PLANET TEAM PLANS TO BUILD LION REPLICA BY 2030

Liver­pool & Manch­ester Rail­way pi­o­neer 0‑2‑2 Northum­brian could also be recre­ated.

Steam Railway (UK) - - FOCUS -

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.

ALAMY

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.

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