‘The Earl’ was
the first new locomotive to be constructed at Boston Lodge in the
preservation era. Starting in 1972, she was completed and entered
passenger service in 1979 and was built to replace ‘Livingston
Thompson’, which is now displayed at the National Railway Museum
York as a static exhibit.
The locomotive is a ‘Double Fairlie’, although it looks quite
different to the railway’s two other locos of this type (‘Merddin
Emrys’ and ‘David Lloyd George’) as she was built to a more ‘modern’
style with sloping tanks. A ‘Double Fairlie’ is a steam locomotive
built to the patent design of Robert Francis Fairlie using two
articulated power bogies, one at each end of the engine. The
Ffestiniog Double Fairlies are all of a 0-4-4-0 wheel arrangement.
This unusual design created powerful locomotives that could travel
around tight curves at a decent speed, meaning that the expensive
previous plans to double the track were unnecessary.
Recently, she has been converted to burn coal rather than oil, the
conversion necessary to take advantage of the now significant
difference in the prices of oil and coal.
Earl Of Merioneth stands at Harbour Station in 1980.
Built: 1979 - Rheilffordd Ffestiniog Boston
Boiler Pressure: 160 psi.
Tractive effort: 9.277 lb.
Weight: 31 tons.
Water capacity: 450 gallons.