Facebook Page
The Ultimate Steam Page

The Ultimate Steam Page

Steam Improvements of the Last 30 Years

Ffestiniog Railway "Linda"
updated 05/05/2000

Ffestiniog Railway 2-4-0ST+T "Linda"

photo courtesy of Phil Girdlestone

This locomotive was extensively modified in the early 1980s by Phil Girdlestone. Ffestiniog locomotives were oil-fired and the worldwide increase in prices of the mid to late 1970's created quite a crisis, and the resulting use of inferior and cheaper qualities gave many operational problems. At this time Girdlestone got to know Porta and Wardale and as a result of this association drafted a plan to rebuild a locomotive with the Gas Producer Combustion System to enable a return to coal, reduce fuel costs and improve reliability. The design work was carried out during 1983 with long-range help and advice from Porta and Wardale and the locomotive (a Hunslet 2-4-0ST/T) was rebuilt under his direction during 1984 while he was Manager of Boston Lodge Works. Apart from the GPCS it had a Lempor exhaust system, improved superheat and other detail changes. After tuning up it gave fuel costs only 73% of that it would have incurred burning oil and compared with the Alco and articulated "Fairlie" types hauling the same weight trains it was some 50% cheaper. It was re-converted to burn oil in 1986 when prices dropped after he had left the FR.

Smokebox showing Lempor exhaust system. Note superheater header and elements (very unusual for a pre-1900 locomotive on a tourist railway!). This photo was taken after Phil had left the railway, and some modifications had already been reversed, such re-routing the vacuum ejector exhaust up through the stack (it had been earlier modified by Girdlestone to exhaust exterior to the smokebox to avoid the detrimental effects on drafting). Additionally, the locomotive had reverted to oil firing by this time, hence the absence of spark arresting apparatus in the smokebox. Also note the blanked-off flanged connection teeing off of the exhaust steam pipe on the right. This was previously used to supply under-fire cooling steam for the GPCS when the locomotive was a coal-burner.