Capital adventure for Palmerston

Ffestiniog Railway 0-4-0STT Palmerston will become the third George England-built locomotive to return to the city of its birth, when the engine is displayed at King’s Cross station on February 18-26.

The last time a George England locomotive visited the capital was when ‘Small England Princess was put on display in the new concourse of King’s Cross station on February 12-21 2016. PETER JOHNSON/FRCo.

The last time a George England locomotive visited the capital was when ‘Small England Princess was put on display in the new concourse of King’s Cross station on February 12-21 2016. PETER JOHNSON/FRCo.

It will be the first time Palmerston has visited London since the engine was built in 1864, having been completed at George England’s Hatcham Iron Works in East London in March that year. The 0-4-0STT follows in the footsteps of classmate Princess, which was put on display inside the new concourse of the London terminus on February 12-21 last year.

The non-operational Princess has become a roving ambassador for the Porthmadog-Blaenau Ffestiniog line, having visited Paddington and Dublin Heuston stations throughout 2013, celebrating 150 years of steam on the FR. Classmate Prince also made a sojourn to the capital in 2013, visiting the London Transport depot in Acton on April 13/14.

Palmerston is named after Viscount Palmerston, Liberal Prime Minister and Chairman of the Welsh Slate, Copper & Lead Mining Company’s quarry at Blaenau Ffestiniog. The locomotive saw extensive use on both the Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland Railways until withdrawal from service in 1937.

Despite being deemed ‘beyond repair’, Palmerston was the subject of a long restoration, and eventually re-entered service on the railway in 1993. It currently sits alongside Prince as one of two working original George England locomotives, soon to be joined by Welsh Pony.

For the duration of the visit, FR staff and volunteers will be joined by colleagues from the other ‘Great Little Trains of Wales’ to promote ‘Big Train meets Little Train’ - the recently published free guide to Welsh narrow gauge railways and how to visit them by rail.