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Britain's oldest working steam locomotive was a popular visitor at the famous Beamish open air museum in County Durham.

FR No. 20 made its first visit in the autumn of 2008 during its North East tour along with appearances at Locomotion and the Tanfield Railway. Back then, FR 20 operated demonstration passenger and freight services in tandem with another visitor, 1870s vintage well tank "Bellerophon".

By the time of the second, longer visit in June and July 2010, the running line had been upgraded to passenger-carrying standards, giving people the chance to ride in the train rather than just watch it.

The 1863 veteran teamed up with another FRT stablemate - the Trust's former Royal Saloon Great Eastern Railway Number 5, which is still on hire to Beamish. The pair provided passenger trains every weekend, carrying hundreds of passengers.

The demonstration line leaves the delightfully rebuilt former Rowley station and heads uphill behind the recreated Town at Beamish, curving sharply to the right and ending up alongside the tramway at the far side of the Town area of the Museum. The train was then propelled back down the gradient to the station. This video shows the view from the footplate as the locomotive heads under the footbridge out of the station, and starts the ascent of the bank.

Trains operated as required, and it was normal for the engine and carriage to make 25 round trips in an operating day, only pausing for a few minutes to allow on coach-load of passengers to disembark and another to take their seats before heading off again!

This photograph was taken at the summit of the line, at the far end just before steam is shut off at the end of the outward journey.

Beamish Museum were very complimentary about the visitor, describing FR20's departure as a "sad farewell" to a "wonderful" and "beautiful" loco.

FR 20 left Beamish after the final steaming on August 1st 2010, to move on to the Bluebell Railway's landmark gala marking 50 years of standard gauge railway preservation.

FR20 and GER5 at Rowley station in Beamish Museum
FR20 and GER5 head along the running line

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FR Number 20 at Beamish