Historic train makes stop in Abergavenny en-rout to Blaenavon
9:10am Wednesday 11th September 2013 in News
PREPARATIONS are underway for this weekend’s Steam Gala in Blaenavon as a train arrived in Gwent yesterday.
Ready for the event on September 14- 15, the Heritage railway welcomed steam engine 1054 to the station. Before its arrival by road, it made a special stop in Abergavenny.
It is one of the steam engines that hauled the final Heads of the Valley’s train from Abergavenny to Merthyr on January 5, and it returned for the first time on Tuesday as it travelled by road from Yorkshire. It is the first time it has been back to Abergavenny since it was taken out of service 55 years ago.
Such was the interest in the locomotive after hauling the famous final train that the engine built in September 1888 for the London and North Western Railway became the very first standard gauge steam locomotive to be saved for preservation as a result of a public appeal.
Then numbered 58926, the engine was based at Abergavenny shed after having spent many years hauling trains of all descriptions in South Wales. It emerged in April 1961 repainted in The London and North Western Railway livery and once again carrying its original number 1054. These engines, of which 300 were built, 1054 being the only survivor, were often referred to as Coal Tanks.
After a short period in the Midlands, ownership was transferred to the National Trust in 1963 and it went to Penrhyn Castle, Bangor for display.
The Bahamas Locomotive Society was asked to restore it to steam-able condition for the Trust; it moved to the Derbyshire in 1973.
After its boiler certificate expired it was overhauled again thanks to a £154k grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund and entered service again in February 2012 since when it has been seen working at its home base, the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway in Yorkshire.
At the Steam Gala in Blaenavon on September 14 and 15 it will once again be paired with a locomotive of the type used on that 1958 Last day special.
The original engine, No 49121, was scrapped but a similar engine exists, so locomotive No. 49395 will be making its first visit to the line.
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