The locomotive will be in steam in the castle courtyard on Saturday May 23rd and Sunday May 24th, and our staff will be on hand to answer any questions that you might have.
Hugh Napier is named after Hugh Napier Douglas-Pennant, the fourth Lord Penrhyn, who died in 1949. The locomotive was built by Hunslet of Leeds, and started work at Penrhyn Quarry in 1904. After 50 years of hard work, it was deemed to be worn out and in 1954 was dumped on a siding awaiting its fate; however, somehow the loco escaped the scrapman’s torch and was given to Penrhyn Castle Industrial Railway Museum in 1966. In 1951 Penrhyn Castle and 40,000 acres of land were accepted by the Treasury in lieu of death duties. It now belongs to the National Trust and is open to the public. Amongst Penrhyn’s many attractions is an industrial railway museum.
Former quarryman Iorwerth Jones and the curatorial team at Penrhyn Castle spent many years gathering together all the missing parts needed to return Hugh Napier to steam. He was determined that the engine should be restored and was behind several attempts to move things forward over thirty years. Sadly the extra effort he planned to put in to finish the job when he retired never happened as he died shortly after retiring.
But friends and supporters were determined that his work would not be in vain and engineers at the Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland Railway’s Boston Lodge Works were asked to finish the job started by Iorwerth, the loco being delivered to the works in July 2011. In 2012 Hugh Napier was back in action after being blessed by the Bishop of Bangor.
The diminutive locomotive is now based on the Ffestiniog & Welsh Highland Railways, where it is used for light duties and on special occasions. Hugh Napier is also a roving ambassador for the National Trust, visiting locations around the UK.