A 150 year-old survivor will be full steam ahead at Show

Gilbert drove the engine on its 100th birthday and joined the team at Ffestiniog Railway again this month to celebrate the train’s 150th birthday.

The world’s oldest working narrow gauge steam locomotive will be creating a stir at this year’s Show as it offers free riverside rides between the Kingsland Bridge and the statue of Hercules.

The locomotive, which is known as Prince, was built in a factory in East London, owned by George England. England created the world’s first narrow gauge steam locomotives, despite warnings from railway luminaries such as Robert Stephenson that steam power could never work successfully on a two foot (570mm) gauge railway.

The first two of a batch of four were delivered to the Ffestiniog Railway in North Wales in 1863, making it the first public narrow gauge railway in the world to introduce steam engines. Not only did England prove ‘experts’ wrong, perhaps most remarkably, 150 years later, four of the original engines survive, with Prince and Palmerston still in full working order.

Princess, the first of these great little survivors, has been restored to museum exhibit condition and is currently undertaking a tour of the UK and Ireland, having visited Paddington in London and Dublin ‘s Heuston Station.

Rides on Prince will run from 10am – 6pm on both days for a voluntary donation.

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