Farewell to The Earl – April 8th 2018 – Win a footplate ride!

March 6th 2018

Double Fairlie ‘Earl of Merioneth’ is to be withdrawn from service next month to make way for a replacement locomotive, and we are offering the opportunity for two lucky people to enjoy a footplate ride during the final weekend of service.

Earl of Merioneth was built in 1979 and will hold a unique place in railway preservation history as the first new-build steam loco on any preserved line in the UK and the first to be withdrawn. The loco will be placed in dry storage on its original 1979 bogies so as not to preclude restoration at a later date.


Earl of Merioneth, affectionately known as The Square due to its angular appearance, is approaching the end of its ten-year boiler certificate and needs a new boiler, boiler cradle, smokeboxes, chimneys and water tanks. Only its power bogies, built in 1986, are serviceable and they are in need of heavy overhaul and new tyres. The decision was thus made that building a brand new loco was the best approach rather than patching up one that is effectively life-expired.

‘The Earl’ will haul its final public revenue-earning service train on Sunday April 8th departing Porthmadog at 13:35hrs. The return trip to Blaenau Ffestiniog will arrive back in Porthmadog at 16:15. This is a scheduled service and there will be no premium ticket prices. This train is likely to be in high demand, therefore we recommend early booking.

Win a Footplate Ride!

We are also offering two lucky winners the chance to experience a footplate ride on the locomotive the day before the final run on Saturday April 7th – To enter our prize draw please click here. (Winners will be notified by email no later than Friday March 23rd.) 

Note that the footplate ride is subject to our terms and conditions which can be seen here. The two winners must meet our requirements and agree to our safety policy prior to departure. This is non-negotiable.