Following several months of negotiations between the Bressingham Steam Museum, Norfolk, and the Penrhyn Quarry Railway, North Wales, an agreement has been reached whereby the PQR will assist with the restoration of the locomotive Gwynedd in the hope of returning the loco to working order.
A substantial donation kindly provided by a Penrhyn Quarry Railway sponsor now means that all of the funds needed are in place to restore the loco to full working order once again. Once fully operational, Gwynedd will spend a significant period of time at the PQR each year becoming an ambassador for both Bressingham and the Penrhyn Quarry Railway. The Gwynedd Restoration Group at Bressingham will be joined by members of the Felin Fawr team who will assist with the preparation of parts for the restoration with the aim of restoring the loco to as near as feasible Penrhyn appearance.
Gwynedd was the first ‘Port Class’ locomotive to be supplied by the Hunslet Engine Co of Leeds in 1883 to Penrhyn Quarries along with her sister Lilian.
The locomotive was named Gwynedd after the Hon Gwynedd Douglas Pennant a daughter of George Sholto Gordon Douglas Pennant, 2nd Baron Penrhyn.
Although the locomotive was intended for port shunting duties at Port Penrhyn, she actually spent most of her working life at Penrhyn Quarry where she remained at work until she was withdrawn in 1954 and laid up in the Coed Y Parc coach shed until purchased for preservation by John Hutchings in 1965. Twelve months later Gwynedd was purchased by Alan Bloom of Bressingham where she arrived in 1966.
Once restored to full working order again, Gwynedd (Hunslet 316) along will along with her sister Lilian (317) be the oldest operational quarry Hunslet in existence.
The Gwynedd Restoration Group consists of volunteers interested in the providence of the locomotive, who since 2011 have taken on the care and management of Gwynedd. The group has a long term aim of returning her to steam in original livery and to act as a roving ambassador. Robert Ellis, chairman of the GRG said that the move was “a fantastic opportunity for Bressingham and the PQR to further strengthen their relationship which started in 2012 with the visit to Felin Fawr of quarry Hunslet George Sholto.” He also said that the group were “delighted to be able to make a start on meaningful restoration work and looked forward to working with the PQR towards getting her steaming at Penrhyn as well as at Bressingham”
Gwynedd has already been stripped, its firebox (which needs replacement) removed and wheels sent for reprofiling. No target has been yet set for a return to steam, but the group wishes to take advantage of the momentum carried by starting the project. Updates can be seen on both the Penrhyn Quarry railway website (www.penrhynquarries.webs.com) and that of Bressingham Steam