Steam Railway: Dolgoch – The old lady at 150

SR45X Dolgoch
Published Thu, 2016-06-16 17:22

As preservation's pioneer locomotive celebrates its 150th birthday, Rob Langham takes a look back at this extraordinary engine's remarkable life.

This article is an excerpt from a feature that appears in Steam Railway magazine this month. For more on Dolgoch, pick up your copy of Steam Railway magazine today.


SR45X Dolgoch
Remarkably, the railway preservation movement has now reached pensionable age – it being 65 years since an intrepid band of enthusiasts took over the Talyllyn Railway for their first summer of steam operation. It is thus a double celebration for the locomotive that single-handedly shouldered the burden of that first season – 0-4-0WT No. 2 Dolgoch – as it reaches its 150th year.
When ‘Dolgoch’ emerged from Fletcher, Jennings & Co’s Lowca works near Whitehaven in 1866, with works number 63, no-one could have predicted that a century and a half later, it would still be steaming along the railway that it was built for. 

The Talyllyn has been marking the 150th birthdays in fine style, starting in September 2014 with the anniversary of 0-4-2ST No. 1 Talyllyn’s construction by Fletcher, Jennings & Co in September 1864, and followed by the ‘150th Party’ in July 2015 which saw Ffestiniog Railway No. 2 Prince and Welsh Highland Railway Hunslet Russell operate on specially laid 2ft gauge track at Tywyn Wharf Station.

The celebrations will culminate with ‘The Grand Finale’ on July 1-3 this year, marking Dolgoch’s 150th birthday by laying more temporary rails at Tywyn Wharf – this time so that the Talyllyn can host the largest gathering of Fletcher Jennings locomotives in preservation, a unique line-up that is unlikely to be repeated.
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