Steam Train to Return to Waterford

Waterford & Suir Valley Railway Company CLG has finally achieved its ambition to own a steam locomotive following the decision of the National Trust UK to donate a steam locomotive to the charity.
National Trust Cymru, announced that Penrhyn Castle plans to share more about its industrial history in a new experience as it rehomes some of its locomotives. The management of Penrhyn Castle, National Trust, has entrusted Waterford & Suir Valley Railway Company CLG with one of the locomotives in their collection. This week ownership of the locomotive will transfer to the Waterford & Suir Valley Railway Company CLG.
The locomotive known as Kettering Furnaces No. 3, is 3 foot narrow gauge, built by Black Hawthorn & Co in 1885. The locomotive spent the whole of its working life on the 3 foot Kettering Coal and Iron Company Ltd system in Northamptonshire. The railway closed in 1962 and the locomotive was soon after transferred to the Penrhyn Castle Museum where it has since been preserved indoors by the National Trust.

Alan Moore, Voluntary Director and Company Secretary of Waterford & Suir Valley Railway Company CLG, said:

“I cannot communicate adequately the level of excitement at this announcement.  When the company was formed the mission statement included an ambition to one day operate with steam, we are now one big step closer to achieving this.

“We are so grateful to the National Trust for transferring ownership of the Kettering Furnaces No. 3 locomotive to us.   We hope to do them proud as we endeavour to restore this beautiful locomotive to its former glory and to put it back into operation.”

The Kettering Furnaces No. 3 locomotive, last fired up in the early 1960's is complete including all brass work. However, it will require considerable work to bring it back to full operating condition so that it meets all the current safety requirements of the Commission for Railway Regulation in relation to the operation of steam on a heritage railway.

Maria Kyte, General Manager, Waterford & Suir Valley Railway Company CLG said:

“This is an amazing milestone for Waterford & Suir Valley Railway Company CLG, but it is also a huge commitment for the company.  Several companies who specialise in the restoration of heritage locomotives were invited to tender for the restoration of Kettering Furnaces No. 3. The Successful tender was submitted by a company in England which has extensive experience in the manufacture of new build locomotives as well as the restoration of steam locomotives similar to the Kettering Furnaces No.3 locomotive.  The Board are satisfied it will be in very safe hands.”

The locomotive will be delivered to the company’s facilities in early February where it will be stripped down and fully assessed. The restoration will be carried out in several phases, each to be determined following assessment. It will be an expensive but rewarding project. For instance, if a new boiler is required, which is very likely, the cost will be in region of €1000,000.00. The total restoration is estimated to be €250,000.00. Along with the considerable cost of restoring the Kettering Furnaces No. 3 locomotive a number of infrastructural changes at Kilmeadan Station will be required to facilitate operating with steam.

Waterford & Suir Valley Railway Company CLG will fundraise for each phase of the work. If your would like to see a steam locomotive once again journey along the banks of the River Suir, you can support this exiting project by visiting the Waterford Suir Valley Railway website or contact Kilmeadan Station on 00353 (0) 51 384058 to find out how.