HUNDREDS of steam enthusiasts turned out for a special steam gala at the Llangollen Railway this weekend.
The railway arranged a special weekend of train activities on the heritage railway to allow steam buffs to say a fond farewell to the ‘Black Five’ loco which is due to leave the Dee Valley line.
After being associated with the Llangollen Railway for 20 years, engine No. 44806 has been sold to new owners in North Yorkshire and is due to depart later in the month.
George Jones, for Llangollen Railway, said, “No. 44806 has been a firm favourite with steam fans throughout its stay with us.
“It came to Llangollen in 1993 after a period on static display in a museum but boiler repair work allowed the engine to return to steam for an active life.
“It has been a reliable work horse and will be much missed.
“Overall the event has gone very well. It brought a lot of people out which you wouldn’t normally expect in January and there has been a good procession of trains. I certainly enjoyed it.”
The engine was on active duty from when it was built in Derby in 1944 until being withdrawn from service in 1968.
It spent 10 years on display at the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester before arriving at Llangollen at the start of 1993.
The loco was dismantled for inspection following the expiry of its boiler certificate in 2003 before being rebuilt and returned to the tracks in 2007.
In July last year, yobs damaged the train as it travelled near Llangollen.
Logs were deliberately placed on a railway line, causing ‘extensive damage’ to the vintage steam train on Llangollen Railway.
The logs ripped into the train’s tender – the fuel car behind the locomotive – and could have derailed the passenger-filled train, a spokesman for Llangollen Railway said at the time.
As part of the farewell weekend, the railway is offereing an intensive service of trains with two other steam locomotives supporting the Black Five, a diesel locomotive and a rail car offering a variety of travel options, as well as a demonstration freight train.