PLANET TEAM PLANS TO BUILD LION REPLICA BY 2030
Liverpool & Manchester Railway pioneer 0‑2‑2 Northumbrian could also be recreated.
WITH LION, WE’VE GOT AN ENGINE TO COPY. IT’S THERE AND ALL THE REDESIGN WORK DONE FOR PLANET IS ALSO APPLICABLE ANTHONY DAWSON
Areplica of Liverpool & Manchester Railway 0‑4‑2 Lion, star of The Titfield Thunderbolt, could steam in 2030 to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the opening of the pioneering intercity railway.
The proposal is one of two schemes being considered by past and present members of the team behind the replica of Robert Stephenson’s 2‑2‑0 Planet, the other being a reproduction of Stephenson’s 0‑2‑2 Northumbrian, which hauled the inaugural L&M train on September 15 1830.
Although it has not been decided yet which locomotive will be built first, Anthony Dawson, one of the project’s co‑founders, has indicated that a replica of Tiger – Lion’s sister – could take precedence as the 0‑4‑2 is a more recognised locomotive, and because the original Lion is unlikely to ever steam again owing to the poor condition of its boiler; it last steamed in 1988.
He says: “Lion has more going for her. Northumbrian is the academic’s engine, and would have the problem of being wrongly identified as Rocket, and we’re not sure how much life the replica would have after the L&M bicentenary.
“For the vast majority of enthusiasts, there is little difference between Rocket and Northumbrian, but Lion really is the people’s choice. She was at ‘Rainhill 150’, and is now too elderly to be there in 2030, so the next best thing is a replica of Tiger, which we aim to build with an original‑style L&M boiler but provide a big brass dress‑up cover for the firebox so we can put on ‘Thunderbolt’ nameplates and offer a full Titfield Thunderbolt experience.”
Although the proposals have not yet progressed beyond the discussion stages, Mr Dawson estimates it will cost £400,000 to build Tiger, while an initial quote of £300,000 has been given for the replica of Northumbrian, which “fills the gap between Rocket and Planet; she was the first locomotive with a ‘modern’ boiler and to use plate frames.
“We also intend to build a couple of replica carriages for her; the initial idea was to recreate the train on which the Duke of Wellington travelled, but we don’t know enough about that carriage or how it worked as a rail vehicle.”
The Old Locomotive Committee, which was instrumental in Lion’s initial restoration in 1930, supports the proposal. John Brandrick, OLCO chairman, says: “We are not actively involved, although we are obviously interested in it. We have also provided them with the excellent and highly detailed drawings of Lion which our member John Hawley has been preparing over the last few years, based on his own measurements of the original.”
The proposals also have the support of both the LNWR Society and the Liverpool & Manchester Railway Trust, which aims to establish a railway museum at Edge Hill as well as a workshop and a demonstration line, on which it is proposed Tiger and the reproduction carriages will run.
Mr Dawson says: “We are looking at putting together a formal group for those who feel able to contribute to the design and build of either engine.
“We are currently looking at quotes for the boiler and looking for an engineering base (preferably somewhere in the North West). Something concrete should come out of this shortly.
“We’ve held an initial meeting in Manchester to look at options, including forming a charitable educational trust for the purpose of studying early locomotives built between 1830 and 1850.
“There are ten years to go until the Liverpool & Manchester turns 200. We want to celebrate it in proper style, with a Liverpool & Manchester locomotive and train of carriages.”
●● A replica of Northumbrian was built by the LMS to commemorate the L&M’s centenary in 1930, although it was powered by a petrol engine concealed in the tender.
A replica of Lion’s sister, Tiger, could be built by 2030 to commemorate the bicentenary of the opening of the Liverpool & Manchester railway. The original Lion currently resides in the Museum of Liverpool, unlikely to ever steam again.