An update on steam locomotive Velinheli

Velinheli update
Credit: Paul Lewin

Paul Lewin, General Manager of the Ffestiniog Railway, has released an update on the overhaul of Hunslet locomotive Velinheli.

Velinhli was the first of the ‘Alice’ class of Quarry Hunslet locomotives. James Evans has owned the engine for over 50 years.

Three years ago saw Velinheli withdrawn from service with boiler problems, not even halfway through its boiler ticket.

Velinheli was moved to the Ffestiniog Railway via London Kings Cross for publicity purposes.

Since then, a small team at Boston Lodge have been working on a new boiler in their spare time.

The new design is flanged and welded with a rivetted foundation ring. This design occupies the same envelope as the original boilers. British Engineering Services approved the plan of the boiler and work has been underway on the boiler for around 18 months.

The first step was flanging the inner firebox plates. The flanging was completed by the team at the Launceston Steam Railway at the same time that they were creating another pair for LSR resident Dorothea.

Following this, the outer firebox flanged plates were made by Israel Newton, again for both Velinheli and Dorothea. Deepdale Engineering has produced the boiler barrels.

During 2019, apart from drilling the tube holes, the inner firebox for Velinheli was completed. Additionally, 2019 saw the completion of the outer firebox. The barrel has been offered up to the throatplate. The barrel and throatplate are expected to be welded during in December.

Velinheli is currently still a complete locomotive as there is no point in dismantling an engine until the new boiler is available. As a result, the Hunslet has been on static display from time to time.

At the time of writing, plans are in place to see Velinheli at a significant city located in northern England in Spring 2020.

What did the officials say?

Paul Lewin, part of the Boston Lodge team, said

‘It will be a splendid Christmas present if the outer shell of the boiler is completed before the end of the year. This is very much a spare-time project on the slimmest of budgets which may take some time but it is making really positive progress’.

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