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