2017-06 UK 6. FfFFF - ME

Ffestiniog's Fantastic Fairlie Four: Merddin Emrys
During our UK holiday we spent a week close to Porthmadog's Harbour Station where the Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland Railways meet.
I made many photos over the week and rather than per day I grouped these photos in an album per locomotive.
DSC04624  Merddin Emrys, nicknamed "The Soup Dragon", is the only remaining operational Fairlie of the original Ffestiniog Railway. Merddin was built in the Festiniog Railway Company's own workshops at Boston Lodge in 1879 to the design of George Percival Spooner and has spent its entire working life on the Festiniog Railway. When the railway closed in 1946 Merddin was the only double engine still available for service, Livingston Thompson having been withdrawn for repairs. Merddin was returned to service in 1961. Since then Livingston Thompson, or a concoction of available parts carrying that name plate, has been put on display in the National Railway Museum in York.  The word orginal is a relative thing. There is very little remaning of the orginal locomotive as during its working life many components have been replaced like the cab, the tanks and bunkers, the boiler etc. DSC04615  I met Merddin on the first of my week in Wales. He was doing regular trains so it would be possible to meet him every day. DSC04616  Coaling at Porthmadog DSC04619
DSC04622 DSC04617  Now I look at this photo I see much to my surprise that Merddin now has mechincally operated cylinder cocks, which was not the case before its overhaul in 2015-2016. DSC04621  During the 2015-2016 overhaul Merddin also received a second lubricator. DSC04623
DSC04625  A lot of tidying up was done on the pipe work here. I wanted many detail photos from this area because I got stuck on  building my model  but to my surprise (if not horror) much of the arrangements seem to differ from before the overhaul so I suspect the photos I have taken will be of little help. DSC04626 DSC04628 DSC04629
DSC04631 DSC04632 DSC04634 DSC04638
DSC04640 DSC04641 DSC04910  On a misty Tuesday morning I saw ME again, ready to depart for Blaenau. DSC04911
DSC04912 DSC05246  Later in the day it was shunting its train back on the storage spurs. DSC05247 DSC05248
DSC05647  On Thursday I morning I made a car trip up to and down from Blaenau Ffestiniog and folowed Merddin. On her second run in the afternoon I was on that train myself. DSC05649 DSC05661 DSC05662  Sorry about the lamp post but despite having Merddin around (Merddin Emrys is Welsh for Merlin, King Arthur's wizard) it would not vanish.
DSC05665 DSC05671 DSC05682  Final preparations for departure, the doors are being closed. DSC05683
DSC05690  The signal man approaching. For some last minute instructions? DSC05699  Right away! DSC05710  Merddin sets its train slowly in motion. DSC05712  I rushed to Tan-y-Bwlch to see Merddin cross the down train, which was powered by Single Fairlie Taliesin, for which I have prepared a separate album.
DSC05719  I walked around the station area and completely missed the arrival of ME. By the time I got the platform the train had already come to a stand still. DSC05721  People were thronging around ME so I could hardly get a full shot. DSC05723 DSC05724  But given some patience and time this would work out fine, not in the least because most people wanted to get on the train again where I could afford to stay and wait for its departure.
DSC05726 DSC05733  I took the oppurtunity to make few more detail photos. DSC05734 DSC05740
DSC05744 DSC05784  At Blaenau DSC05785  I rushed up to Blaenau to meet Merddin there. DSC05787
DSC05789 DSC05794 DSC05795  Uncoupled and pulling away from its train to run around. DSC05799  The Welsh weather did not keep people from coming.
DSC05800 DSC05802  New meets old. DSC05818 DSC05819
DSC05821 DSC05822 DSC05828 DSC05830
DSC05836 DSC05840 DSC05842 DSC05851
DSC05856 DSC05857 DSC05859 DSC05863
DSC05876  Departure from Blaenau DSC05897  Aproaching the cob with the morning down train. DSC05900  In the background the parts for a new Fairlie are visible. That new loco will replace  Earl of Merioneth alias "The Square" DSC05902
DSC05907 DSC05914  Passing Boston Lodge. DSC05915 DSC05917  and running over the Cob
DSC05918  In the afternoon I bought a ticket and took the ride again but this on the train itself. Unfortunately the weather wasn't favourable. DSC05924  The crew prepping the loco DSC05930 DSC05935
DSC05941 DSC05963 DSC05976 DSC05984
DSC05987 DSC06023  Passing the Duallt loop, which held a special train with a private company DSC06024 DSC06033  with single Fairlie Taliesin hiding between the trees.
DSC06035  Running to the other side of the loop. DSC06042 DSC06044 DSC06056
DSC06057  At the left as an Australian guy who was very pleasant company during the up ride. DSC06063 DSC06065 DSC06066  The loco ran round. The sunshine had by now become very liquid.
DSC06067 DSC06070  At Tanigrisiau I jumped off using a dry spell to get another quick shot of Merddin in its natural habitiat, the rough mountains of Wales. DSC06071 DSC06072
DSC06111  Entreing the Duallt loop again DSC06113 DSC06123 DSC06133  and back in Tan-y-Bwlch
DSC06134 DSC06147 DSC06149 DSC06150
DSC06171 DSC06175 DSC06194 DSC06201  At Mynnford the weather seemed to sadden the signal man.
DSC06203  The driver out for an inspection. DSC06213  The last miles to Porthmadog DSC06255 DSC06258
DSC06262  On Friday I saw ME running over the cob towards its morning train. DSC06263 DSC06264 DSC06265  Being on the photo with  the loco I am currently building  is a rare privilege. Of the six models I built so far only two are still in existence and of the eleven projects I have in store there is only one with which I will ever be on a photo and that is  Monarch which I happened to see earlier this week .
DSC06266 DSC06267 DSC06271 DSC06280
DSC06275 DSC06306 DSC06315  This is a story I love. The lady in the blue coat pointed out Merddin Emrys' name in Welsh to her youngest son. The boy started happily jumping up and down. Although my knowledge of Welsh is non-existent I got the message: "It's called Emrys, it's called Emrys" DSC06317  The boy's name was Emrys and he was so incredibly proud to see his own name on the loco.
DSC06311  Two Emrys'. If anyone knows these boys please give the photo to their mother. Contact me for the original size. DSC06319  Soon ME set its train in motion. DSC06320 DSC06321
DSC06600  That afternoon I met ME for the last time DSC06602 DSC06604 DSC06605
DSC06611 DSC06612 DSC06663 DSC06664
DSC06699  Fairlie meets Garratt. If only that would have been no 87, because I also built  no 87 in OO9 . DSC06704 DSC06742 DSC06744
DSC06745 DSC06751 DSC06752 DSC06756  And that was my last decent shot of Merddin Emrys, at least for this holiday. It will be a while before I see it again.