Ffestiniog Railway to build new boiler for steam locomotive ‘Velinheli’

Velinheli on Footplate Rides at Dinas
Velinheli on Footplate Rides at Dinas // Credit: RailAdvent

The Launceston Steam Railway, in Cornwall, has announced that steam locomotive ‘Velinheli’ has left the railway and is going to the Ffestiniog Railway, in North Wales, for a new boiler to be fitted.

Velinheli was built by the Hunslet Locomotive Company, in Leeds, in 1886. The locomotive spent her working life in the Dinorwic Slate Quarry near Llanberis. Velinheli is unique as she was built as the prototype for the new smaller class of locomotives, now known as the ‘Alice’ class.

The locomotive is owned by James Evans. After spending some years operating in the family garden, it was rebuilt by James at the Launceston Steam Railway in the 1980s.

We previously reported that Velinheli was in need of a new boiler. She has been taken out of service when her boiler ticket ran out.

The Ffestiniog Railway, in Porthmadog, North Wales, is to now build Velinheli a new boiler. Construction of the boiler began in January when a team from the Ffestiniog Railway visited the Launceston Steam Railway to form the firebox plates, using flanging blocks which the Launceston Railway made when building new boilers for their locomotives Lilian and Covertcoat.

Velinheli has now left the Launceston Steam Railway. She is now on display alongside ‘Hugh Napier’ at Kings Cross for half term.

What will happen once the boiler is complete?

When the boiler is complete, it is planned for Velinheli to spend time at both the Ffestiniog Railway and at the Launceston Steam Railway. However, due to timescales involved with a new boiler, it is unlikely for Velinheli to return to Launceston for a number of years.

Michael Holden avatar
I have had an interest in Railways for as long as I can remember. I am a member of a number of heritage railways and actively volunteer at 2 of them. I enjoy all types of railways, real life, model and simulations. I started RailAdvent in 2014 and am the main editor of the site.