[F]rom Sunday 6 May, The Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway will be celebrating the return of a 122-year-old steam locomotive named Katie after an extensive restoration programme. Katie will soon be making regular appearances in steam around Ravenglass and re-create a spectacle last seen a century ago!
David Rounce, Manager at the Ravenglass Railway Museum, says: “We are proud and excited to be welcoming Katie back into steam and look forward to the 6 May when she will be available for all to enjoy and appreciate once more. It has been an extensive restoration programme that has been generously funded by the Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway Preservation Society Trust and we would like to extend our sincere thanks to all who have been involved.”
Katie is an 0-4-0 steam tank locomotive and was built in 1896 by the engineer Sir Arthur Heywood for use on the Duke of Westminster’s private railway at his Eaton Hall estate, Cheshire. It worked hard hauling coal and materials around the estate as well as giving rides including to local schoolchildren and even members of the Royal Family.
In 1916 Katie was sold to the Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway. The loco’ was badly worn and its small boiler meant it struggled to raise enough steam to make the journey up the line – sometimes passengers used to pick flowers or play cards while Katie stopped for a ‘blow up’.
Katie moved again in 1919 to the Llewellyn Miniature Railway in Southport, before moving to the Fairbourne Railway in Wales in 1923 where it was eventually dismantled. The remains were given to the Narrow Gauge Railway Museum in Tywyn before finally returning to Ravenglass in 1982 where restoration was begun by the Ravenglass Railway Museum Heritage Group. In 2014 Katie was moved to Station Road Steam, Lincolnshire, for the completion of its restoration funded by the Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway Preservation Society Trust. The finished locomotive arrived back in Ravenglass in June 2017 ready for the opening of the new HLF-funded Ravenglass Railway Museum.