Train from Spain steam locomotive wins top award

Whillan Beck
Credit: Cumberland Patriot

The Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway Preservation Society has announced that they have received the Coiley Locomotive Engineering Award at the Heritage Railway Association awards.

The awards were held on February 9th at the McDonald Burlington Hotel, Birmingham and was hosted by Pete Waterman OBE.

There were four projects in the running for the Coiley Locomotive Award, which is presented to any project that has completed their project in the field of locomotive overhaul, restoration, or preservation.

The RER ran a two-and-a-half-year project to buy and refurbish a 15″ gauge steam locomotive, built in Munich in 1929 and stored in Spain since the 1930s. The goal was to bring it back into active service for the Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway and its passengers.

Whillan Beck and its restoration project would not have been possible without the fundraising from ‘The Train from Spain Appeal’.

The locomotive was brought from Spain and extensive works were carried out over two years to bring the locomotive into working order. The locomotive was named ‘Whillan Beck’ at a special naming ceremony on Saturday 5 May 2018.

What did the officials say?

Mr Simon Thompson, Hon. Chairman for The Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway Preservation Society says;

‘We are delighted that the Train from Spain restoration project has been recognised by the Heritage Railway Association with the The Coiley Locomotive Engineering Award. This is awarded to an organisation who has completed an outstanding engineering project in the field of locomotive overhaul, restoration, or preservation. It is testament to the dedication and passion of the skilled team of engineers at Old Hall Engineering and at Ravenglass, that worked tirelessly to bring Whillan Beck back to its former glory and to the innovative fundraising campaign which captured the hearts of the public. The locomotive has been in service on the railway since March 2018 and has proven to be more than capable of handling the busiest of trains on the railway; a remarkable feat after 85 years stored in Spain.’

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