19 December 2023
The ever-popular Hunslet 2-4-0 Linda has returned to steam alongside sister locomotive, Blanche.
Linda arrived at the Ffestiniog Railway in July 1962 and has been a stalwart of the railway ever since.
Linda was withdrawn from service in 2019, a year after her starring appearance at the successful “Hunslet 125” gala.
Work on the boiler started almost immediately and was rapidly completed, however, the pandemic delayed work on the chassis somewhat. The staff at Boston Lodge worked extremely hard to continue working on Linda, whilst at the same time, overhauling David Lloyd George and constructing James Spooner, the newly-built Double Fairlie. For this reason, the return to traffic, intended to celebrate her 60 years of service at the FR in 2022, was delayed until now.
The work completed has been quite comprehensive with a lot of attention focussed on the heavy rebuild of the tender and the inevitable work on the smokebox caused by a decade of high mileage use. Following running-in turns on the recent shuttle trains between Porthmadog and Minffordd, she is now in the paint shop receiving attention.
Linda will return to traffic in March 2024 and will be a regular sight on the Quarryman service starting in Blaenau Ffestiniog. An ever-popular guest driver locomotive, thoughts are being given to offering a limited number of opportunities to drive and fire Linda this year.
The cost of the overhaul was over £80,000, funded by members of the Ffestiniog Railway Society.