Few, if any, railways have anything as iconic as the Ffestiniog's Fairlies - our articulated locomotives not only give the FR a distinct image but work hard on our heavier trains year in year out. You will be aware that the Society is helping the Company by funding two new bogies to replace the last two ‘historic' units, something that should increase efficiency and improve reliability. Several hundred individuals have kindly donated to this project and our thanks go out to you.
However, the Fairlies are not the only locomotives associated with our line. When the Rev. Awdry gave Thomas some narrow gauge friends it was Prince, one of our England locomotives that he chose. At the time Prince was the only one working, since then Palmerston has joined the fleet and there is talk of a Welsh Pony rebuild as well. These locomotives can be considered in the ‘nice to have' category and, as such, the Society has been asked to fund the rebuild of Prince in time for his 150th birthday.
This is where you come in, we need to raise the funds for this project, and, although we have an England Engine fund there is nowhere near enough in it to complete the project. We need your help. Donations will be welcome and these can be sent to Dave Charlton. FRS. Freepost NATE 1232, Haltwhistle NE49 9BR.
Cheques payable to Ffestiniog Railway Society.
Chris Jones, who has played a leading role in Prince's overhaul and maintenance for many years adds: Prince is the oldest steam locomotive the Ffestiniog Railway has that is capable of working. He has been a great ambassador for the FR for the last 15 months at Highley but there are a series of important anniversaries coming up that highlight the importance of returning him to service.
The first of these is in 2013 when we celebrate the 150th anniversary of steam on the FR - the first successful application of steam on such a narrow gauge.
The success of the design led to the railway being the first narrow gauge railway in the country allowed to carry passengers, and to narrow gauge railways being adopted around the world. Prince was there then and needs to be there in 2013, in steam, to continue our heritage journey.
Prince is iconic to the preservation of the Ffestiniog Railway as the first steam locomotive to run in preservation on the railway and the mainstay of the service for the first two years, without Prince the railway would have struggled to become as successful as early as it did.
In 1963 Prince became the first preserved locomotive to celebrate its centenary in regular service on its own railway. What better way to continue this celebration than to achieve its 150th birthday, in steam, with the joint resources of the current generations of volunteers and Boston Lodge staff and your help.