supporters with his deduction in 1959, at the age of twenty, that the reason that the Allen's Straight Link motion as fitted to Prince had curved links was the these were the links from the Gooch's Motion from the Little Wonder. He became a volunteer fireman on the FR and was a long standing member of the Society's Midland Group committee, becoming its Chairman in later years.

He believed that one often overlooked pioneering achievement of the FR was the application of monocoque construction to any form of transport with the introduction of the two iron framed carriages Nos. 15 and 16, predating its application to an aircraft fuselage by 42 years and the BR Mark II carriage by about 95 years!

His interests outside the FR included the London and North Western Railway Association (of which he was president), the seven and a quarter gauge Echills Wood Railway, then at its original home at the National Agriculture Centre showground, the Royal National Lifeboat Institution, all forms of aeronautical engineering back to the days of the very first hot air balloon flights (by profession he was an industrial chemist for Rolls Royce Aero Engines), industrial archeology generally and steam power on the inland waterways.

Rodney died in January 2003[3][4]

  1. ^ Weaver, C Rodney (1988). Festiniog Railway Locomotives. Leicester, England: AB Publishing. OCLC 59838875. 
  2. ^ Simmons, Jack; Biddle, Gordon (1997). The Oxford Companion to British Railway History. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-866238-6. OCLC 38062800. 
  3. ^ Obituary, Ffestiniog Railway Magazine, Issue 180, page(s): 540
  4. ^ Obituary, Festiniog Railway Heritage Group Journal, Issue 072, page(s): 005

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