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FR20 at the Midland Railway Centre

Furness Railway Number 20 has made a second visit to the Midland Railway - Butterley.

The 1863 veteran was used for the May 2012 Vintage Trains weekend across the May Day bank holiday weekend. 

The MR-B has an enviable collection of 19th century carriages, and what better to haul these Vintage Trains than the most vintage working steam locomotive in the country?!

FR20 was first at what was then known as the Midland Railway Centre in May 2001 , to take part in a then unique event. The vision was to get the oldest working standard gauge steam locomotive in Britain, hurrying along with a splendid rake of mid-Victorian wooden-bodied carriages of the same vintage. But what made that gathering special was that it was done with two Victorian locomotives,  the other beingthe Centre's resident Midland Railway Kirtley 2-4-0. Whilst not in steam, it was posed whilst 20 steamed past for a series of staged portayals of railways in their 19th century heyday.


Photo: Steve Huson.
Bigger version in the Picture Gallery

The Midland Railway Centre reported visitor numbers were doubled compared to previous similar events - further proof of the drawing power of Furness Railway Number 20, the engine dubbed "Thomas the Tank Engine for adults" by one visitor!

Using FR Number 20 at Butterley was particularly appropriate because the old Furness Railway Company had close links with the Midland Railway Company. The two shared a joint line between Carnforth and Wennington (on the route towards Skipton and Leeds) and the Midland helped promote the FR's Lakeside Branch.

The vintage train at the Midland Railway Centre includes a 4-wheel carriage dating from 1866 (just three years younger than FR Number 20) which spent most of its life as part of a bungalow before being restored, complete with wooden seats but now fitted with the brakes it never had in its original railway service!

FR Number 20 at the Midland Railway Centre

Photo: Steve Huson.
Bigger version in the Picture Gallery

Furness Railway Number 20 came to Butterley via the Barrow Hill Roundhouse, and spent two weeks at the Midland Railway Centre before returning to its then home at Haverthwaite.

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Victorian Splendour at the Midland Railway - Butterley