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Cymdeithas Rheilffordd Ffestiniog


FR Locos in France

07 May 2016

Mary Ann leads Moelwyn on the plateau

Moelwyn and Mary Ann from the F&WHR are visiting Le P’tit train de la Haute Somme in Northern France. They are holding a special event to commemorate the centenary of the railway as part of World War One. They are also marking 45 years since the railway was taken into preservation.

Moelwyn is an original American 50HP Baldwin tractor loco from the period and of the type built for war service with the American and French armies. Mary Ann is a 40HP Simplex loco of the type supplied to the British War Department in large numbers. Also at the event is the Busta, the FR’s World War 1 speeder, originally a transport vehicle for American officers which also served, somewhat notoriously, on the early preserved railway.

All three were acquired by the Festiniog Railway in the 1920s and have seen many modifications over the years. In the last few months, a dedicated volunteer group have made an effort to restore them, as much as practical, to their wartime appearance.

Moelwyn in action - the Somme military canal is in the background WW1 speeder Busta in action on its second visit to the line Ffestiniog Railway volunteers in uniform, bought for the occasion 'Captain' Iain Wilkinson talks to Radio Bleu

The locos will continue to operate alongside other World War 1 stock and locos until Sunday.

After that, they will travel to the Moseley Railway Trust for their Tracks to the Trenches event next weekend.

In June and July they will be participating in events at Beamish North of England Open Air Museum.

Speeder Busta in use as a sales stand Military shadows Ffestiniog volunteers on the train in uniform Volunteers man the train, with Busta in the foreground 'Captain' Wilkinson and his security detail Mary Ann heads the train
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