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Read­ers’ thoughts on all things steam

AN IN­SUR­MOUNT­ABLE PROB­LEM FOR THE FR?

A no­table op­er­a­tional ab­sen­tee from the com­mem­o­ra­tion of ‘The Great War’ has been the Ffes­tin­iog Rail­way’s Alco ‘Moun­taineer II’, a unique lo­co­mo­tive in this coun­try, even if it’s heav­ily mod­i­fied. It’s been out of traf­fic since 2006, and if the cen­te­nary of the end of the First World War isn’t rea­son enough to put it on pub­lic dis­play beyond a ‘cameo’ ap­pear­ance at Tan-yBwlch, what prospect can there be of it ever be­ing re­stored?

If it’s un­suit­able now for the FR’s needs or sur­plus to re­quire­ments, surely the right thing to do would be to of­fer it to an­other rail­way? I’m not fa­mil­iar with its own­er­ship, but if the FR owns it then surely they could make bet­ter use of the cash. If they don’t own it, then per­haps free­ing up the cov­ered stor­age would be use­ful and the owner might see their en­gine in use again, maybe even re­built in orig­i­nal form? Let’s face it, the mod­i­fi­ca­tions nec­es­sary to meet the FR load­ing gauge and power re­quire­ments have not ex­actly done it any favours aes­thet­i­cally; per­haps that is why it is unloved?

Come on FR, ei­ther put ‘Moun­taineer II’ back into ser­vice or, bet­ter still, let some­one else do so in orig­i­nal form. Hid­ing it away at the back of a shed, out of sight, while new lo­co­mo­tive projects con­tinue to emerge and progress, is far re­moved from the in­spi­ra­tional vi­sion and lead­er­ship that we have come to ex­pect from you.

Steve Doughty, Berkham­sted, Herts

l FR GM Paul Lewin re­ports that it is “pos­si­ble” that ‘Moun­taineer II’ will fol­low Welsh Pony through the works – Ed.

THOMAS BRIGHT

An unloved at­trac­tion? Alco 2-6-2PT ‘Moun­taineer II’ awaits a re­turn to steam at Bos­ton Lodge on July 24 2018.

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