The two original locomotives, No. 1 The Earl and No. 2 the Countess, were built by Beyer Peacock & Co. Ltd. at their Gorton Foundry, Manchester in 1902 to a compact and sturdy design capable of handling the trains on this steeply graded railway. The pair coped with all the traffic on the line from its opening in 1903 to closure in 1956. Under the GWR and BR, they ran as Nos. 822 and 823. From time to time they went for overhaul at Oswestry Works and were sent there on closure, returning to Llanfair Caereinion in the 1960s to commence work for the Preservation Company. During the period 1997-2001 the locomotives were fully overhauled in the workshops at Llanfair. This included the fitting of new boilers and cylinders, intended to ensure that both were available for operation during their centenary year in 2002 and that of the railway in 2003. The locomotives were named in honour of the Earl and Countess of Powis as the Earl did much to support the construction of the railway at the turn of the last century. Currently The Earl is in unlined black, representative of the British Railways era. The Earl was withdrawn for major overhaul at the end of 2018.
The two original locomotives, No. 1 The Earl and No. 2 the Countess were built by Beyer Peacock & Co. Ltd. at their Gorton Foundry, Manchester in 1902 to a compact and sturdy design capable of handling the trains on this steeply graded railway. The pair coped with all the traffic on the line from its opening in 1903 to closure in 1956. Under the GWR and BR, they ran as Nos. 822 and 823. From time to time they went for overhaul at Oswestry Works and were sent there on closure, returning to Llanfair Caereinion in the 1960s to commence work for the Preservation Company. During the period 1997-2001 the locomotives were fully overhauled in the workshops at Llanfair. This included the fitting of new boilers and cylinders, intended to ensure that both were available for operation during their centenary year in 2002 and that of the railway in 2003. The locomotives were named in honour of the Earl and Countess of Powis as the Earl did much to support the construction of the railway at the turn of the last century. Currently The Countess is turned out in Great Western livery and represents the locomotive’s appearance during the 1930s.
Kerr Stuart of Stoke on Trent were late into the locomotive manufacturing field but in their short existence made many fine locomotives for colonial use of which Joan was one. She was built in 1927 for a sugar cane company in Antigua, West Indies and after being withdrawn was brought back to Britain to enjoy further service on the W&L. At Llanfair, an extensive overhaul including rebuilding the cab preceded her entry into traffic here in 1977. Following this, Joan gave sterling service on the W&L until 1991 when she was withdrawn in need of extensive repairs. After her second overhaul here, Joan re-entered service in 2011 with a new boiler and other modifications intended to increase her haulage capacity.
Zillertal was one of two U-Class 0-6-2T locomotives built in 1900 for the opening of the Zillertalbahn in Austria by Krauss & Co. The Zillertalbahn runs nearly 32km from the mainline at Jenbach to its terminus at Mayrhofen. Two other steam locomotives operate a mid-day heritage service on the line, alongside regular diesel railcar services.
The U-Class has been under major overhaul and was first steamed successfully on 24th May 2019. In June representatives from the W&LLR’s mechanical engineering department travelled to Austria to observe further testing, which proved equally successful. The locomotive arrived in Wales on hire from the Zillertalbahn on 13th August 2019 and entered service on 30th August, running at times with former Zillertalbahn carriages which arrived on the W&LLR during the 1960’s and 1970’s.
Number 10 was built as a tender engine in 1944 by the Société Franco-Belge at Raismes, France, for the German Military Railways. Following the cessation of hostilities, the locomotive found its way to the Salzkammergut Lokalbahn and it worked for several years on the picturesque Salzburg-Bad Ischl line. Subsequently the Styrian Government Railways rebuilt her in 1957 as tank engine 699.01 for use on the line from Weiz to Ratten. However, in practice she saw little service there and came to the W&L in 1969. Her power and adhesive weight, together with short wheelbase, enable her to pull the heaviest trains. She is named after the County of Montgomery, which in Welsh is Sir Drefaldwyn.
A complete overhaul of the locomotive was commenced in 2014 with the intention of a return to service in the not too distant future.
