The Lyd Project

A project is now well advanced to build a close replica of Lew, one of the 2-6-2Ts of the legendary Lynton & Barnstaple Railway in Devon (closed 1935). As there is a possibility (increasingly remote) that Lew may still exist in South America, where the engine was shipped after the L&B closed, a new name has been chosen. The first manufacturing tasks were carried out in Cornwall, but the main building of the engine later moved to the FR's Boston Lodge Works. Lyd will be based on the Welsh Highland. The project is being funded partly by the individuals behind it, and partly by a variety of contribution schemes; more participants are still very welcome, as this will mean (as happened with Taliesin) that the engine will be completed sooner rather than later. For further details of this imaginative project, write to: Paul Lewin, The Lyd Project, Harbour Station, Porthmadog, Gwynedd LL49 9NF, UK, or email In addition, proceeds from the Ffestiniog Railway's Guest Driving programme contribute to the completion of Lyd. Construction of Lyd is well advanced, with over 80% of the loco now complete.

The loco was to carry the chimney of original Lynton and Barnstaple loco Yeo (built 1897, scrapped 1935), which spent 62 years on a steam roller (which now has a replacement chimney)! This is seen in the pictures below. However the chimney has been found to be too corroded for further use, and a new one has been made.

In early 1999 the main chassis components of Lyd were moved to the premises of ESCA Engineering in Wigan, with a view to speeding up the fitting and assembly process. The largely complete rolling chassis was returned to Boston Lodge in time to be exhibited at the May 1999 Gala, where it was shown with the tanks, smokebox barrel and chimney fitted, making the size and proportions of the full-size loco clear for the first time. Since then, a great deal of work has been done on the remaining chassis components.

With further work done but the tanks and smokebox removed, the rolling chassis of Lyd was on view at Minffordd during the FR's October 2000 Vintage Weekend.

The order for Lyd's boiler was placed in mid-December 2000, with the Bradford firm of Israel Newton, who have also built the new boiler for Garratt K1. The project had amassed the necessary funds to cover the estimated cost of 36,000 in one go. The pictures below (by Robin Rees-Jones) show firebox plates for Lyd at Newton's works in December 2001.

By early July 2002 the outer firebox shell was almost complete, the boiler barrel had been attached to the throatplate, and the inner firebox was being welded up. It is intended to test fit the boiler to the frames as soon as it arrives at Boston Lodge, as the frames are ready to receive it. By the same time, the complex pony trucks had been completed at Boston Lodge, apart from the axleboxes, which awaited castings.

It is a current Boston Lodge tradition that locos tend to acquire nicknames - for instance Blanche is known as "Ricket", Palmerston is "Eric", and Taliesin is "Ernie". In this vein, Lyd has been nicknamed "Tim".

Lyd was displayed at Dinas during the September 14-15th 2002 Superpower Weekend. The loco was delivered to Dinas on September 7th, and is seen below making its first contact with WHR metals.

One of the pony truck assemblies also travelled north with the loco.

During the Superpower Weekend, Lyd was displayed outside Dinas Goods Shed.

It had been hoped that the boiler might have been ready to be fitted for this display, but in the event it had not yet been delivered. It is seen below close to completion at Israel Newton's works, with proud parents James Evans and Paul Lewin.

The boiler was successfully hydraulically tested at Newton's on Friday,1st November 2002. It was dispatched by road to the FR the same day, arriving at Minffordd Yard early on Saturday November 2nd. The boiler was lifted directly into the frames (with the tanks previously removed) and secured with timber packing ready for immediate transport to Boston Lodge, hauled by visiting Hunslet Velinheli (owned by James Evans), before the first service train of the day. The pictures below show Lyd at Boston Lodge in December 2002, with the boiler in place.

During Spring 2003 the pony trucks were finished off. The panplate and burner for the oil firing system were fitted, and the crinolines were made (the supporting framework for the boiler cladding). Non-ferrous casting for various fittings and valves were to hand or on order. The incomplete loco was towed up the FR with a dummy wooden cab to test clearances; as anticipated, the cab fouled Garnedd Tunnel, confirming that Lyd will not be able to operate over the full length of the FR. It will of course fit the Welsh Highland structure gauge easily. Lyd was stored at Glan-y-Pwll depot over Summer 2003, awaiting a spare slot in the Boston Lodge schedule for work to progress further.

The part-completed loco was displayed at "Railfest" at the National Railway Museum in York from May 29th to June 6th 2004 - a new loco helping to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the steam locomotive.

Since Railfest a great deal of work has been carried out on various parts of the loco. Unlike the originals the boiler will be equipped with a certain level of superheat, or more accurately a steam drier, without compromising the classic profile. The steam drier has been made from stainless steel, to give maximum efficiency and durability; this has required very accurate machining, given the limited space available.

