Polar Bear at Quirks & Curiosities

April 2017

We were invited by the Ffestiniog Railway to take Polar Bear to the Quirks and Curiosities event at Portmadog. So we did.

At Boston Lodge we were immediately struck by the difference in size between Polar Bear and the much larger Kerr Stuart "Diana". The contraption in the middle is the "Steamplex", a Motor Rail Simplex chassis on which has been mounted a vertical boilered steam engine which we also encountered on the Groudle Glen Railway last year.

Another Simplex modification, this time in the form of "Andy" which has been given a protective superstructure for use on the FR's permanent way and other engineering trains.

John Sutton's freelance creation "Fernilee" was among the locos formed up ready to proceed to Minffordd yard. He had several conversations with enthusiasts convinced that they remembered the loco working at the Stockpork Water Works! The loco on the other end is Jeremy Martin's Campaign & Co petrol tractor normally kept at his private Richmond Light Railway in Kent.

Polar Bear at full chat storming through Boston Lodge Halt on the way to Minffordd. There is a short video of this here.

After reversal in Minffordd Station, the three locos make their way into Minffordd yard.

Polar Bear with Minffordd mainline station in the backfround - proves we were there.

Two definite "quirks" at the event were these two compressed air locomotives from the Lea Bailey Light Railway, in the Forest of Dean, "Issing Sid", above, which is based on a design for Durham Iron Works from 1879.

The second, and larger, air loco was the Eimco "Whistling Pig", aptly named when you hear it. Polar Bear sits awaiting instructions.

Here is a shot which shows all too wel the diminutive size of "Polar Bear" against "Taliesin" although to be fair the latter was built to a scale of 13" to the foot so is larger than the original locomotive which was scrapped long ago. Amberley volunteer John Stanton poses.

"Samson", from Beamish, waits with "Polar Bear" for access to the mainline on the Sunday afternoon when every loco present took part in a cavalcade across The Cob at Porthmadog.

Another view of the line up of locos waiting to take part in the cavalcade.

It was a long wait but eventually the passenger train bound for Blaenau passed.

The line of locos was then able to enter Minffordd and with "Taliesin" at the helm, we proceeded to Boston Lodge.

Here each loco was detached and allowed to run across to the Harbour Station under its own power. Polar Bear certainly has a good turn of speed when it is needed.

Here, the cavalcade participants wait in the loop at the Harbour to go back to Minffordd.

Thanks to all at the FR for such a superb event. Can we come another time please?

Another You Tube video of the event is here.

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Gerry Cork & Amberley Museum & Heritage Centre