Shropshire Star

Vintage steam loco to return to mid Wales town for the first time in more than 60 years

A vintage steam locomotive will be returning to mid Wales more than 60 years after it was last in the town.

Steam locomotive Earl of Berkeley is moving to Aberystwyth next month. Photo: Laura Dutfield

The Bluebell Railway in Sussex has announced that its ex-Great Western Railway 'Dukedog' class engine, No. 9017 Earl of Berkeley, will be moving to Aberystwyth next month.

The loco, one of a class of 30, was regularly used hauling trains along the Cambrian Line from Shrewsbury to Machynlleth, Aberystwyth and Pwllheli from the late 1930s up until 1960.

After being withdrawn from service at Oswestry in 1960, Earl of Berkeley has been at by the Bluebell Railway since 1962.

It last pulled a train in 2011 and has been in storage ever since, but is now moving to Aberystwyth on lean, where it will be cared for by The Vale of Rheidol Railway for static display in the line's new Museum & Display Space.

Llŷr ap Iolo, Managing Director of the Vale of Rheidol Railway, said: “We are very excited to announce the loan of this locomotive to go on public display here in Aberystwyth. As part of the project to construct our new museum, standard gauge track was laid to facilitate this kind of visit: the ‘Dukedog’ seemed the perfect choice to be the first standard gauge locomotive to be put on display. I am very grateful to the board of the Bluebell Railway for making this loan possible."

Neil Glaskin, Operations and Commercial Director of the Bluebell Railway in Sussex, added: “We are really pleased to be able to work with The Vale of Rheidol Railway to bring the Dukedog back to Aberystwyth. Since 2011 the locomotive has been stored undercover but this has meant limited chances for the public to see it, by displaying the loco in the new museum everyone will have the chance to admire this fascinating machine.”

The loco will be housed in the very building it used to work from in the 1950s.