Much machining has been done on the forgings for the motion, to turn the underframe from a rolling chassis to a working steam loco. The pictures below were taken in May 2006 and show various motion components fitted to the loco, and also piston rings and one of the pistons with them fitted. Lyd features Joy valve gear, and the bosses in the middle of the connecting rods are part of this. Lyd will join a very select group when it enters service, as prior to this the only other working loco in the UK with Joy gear is the National Collection's LNWR G2 0-8-0.

Design work progresses ahead of construction of the remaining major components, including the fuel tank and the cab. The cab is of particular interest as it is the only part of the original profile which will be foul of the modern FR loading gauge, at Garnedd Tunnel. Although Lyd is intended primarily as a WHR loco, the FR/WHR management wants it to be available for service throughout both railways, and this has led to a clever compromise in the cab design. The "full" cab will look exactly like Lew's from the outside, but will have removeable roof sides, with a profile suitable for the FR underneath featuring a radial reduction of about 3.5", enough to get the loco through Garnedd.

In Spring 2007 attention was focussed on construction of the valve gear. The photographs below show (left) the wooden pattern for the slide shaft ready for casting at the Cerdic Foundry, Chard, in April 2007. The curved slide shaft is central to the operation of Joy's valve gear. Its inclination to the vertical is controlled by the driver's reversing lever to control forward or reverse travel and to set the percent cut off of steam to the cylinders. The second photograph shows the completed balanced slide valves machined by volunteer Ernie Binley-Smith of Exeter.

Lyd was towed from Boston Lodge to Glan y Pwll by Britomart on New Year's Eve 2007, and work will continue on the loco at Glan y Pwll. Completion involved a return to Boston Lodge, and Lyd was booked into the Boston Lodge works programme for Spring 2008. It is estimated that a further 40,000 is needed to match funds already in hand for completing the loco. If you can help, please contact Paul Lewin (contact details at the top of the page). Participation can be either by making a lump sum donation (preferably using Gift Aid if you are a UK tax payer) or by making small regular payments. Those donating more than 500 will be guaranteed a place on the first passenger train hauled by Lyd. Donors of 100 or more will receive the annual "Lyddite" newsletter and be offered special access to the locomotive and project team on official open days.

Paul is also keen to source a Gresham & Craven "Dreadnought" vacuum brake ejector with 20mm/13mm cones.

Work on components continued at Boston Lodge while Lyd was at Glan y Pwll; these January 2008 views show various fabricated items after being sent away for sandblasting, and the wooden pattern for casting the vacuum cylinder.

Lyd was moved back down to Boston Lodge in late April 2008, and is seen displayed in the Paint Shop on May 3rd, awaiting a slot in the busy Erecting Shop schedule. Completion depends on fund raising; see above.

In Autumn 2008 work on Lyd was accelerating as machine shop work on no. 87 was winding down; in mid-September work was in progress or pending on the slotted links for the motion, and on the brake cylinders. The brass dome cover - an expensive item - has been ordered from Alan Keef Ltd. It is seen below at their open day on August 30th 2008. This is the basic shape produced from a disk of brass by metal spinning, seen prior to flanging the bottom, and polishing.

Following another spell at Glan y Pwll, Lyd is now back at Boston Lodge as a current project in the works' production schedule; it could be completed in 2010. The boiler and firebox cladding was at an advanced stage when seen below on May 1st 2009.

The 7th July 2010 saw Lyd rolled out of Boston Lodge, minus tanks but with the the valve gear fitted, in order to test the motion.

Lyd's motion. (Photo: A.Thomas/FR) Lyd's motion. (Photo: A.Thomas/FR)Lyd's cylinder minus piston. (Photo: A.Thomas/FR)Lyd's gauge glass. (Photo: A.Thomas/FR)Lyd outside Boston Lodge. (Photo: A.Thomas/FR)Lyd outside Boston Lodge. (Photo: A.Thomas/FR)Lyd outside Boston Lodge. (Photo: A.Thomas/FR)Lyd's cab detail. (Photo: A.Thomas/FR)

On the 29th July Lyd was being worked on outside at Boston Lodge.

Lyd outside at Boston Lodge. (Photo: A.Thomas/FR)

On 4th August Andrew Thomas reported:
"Warming up this evening, drying out the brick arch. Should be the big day tomorrow (Thurs)…"

Lyd - Andrew ThomasLyd - Andrew ThomasLyd - Andrew ThomasLyd - Andrew ThomasLyd - Andrew Thomas

5th August 2010  Lyd moved under its  own steam  today at Boston Lodge and was shunting.  