Built by the Hunslet Engine Company, Leeds in 1954, this 2-6-2 tank was the last of a line of similar locomotives supplied to the Sierra Leone Railway where it worked on various duties in and around Freetown. The leading and trailing trucks, together with a short fixed wheelbase enable it to negotiate the line’s sharp curves without difficulty, and it has been a superb performer on the W&L since it first entered traffic here in 1978. The locomotive very nearly went for scrap in 1975 after her railway closed, but was rescued in the nick of time from the torch and repatriated from West Africa to the W&L. No. 14 was withdrawn from service in early 2010 needing a new boiler and is now waiting for overhaul.
This little engine was built by Andrew Barclay & Sons Co. Ltd. of Kilmarnock in 1946 for the then extensive narrow gauge system in the Provan Gasworks of Glasgow Corporation which closed in 1958. Its low design reflects the need to work in the very restricted confines of the retort houses, nevertheless a machine of very attractive proportions has resulted. It was rescued from scrap in 1961 and came to the railway in 1969, first steaming in 1975.
The locomotive was withdrawn from service in 2014 requiring significant boiler repairs.
Monarch was built in 1953 by W. G. Bagnall of Stafford, the last steam narrow gauge locomotive built for industrial services in Britain. In addition to being a four-cylinder articulated engine it has several other interesting features, for example the circular (‘marine’) firebox and an eight element superheater, the latter being rare indeed on narrow gauge locos in Britain. The loco was new to Bowater Lloyd’s paper mills at Sittingbourne, Kent, and came to the W&L in May 1966. It has recently undergone a cosmetic rebuild and is on display at Welshpool Station.
This six-coupled machine was built by E. E. Baguley at Burton-on-Trent in 1949 to the order of the Drewry Car Company and is now fitted with a Gardner engine developing 150 h.p. Originally it worked on the Admiralty’s Upnor and Lodge Hill Railway then later transferred to Broughton Moor, Cumbria. Capable of working passenger trains in an emergency, the locomotive is normally used for the heavier civil engineering works trains.
Chattenden underwent a major overhaul during the period 2003-2004 which involved fitting a replacement gearbox.
The working life of No. 11 was spent in Wiltshire at an Admiralty armament depot. It was built in 1940 by the Hunslet Engine Co. Ltd, Leeds, and is typical of this firm’s early mines diesels being of low overall height (6ft 4ins) and originally built as a flameproof machine. This four-coupled locomotive has a 50 h.p. Gardner diesel engine and despite its diminutive appearance is capable of shunting heavy trains. It arrived at Llanfair in July 1971. Following an overhaul it has been turned-out in middle chrome green livery with totally unauthentic insignia!
This 230 h.p. locomotive was one of a batch of 91 built at the Diephulzer Works near Bremen, Germany, in 1979 for the Taiwan Sugar Corporation. It carries the Diema trade name and was delivered new to the sugar factory at Sanhua in Tai-nan County, some 300 km south of the capital Taipei. Here it would have been a common sight in the area working 600 tonne trains of raw sugar cane from the fields to the factory for processing. With the import of cheaper cane from Indonesia and consequent cut-backs, the opportunity to obtain one of these powerful locomotives was taken and ours, Taiwan Sugar Corporation No. 175, arrived at Llanfair on 19th April 2004.
UGM No. 9 was built in 1986 by Plasserail of South Africa for contract hire operation in the gold mines around Johannesburg known for its fast withdrawal casinos. It is a purpose built 2’ 6” gauge tamping machine which can also lift, level and align the track and in the hands of a skilled operator, can tamp sleepers at up to 6 per minute. Prior to its arrival here this work had been undertaken using hand held electric tools. Following a downturn in underground operations, No. 9 was offered for sale with the result that the W&L purchased it in September 1999.
This two-axle railcar was built by Baguley-Drewry in 1976 as a standard gauge personnel carrier capable of carrying 14 passengers for military use at MOD Longtown, Cumbria. It was subsequently rescued for preservation by a private individual. Despite the standard gauge, a width of less than 8’ led to thoughts of conversion to narrow gauge and discussions with the Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway led to re-gauging by RMS Locotech and trial running on our line in 2008. The trials proved so successful that the Welshpool and Llanfair Light Railway sought outright purchase of Railcar No.9150, having received approval from HM Railway Inspectorate as a track personnel carrier. The railcar greatly aids track refurbishment and maintenance, allowing personnel and tools to be quickly and easily conveyed to remote worksites.