Just over 150 years ago a little steam train left London, and later this month, it makes its first ever return visit to the city.

The locomotive, called Palmerston was built at George England’s Hatcham Iron Works in East London, and was completed in March 1864. The locomotive was named after Viscount Palmerston, Liberal Prime Minister and Chairman of the Welsh Slate, Copper & Lead Mining Company’s quarry at Blaenau Ffestiniog.

Having been in Wales since it was delivered, for just one week, Palmerston will be on display in the ticket hall at Kings Cross station.

The locomotive saw extensive use on both the Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland Railways until withdrawal from service in 1937. Despite being deemed ‘beyond repair’, Palmerston was the subject of a long restoration, and eventually re-entered service on the railway in 1993.

The locomotive will be rolled into King’s Cross at 1am on Saturday February 18th, and will be on display until Sunday February 26th.

For the duration of the visit, Ffestiniog railway staff and volunteers will be joined by colleagues from the other ‘Great Little Trains of Wales’ to promote ‘Big Train meets Little Train’ – the recently published free guide to Welsh narrow gauge railways and how to visit them by rail.


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  1. GT says:

    “Beyond Repair”
    Yes, well, I have a photograph of it in that state … ( Outside Boston Lodge works )
    It had been quickly wash-painted PINK & renamed ( wooden board ) “Harold Wilson” ….

  2. Annabel says:

    Wouldn’t you have thought they would bring it in for half-term week!!!

  3. Peter Ibbotson says:

    Erm… Pretty sure the Hatcham Iron Works was in SE London on Pomeroy street near New Cross, don’t think they had an east London branch.

    • Peter Ibbotson says:

      Meant to say that the Hatcham name comes from the nearby manor of Hatcham (I’m not sure the works was actually in the manor).

  4. This says:

    i like this article. the train shouldve came in the half term and the east side for a spectacular ride/view.

  5. Tony says:

    One of these days Ian perhaps you will use the word locomotive or engine rather than train!

  6. Andrew S says:

    At least you didn’t say it will be at Kings Cross train station!

  7. james says:

    great article

  8. Parkinson says:

    Hatcham Iron Works were to become Reliance Egineering, still operating as Mabrey Reliance Foundry @ Erith, Kent.
    Railway buff @ Crossness Engines Trust

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