6th August 2010  Lyd reached Minffordd light engine today. For a clip of Lyd's first movements yesterday as recorded by Roger Dimmick  follow this link

7th August 2010  Lyd saw action with a train at Harbour station yesterday:

Lyd ( photo by Andrew Thomas)Lyd ( photo by Andrew Thomas)Lyd ( photo by Andrew Thomas)Lyd ( photo by Andrew Thomas)Lyd ( photo by Andrew Thomas)Lyd ( photo by Andrew Thomas)

Latest news from the FR:
The loco, which has taken 15 years to reach completion, will undergo further trials over the next few weeks in the build up to its first passenger duties at the WHR Superpower gala in September, followed by visits to Launceston and the L&B in Devon.

For the immediate future, the loco will stay in plain black as rectifying the inevitable snagging list will mean the risk of scratches and it makes no sense to risk an expensive paint job. It's likely that the loco will receive its final paint over the winter. Lyd weighs in at 25 tons. Axle loadings are: Front truck 3.5, Front Driver 6.5, Mid Driver 6.0, Rear Driver 5.0 and Rear truck 4.0 tons.

Paul Lewin adds: After a 15 year build programme, there are still many things to do and much that could be not quite right and we have to overcome the hurdle of the ROTS inspection in a few days' time. The railway inspector has a whole raft of issues to discuss and tests to be made. This may require some extra work as may the results of the running in and commissioning trials.

You may see some interesting shots of Lyd in places various on the FR as we try to put a few miles on and iron out the snags. None of these will be passenger workings, as the first run with passengers will be for the supporters on the 11th/12th of September. Invites and times will go out after we have ROTS approval.

Lyd will be the last loco in the UK approved under the old ROTS legislation as the curtain finally comes down on that arrangement for heritage lines on the 30th of September.

Research by the late Handel Kardas - a huge supporter of the project in the early days - showed that E190 was the next free number had Lyd been built alongside Lew. As Handel suggested the number, his research driven by passion for the project, we adopted it.

So even if it turns out that it isn't quite the right number for some minor reason or other the passion of an inspirational supporter wins the day and we will always think of Handel when we look at that cab side.

The works plate build date will be 2010, Boston Lodge Works and it will carry FR fleet No14.

As reported above, Lyd made a number of trial runs on the FR during August 2010 starting with the traditional run across the Cob to Harbour Station. This cumulated in a run in the other direction to Blaenau Ffestiniog on the evening of 23rd August as can be seen in the pictures below from Andrew Thomas/FR. Lyd took a 6 car train up to Tan y Bwlch then went light engine up to Blaenau Ffestiniog with gauging trials on the way.

A tight fit in Garnedd tunnel on the FR. (Photo: A.Thomas/FR)A tight fit in Garnedd tunnel on the FR. (Photo: A.Thomas/FR)We're through and on our way. (Photo: A.Thomas/FR)At Tan y Grisiau. (Photo: A.Thomas/FR)Arrival at Blaenau Ffestiniog. (Photo: A.Thomas/FR)Taking water at Blaenau Ffestiniog. (Photo: A.Thomas/FR)Other interested FR personnel at Blaenau Ffestiniog. (Photo: A.Thomas/FR)Arrival back at Tan y Bwlch in the dusk. (Photo: A.Thomas/FR)

On the morning of the 10th September 2010 Lyd, accompanied by Taliesin and some of the FR vintage coaching stock, progressed from the FR and over the Cambrian Crossing on the way to the WHR Superpower 2010 event. 

Approaching out of the murk on the Cob. (Photo: R.Watson)Taking fuel at Harbour Station. (Photo: R.Watson)One last check that the tarmac has been cleared out of the flangeway. (Photo: R.Watson)Off we go. (Photo: R.Watson)Leaving Harbour Station and crossing Britannia Bridge. (Photo: A.Thomas/FR)On the Cambrian Crossing. (Photo: A.Thomas/FR)The works plate. (Photo: A.Thomas/FR)Showing off the name plate. (Photo: A.Thomas/FR)One nicely polished dome. (Photo: A.Thomas/FR)Waiting to pass the service train at Beddgelert. (Photo: A.Thomas/FR)Waiting to pass the service train at Beddgelert. (Photo: A.Thomas/FR)

Lyd was the star attraction at Superpower and the Saturday was Lyd's big day when the loco was named by the project team's  family members. The FR announcement highlights the event:

UK's newest steam locomotive officially named

Porthmadog, September 14th 2010: The UK's newest steam locomotive, Lyd has been officially named at a ceremony at Beddgelert on the Welsh Highland Railway. The naming was carried out by the families of the two project leaders, James Evans and Paul Lewin.

