We're chuffed at getting Gertrude; 92-yr-old loco to pull in the visitors.
A VERY special guest will be helping pull in the visitors at a popular tourist railway line this summer Gertrude is 92 years old and will be put to work for the first time pulling passenger trains at Porthmadog's Welsh Highland Heritage Railway.
It comes following a deal with Exmoor Transport to hire Barclay 0-6-0T locomotive Gertrude for this year's summer season.
The locomotive was originally built for the Sydenham Ironstone Quarry near Banbury in Oxfordshire, and is a sister locomotive to The Doll, which is based at the Leighton Buzzard Narrow Gauge Railway.
Exmoor Transport recently completed an extensive restoration of the locomotive, which had been out of service since withdrawal in 1959. The agreement to bring it to Wales for 2010 will see it steaming for a minimum of 30 days, allowing it to share duties with the WHHR resident loco, Gelert.
James Hewett, chairman of the WHHR, said: "We're delighted that Gertrude will be joining us for the coming season.
"We believe she will prove a popular, powerful and attractive locomotive, and add some extra variety to the service in 2010.
"It's interesting to think that although Gertrude is 92 years old, she had never pulled a passenger train until August of last year.
"The restored locomotive could now find itself hauling thousands of people in the next few months."
Gertrude is due to arrive in Porthmadog over Easter, and will be steam tested before entering service at WHHR's gala weekend on May 1-3. It's not the first time Gertrude has had an association with Welsh Highland Railway Limited, the charity that runs the WHHR.
The train was destined to come to Wales in the 1970s when the organisation was in its early days.
It spent time at Kinnerley in Shropshire, where the company was based for a time, but never made it to Porthmadog.
Ninety-two-year-old loco Gertrude, pictured on the Exmoor Railway, will be joining Gelert (inset) on the Welsh Highland Heritage Railway in Porthmadog this summer