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James Spooner in 1874

James Spooner was the second Double Fairlie to be built for the Festiniog Railway. It was supplied by the Avonside Engine Company of Bristol. Featuring a number of design improvements over the first FR Fairlie, Little Wonder, this locomotive set the design pattern for the future FR double engines.

Gradually rebuilt to take account of improvements brought in on subsequent double engines, it continued to work on the FR until the late 1920s. An attempt to repair the boiler failed and it was later condemned. The major components were mostly scrapped but some of the locomotive survived around Boston Lodge with various parts being incorporated as spares into the other locomotives.

James Spooner was supplied by the Avonside Engine Company of Bristol (works Nos. 929/930 - Note it has two works number as it is a double engine) to the design of George Percival Spooner, James Spooner's grandson. The locomotive featured a number of design improvements over Little Wonder, the first FR Fairlie. These included a revised bogie design that better accounted for the weight of the cylinders and a more conventional firebox arrangement. The design of this locomotive formed the template for the future FR Fairlies. As built it had an open cab and prominent bells mounted on the forward part of the boiler at each end. The bells were mounted atop sandpots. (more...)