The loco was completed at the Ffestiniog Railway's Boston Lodge Works - the oldest operational railway workshop in the world - in Porthmadog last month after a 15 year project costing 350,000. Lyd is based on a 1925 design of the Lynton & Barnstaple loco Lew, but makes extensive use of 21st century materials and design enhancements to make it considerably more powerful than the original. Lew was the only survivor of the original L&B locomotives, being exported to Brazil after the railway closed in 1935, but its current whereabouts remain shrouded in mystery.

Lyd is now set for a mini UK tour as it visits the Launceston Steam Railway in Cornwall and the L&B in Devon before returning to the F&WHR to receive the authentic Southern Railway green livery carried by the original L&B locos.

Lyd will enter regular service on both the Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland Railways in 2011, early tests indicating that the loco should be capable of hauling ten carriage trains on the FR and five on the steeper WHR.

Along with FR single Fairlie loco Taliesin and a train of vintage carriages, Lyd travelled to the Welsh Highland Railway the day before the naming across the Porthmadog Cross Town Link (CTRL) from the Ffestiniog Railway's Harbour Station.

Final preparations to ready the CTRL for the reopening of the complete Welsh Highland from Caernarfon to Porthmadog in early 2011 will be completed in the next few weeks as the road crossings at Snowdon Street and Britannia Bridge receive their signalling equipment and traffic lights.

Taliesin returned to the Ffestiniog early on Monday morning in one of the last CTRL crossings to be made before the railway becomes fully operational.

Lyd being named at Beddgelert Station. (Photo: C.Parry/FR)

More photographs of Lyd at Superpower are to be found on the Superpower 2010 page. 

At the end of 2010 Lyd was repainted into BR mixed traffic livery. This is the livery Lynton and Barnstaple locomotives would have been expected to carry had they survived into the BR era with the 72E being the shedcode for Barnstaple outlying sheds and (30)190 the next available number after Lew (188). The loco now also has a Southern Railway E (for Eastleigh) 190 plate on the cab back sheet. The locomotive is expected to stay in this black livery until at least March. The credit for the work goes to Boston Lodge’s Glenn Williams.

Lyd at Boston Lodge in its new BR Mixed Trafic livery. (Photo: A.Thomas/FR)Lyd at Boston Lodge in its new BR Mixed Trafic livery. (Photo: A.Thomas/FR)Close up of Lyd's Number. (Photo: A.Thomas/FR)Lyd at Boston Lodge in its new BR Mixed Trafic livery. (Photo: G.Williams/FR)

September 2011

Lyd was repainted at Boston Lodge and was finally revealed in Southern Railway Green livery for the first time just before the Superpower 2011 event.  In this guise Lyd hauled one of the service trains on the Sunday of the event.  Photos by Andrew Thomas

Lyd in green - Andrew ThomasLyd in green - Andrew Thomas

December 2011

After extended trials with oil firing since being outshopped in early 2010, replica Lynton & Barnstaple Manning Wardle Lyd has been converted to coal. The loco ran for the first time on a gloomy Monday 12th December, first across the Cob and then up to Minffordd. This was the first time a coal-fired L&B loco has run since Lew hauled the L&B demolition train in 1936.
A minor problem with the spark arrestor screen becoming clogged was rectified that night with the fitting of a char-breaking bar and the following day, the loco double headed the 1015 service train to Blaenau Ffestiniog with Single Fairlie Taliesin. Performance was excellent and Lyd took the 1335 service, comprising six cars, up to Blaenau on its own. No problems were encountered and the loco ran to time.

Lyd project manager, Paul Lewin notes that Lyd's firebox is much bigger than a Quarry Hunslet's, a squarer shape and slopes to the front.
"She pulled at the back of the grate," says Lewin. "So we used the front damper to even the flow a bit. A double layer of coal on the back quarter or third of the box and thin and bright all over the rest. She needed the second feed at times when pulling nine cars with this kind of fire.
"We used the entire fireman's side bunker on the test train. On the first service train runs, she came in with coal left over in the fireman's bunker. Maximum superheater header temperature was 440 degrees C, typically running at around 350 degrees C.
The thermocouple is mounted on the superheater dry header and is thus reflecting a combination of smokebox temperature and delivered steam temperature. The original engines did not have superheat and neither did they have a brick arch as far as I know."

Photos by Andrew Thomas 

Lyd coal fired - note the coal bunker. Andrew ThomasPaul Lewin, General Manager, opens the firebox - Andrew Thomas

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Authored by Ben Fisher; last updated December 20th, 2011 by David Tidy