Unique steam loco Nutty is on track for a starring role in railway celebrations

A unique steam locomotive will be returning to Welshpool for the first time in 32 years when it visits for a celebratory event next weekend.

The loco, Nutty
The loco, Nutty

The last surviving narrow-gauge Sentinel steam locomotive, from Stonehenge Works on the Leighton Buzzard Railway in Bedfordshire, will be taking part in Welshpool and Llanfair Light Railway’s celebration of 60 years of preservation on Saturday, June 17.

Celebrations will take place across the weekend of June 17-18, with 60 years of Preservation on Saturday and the 120th anniversary of the Welshpool and Llanfair Light Railway, which began operating trains in 1903, being marked on Sunday.

The four-wheeled, vertical-boiled, chain-driven locomotive, nicknamed ‘Nutty’ after the driver who kept it in service for 30 years, is one of three built in 1927 at Peterborough.

James Brett, Welshpool and Llanfair Light Railway’s general manager, said: “It is great that we have been able to get Nutty back in Welshpool for this year’s big celebrations.”

Nutty arrives at the railway

Originally 2ft11in gauge, in 1964 ‘Nutty’ was donated to the Narrow-Gauge Railway Museum Trust, located in Tywyn where it was re-gauged to 2ft6in and loaned to Welshpool and Llanfair Light Railway where it worked on shunting duties until 1991.

‘Nutty’ then returned to Tywyn where it was loaned to Whipsnade Zoo for restoration and service on the railway until its dismantling after work ceased.

From there, in 1994, it was moved to Railsworld in Peterborough and given to a local engineering works after two-years for reassembly and cosmetic restoration to take place.

In 2012, ‘Nutty’ was loaned to the Leighton Buzzard Railway where it has been on public display until now.

David Wood, Leighton Buzzard Railway Preservation Society Chairman said: “It has been a privilege to give ‘Nutty’ a home for more than 10-years, creating an extra interest for our visitors. We are glad to see it go now to take an equally suitable location on another of Britian’s brilliant narrow-gauge railways.”

The Narrow Gauge Museum in Tywyn has announced ‘Nutty’ will remain on long-term loan at Welshpool and Llanfair Light Railway.

Keith Theobald, the Narrow Gauge Railway Museum Trust Chairman said: “It is good to see this unique loco going to Welshpool, with which it has strong historical links and where it will gain a fresh audience.”

By Rosie Stead-Brennan

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